Are You Suffering From Email Overload?

A cluttered and unorganized mailbox can make it difficult to find the email you need. This messy situation can be remedied.

Microsoft Outlook offers great tools that help you sort your email and organize your messages in meaningful, easy-to-control ways. Outlook can even help increase your efficiency and productivity.

Sort messages quickly
Outlook 2010 has a great new feature for organizing messages by date and arranging them by Conversation.

Using this feature, messages that share the same subject appear as Conversations that can be viewed and expanded or collapsed by clicking the icon to the left of the Subject line.

The messages within each Conversation are sorted with the newest message on top. When a new message is received, the entire Conversation moves to the top of your message list.

To turn on Conversations, on the View tab, in the Conversations group, select the Show as Conversations check box.

In all versions of Outlook, you can find messages in mailbox folders more quickly by changing how they’re sorted in your email folders. For example, you can arrange your email by date, sender, or file size.

Group similar messages in folders
By creating new mail folders, you can group messages related to each other. For example, you can group messages by topic, project, contact, or other categories that make sense to you. You can even create a folder for all the messages from an important client or vendor.

In Outlook 2010, to create a new folder, on the Folder tab, in the New group, click New Folder. In Outlook 2007 or 2003, on the File menu, point to New and then Folder.

Create search folders to find messages fast
Search Folders are a quick way to look at predefined collections of email messages.

They don’t actually store any messages themselves. They’re virtual folders that offer a view of all the messages in your Inbox that match your search criteria.

You can use Search Folders to help you find all the information related to a particular project, an important client, or an upcoming conference.

To create a Search Folder in Outlook 2010, in Mail, on the Folder tab, in the New group, click New Search Folder. To create a Search Folder in Outlook 2007 or 2003, in Mail, on the File menu, point to New, and then click Search Folder.

Route mail efficiently using mailbox rules
By creating rules for Outlook, you can automatically perform actions on both incoming and outgoing messages based on criteria you establish.

For instance, you can automatically forward all messages sent by your VIP clients to everyone on your sales team, assign the category Sales to all messages you send that have the word “sales” in the Subject line, and more.

Routing mail efficiently not only organizes your mail for you – but also frees up your time from performing routing tasks.

Reduce unwanted email with junk filters
Keep distracting and unwanted messages out of your Inbox by using Outlook Junk Email filters.

These filters send junk email to a separate mail folder in your Inbox.

You can review these messages to ensure that no legitimate messages are there, and if they are, you can adjust the filter to avoid flagging such messages in the future.

It’s a good practice to monitor the Junk Email folder to make sure you don’t miss any important messages.