Don’t let email bog you down: How to be more productive in Microsoft Outlook

Office MeetingHave you ever wondered how you can be more productive in Microsoft Outlook? Read on to learn some of the tips & tricks I use every day to organize my emails and save myself tons of time. – Mathew Lafrance, President, Grade A

I had the opportunity to take a productivity training session with Cameron Harold, the COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a few years back and walked away a changed man. Well maybe not a changed man but definitely someone with a few more tricks up my sleeve to save time. What struck me was how email how turned me into a reactive individual. I used to sit and start working on something, see an email alert and jump into whatever the email was about no matter how insignificant.

As a managed service provider, the biggest financial impact we can have on our clients is making their organizations more productive. Here are a few tips I live by on a day-to-day basis that have helped me gain hours back in my life:

  • Find your time: The first step is finding out where you’re spending your time. Rescue Time is a great app to help track where you’re spending most of your time on your computer. The free version will help you get some real insight on where you’re spending most of your time. If you’re like me, it’s digging in email.
  • Stop the alerts: Unless you enjoy being dog that salivates when you hear a bell, turn off your new email alerts. You can configure Outlook to only alert you of high priority emails and train your team to use prioritization properly. Alternatively, if you’re in the client services field and response time is tracked Outlook can alert you only when non-team members are emailing you.
  • Schedule time for email: The best practice you can adopt is scheduling time to review email. Most things aren’t time sensitive, and the reality is sometimes when you don’t respond immediately people figure out the answer themselves. I take 11AM and 2PM to review my email and categorize it by sender.
  • Use Outlook’s built-in tricks: Outlook has some great features to organize your emails for you. “Rules” will automatically sort emails based on the sender and newer features such as “Ignore” and “Clean-Up” can help eliminate email threads you really don’t care about.

Fill out the form below to receive your free “Tips & Tricks for Microsoft Outlook” guide for a few more time saving ideas. Remember, just a 15 minute savings can result in an average $45 savings per staff member per day.

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