Take Control of your Emails and be more Productive

By: standss , Sep 15th, 2011

EMAIL IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF REAL WORK for many of us… and many of us are constantly looking for ways of reducing the stress and frustration that email is causing, let alone the drop in our productivity.

One of the major factors affecting productivity is the time and effort needed to keep all the incoming and outgoing emails organized.

Normally the manual effort required means many of us just give up and leave everything in a mess. The reason for this is simple:

  1. It takes too much effort to drag each and every e-mail out of the Inbox and into the correct folder.
  2. It’s too easy to forget to go to the Sent Items folder to move e-mails out of there into the correct folders.

In this post, I will show you how I personally use our email management tool, QuickFile for Outlook on a daily basis… I hope you find ideas in it that will help you take control of your emails.

I am able to file 90% of the emails at the click of a button

QuickFile adds a toolbar inside Outlook. Whenever I select an email, QuickFile changes one of the buttons to the name of the folder I last used to file a similar email… most times the email needs to go into the same folder. One click and the email is moved out of my Inbox.

What I like:

  • I am actually filing my emails because I don’t have to hunt through a tree of folders… one click is so much faster.
  • My Inbox doesn’t feel like a list of endless tasks because it only contains emails that still need my attention.

A COPY of my Sent Emails are automatically filed to the correct folder

QuickFile prompts me for a folder every time I send out an email. The prompt contains a list of folders where I am most likely to file the email…. Double-click and the email is automatically filed to the correct folder after it is sent.

(The prompt can be turned off if you prefer to bring it up only when you want by clicking Send&File instead of Send)

What I like:

  • Without this, emails in my Sent Items folder were NEVER filed. I don’t look at Sent Items as often as my Inbox and it’s just too easy to forget.
  • QuickFile can either move the original email or file a copy from the Sent Items folder. The copy feature was implemented as a result of user DEMANDS and I really find this useful. A copy gets filed to the correct folder and I still have a copy in my Sent Items for quick reference. Many users tell me that they also use the Sent Items emails for filling in timesheets.

I don’t let Newsletters distract me

I subscribe to many different newsletter emails. Most of these newsletters do not need my urgent attention… they do not need to be added to my list of things to do.

QuickFile lets me treat any email in my Inbox as a newsletter at the click of a button. After that any email from that email address automatically gets moved to a folder dedicated to Newsletters, which I then read at my convenience.

What I like:

  • My Inbox does not get cluttered by newsletters… there is less stress each time I look at my Inbox.
  • I’m not distracted from my real work by an email with an interesting topic
  • QuickFile reminds me once a day to look at my newsletters with an email in my Inbox… I do a quick scan to make sure that I am not missing out on anything time-sensitive.
  • Many emails that I was spending (wasting) a lot of time reading no longer seem important… now that they’re not in my Inbox, I don’t feel as compelled to read stuff that I won’t actually use.

I (defer and then) deal with non-urgent emails in batches

Many productivity gurus recommend that you don’t deal with emails first thing in the morning but… we’re in a different time zone from many of our customers… I need to reply to them first thing to ensure that we are able to communicate while we are still both at work.

I start from my Inbox and deal with each in it. If it’s urgent I deal with it there and then.

Otherwise, I use QuickFile to defer it to 11 am… a time I have set aside for email processing. QuickFile moves the email out of my Inbox and then brings it back at 11 am. (QuickFile can defer each email to a different time of your choosing).

What I like:

  • My Inbox does not contain emails that I have decided not to work on now. This keeps me focussed only on what I need to think about.
  • The email automatically appears at a time of my choosing.
  • Batch Processing emails is actually a much more productive way of dealing with emails instead of getting distracted by emails 50 times a day.

I am able to find Email Folders by typing any part of the folder name

I have many folders of several levels inside Outlook. Finding the right folder to file or retrieve an email can take a long time… OK… it takes less than 10 seconds but it feels like a long time.

QuickFile adds a Find&Goto Folder button to the Outlook toolbar. To find a folder all I need to do is click on the button and type a few characters from anywhere in the name of the folder.

QuickFile shows me all matching folders and I double-click to go to the correct folder. Easy!

What I like:

  • I don’t have to remember where the folder is or its exact name… or even the start of the folder name. QuickFile will do a find anywhere in your Outlook file and based on any part of the folder name
  • It makes answering queries that requires reference to old emails much much faster.

That covers my favourite ways in which QuickFile makes me productive.

If you’re not using QuickFile yet… you owe it to yourself to try it out.

Also exclusively for all our blog readers, we are offering a special Productivity Tools Pack which includes QuickFile Pro for Outlook and another popular productivity tool of ours, EmailNotes for Outlook.

EmailNotes is an Outlook addin that allows you to quickly and easily add notes like ‘post-it notes’ to emails. With EmailNotes you can:

  • Immediately jot down ideas while reading emails
  • Add missing information to emails (usually gathered by follow-up phone calls)
  • Improve follow-up on emails (and INCREASE SALES CLOSING RATES)
  • Remember why certain emails were put in certain folders

Normally they would cost US $99.90 (QuickFile Pro = $69.95, EmailNotes = $29.95) if bought separately; however as a special offer to all our Blog readers, we are giving away QuickFile Pro and EmailNotes together as a Productivity Tools Pack for only $79.95.

This offer is only valid till the 19th of September so if you are interested, ACT NOW.

Click here to get more information about the Special Productivity Tools Pack.

3 Replies to “Take Control of your Emails and be more Productive”

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