13 Email Management Best Practices to Manage Inbox Effectively
Email is a very good communication tool used across organizations. Email Inbox Management is a talent and it is required at every level in a corporate workplace. At every level we deal with number of emails daily which have to be answered or stored in a repository for further follow-ups. Here, I am going to explain about MS outlook email management best practices for your email inbox management effectively. Although i have written this article focusing on Microsoft Outlook but you can use the tips mentioned here for any email inbox management.
Many of us have a tendency of checking emails the moment we reach office but instead we should set a time aside for reverting to emails with a calm mind as email handling takes approx. 10-15% of the work day.
Any overloaded mailbox is frustrating but handling emails inadequately would waste a lot of work time. Email is usually also considered as a distraction because many of us have a habit of checking any email pop-up immediately and sometimes clicking into the inbox in order to check whether connectivity to network .
There are many email management best practices for making productive and effective reverts. But before applying any best practice you should ask yourself some sort of questions like:
- How much time do you spend daily on reverting emails?
- What type of emails do you actually receive?
- Do I need to revert all the emails?
- Which email is my first priority?
- Do I use sub folders or keep all emails in 1 folder only?
Make sure you have answers of above questions before applying any tips for effective inbox management. Here I am going to explain some of the outlook email management best practices that you can use to manage emails effectively. These email inbox management tips will simplify your day to day reply mail management or customer email management. Some people use email management softwares or email management tools to manage their inbox effectively. You can also go for some option.
Microsoft Outlook Email Management Best Practices
Find the list of points that you can use to manage your email inbox effectively.
1) Reply Mail Management: You can block your calendar for approx. 30-60 min for reverting on emails or for reply mail management and prioritize reverts basis email importance. You can also further categorize them in order to identify that which is to be reverted today or it is to be kept in follow-up. For this you can use the “flags” along with a set time notification for reminder.
2) Create Templates: We have a habit of typing emails but instead we can draft sample email responses as most of the queries received would be similar and using this template would save our time. You can also customize these templates basis the email requirement.
3) Read Pertinent Emails: If you receive 60 emails a day you are not required to read all of them as they might also include some advertising / information emails, group mailbox responses etc. You can just move them to the relevant folder and address them whenever required. This will reduce the number of emails available in the Inbox Folder.
4) Know What to Reply: Sometimes we receive lengthy emails which more or less look like an essay and most of us have a habit of reverting in the similar fashion. We should always focus into making our email content short and to the point. You can consider this point as a subpart of reply mail management.
5) Alternate Tools: For short messages you can use alternate tools for communicating within the organization like skype etc. and avoid writing emails.
6) Email Header: This is something which should be clearly looked into whenever any email gets triggered into your mailbox. Most of the time the email is intended to someone who is marked in “To” and all marked in “CC” are just for information. You can ignore emails wherein you are marked in CC as that is just for information and no action is usually required on them. Even you can apply a rule to move all such emails in to a folder by applying below step by step process.
Tips: How to set rules for automatically transferring emails to a folder whenever in “CC” in MS Outlook?
- Click at Home tab and go to its Ribbon area.
- Click at Rules option
- Select Create Rule
- Here, you will get another window, here select Advanced options
- Now Clink on where my name in CC
- Select Next
- Select folder where it is to be moved
7) Acknowledge emails: Whenever you receive any email and if you think this might take more than 1 day to revert, just send a small email acknowledgement to the sender. This is to notify the sender that you are working on the email and it might take a specific time for closure. This will avoid further email reminders on the subject.
8) Folders: Inbox zero is a very famous term which helps us minimizing the email count in the mailbox. You can have separate & specific folders for transferring emails for future reference. “Rules” option can be used for automatic transfer of emails to the specific mailbox folder. Read below tips to transfer emails to a specific folder automatically in Outlook.
Tips: How to transfer emails to specific folders automatically in MS Outlook?
- Click on Home tab of Outlook and go to its Ribbon
- Click on Rules
- Select “Create Rule…” option
- Select From, display New item , move item to folder
- Click OK
9) Subject Line: Use similar subject line to track emails faster in your mailbox as tracking long email threads with different subject lines makes mail management more challenging.
10) Out-of-office replies: This is the most significant feature which you can use whenever you are on leave, left early for the day or in training and would not be able to revert to the sender instantly. By using this “OOO” feature you would be able to notify the sender about your availability and managing email response. Have a look at below tips to configure out of office in your outlook.
Tips: How to set “OOO” for specific time in MS Outlook?
- Click at File tab.
- Then click at Automatic Replies (Out of Office)
- Choose second option “Send Automatic Replies”
- Click at the checkbox option “Only send during this time range”
- Select Date & Time
- Edit the content
- Click ok
11) Email Answering: Every email which triggers the mailbox should be either answered, forwarded, archived or deleted. This will reduce the count of emails which are to be handled. You can also request for email delivery at a specific time but your outlook should be running during that time.
Tips: How to set delay delivery in MS Outlook?
- Open New Email
- Click on Options tab.
- choose Delay delivery option.
- Update details in the compose message window
12) Different Signatures: You can have different signatures for different set of replies sent to specific people. This will save time of drafting signatures.
Tips: How to manage signatures in MS Outlook?
- Click at File tab of MS outlook.
- Click at the Options
- Another window will appear on your screen. Now click at Mail tab from left side pane.
- Now click at Signatures tab from right side pane.
- Click New to create signature
- Click ok
- Edit signature content
- Click save
13) Use Voting Option: We usually sent a lot of emails wherein we have to collate responses in yes/no, true/false etc., so instead of doing manual work we can use the voting option available in outlook
Tips: How to set voting option in MS Outlook?
- Open new email
- Click at Options
- Now again click at Use voting options to select voting option.
- Customize if required
- Send email
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