07 Nov 18 Tips to Help Improve Microsoft Outlook Productivity
Managing the volume of emails in any workplace can be overwhelming. In a virtual workplace, it can be even more challenging since email is often the main form of communication for virtual colleagues. As a result, it becomes even more important to stay on top of communication and manage Microsoft Outlook productivity to keep operations running smoothly.
Why Software Developers Make Amazing Managers discussed a number of studies that showed the cost of email interruption within the workplace. There’s no doubt constant attention to email notifications lessens productivity. That said, it’s difficult to maintain the balance between being accessible and being productive.
Here are 18 tips to help you use Microsoft Outlook more quickly and efficiently so you can maintain your productivity throughout the day.
For personal Microsoft Outlook productivity
If email chews up a lot of your time, you may need to make some personal changes to your email habits. Seven Easy Ways to Get Control of Your Inbox reveals the best ways to ensure you stay productive while answering emails. Here are some quick Microsoft Outlook productivity tricks and tips that can also help keep you focused.
- Don’t stop for every notification. In Outlook preferences, decide whether you want all email notifications to come to your desktop. During busy times, turn off notifications and check your email at pre-determined intervals.
- Prioritize and categorize the emails that either require action or require response to prevent emails from piling up.
Work through the clutter
If you’re spending more time on Outlook sorting through important and less important emails, use some program features to help organize your messages.
- Set a rule in Outlook to delegate messages you are cc’d on to a specific folder. Address these emails with lower priority than ones sent directly to you.
- Spend less time reading your volume of emails while looking for certain topics by using the search folders feature to set common searches.
- Group messages by conversation. Outlook allows you to read your messages by conversation and follow one issue to completion.The conversation feature has the added benefit of allowing you to use the ignore option for irrelevant discussions.
- Know when to delete and when to archive. Delete removes a message entirely, while archive removes a message from your working email. It can be accessed later, but doesn’t hoard.
Mobile email helps workforces stay connected remotely, but it adds one more notification to daily schedules. Spend some time examining how you use Microsoft Outlook’s mobile apps.
- Quickly let others know your mobile capabilities by setting your availability on your phone.
- Instead of constantly answering email from your phone as you travel, consider delegating access to your account to a colleague.
- From one traveling user to teams connected across the world, work hours vary. Manage time zones from the mobile app to help when setting meetings or making plans.
- Take advantage of Outlook’s second time zone feature instead of converting in your head.
- Don’t bother with exact dates and times. Use natural language to create a calendar event. Set a meeting for “the day after tomorrow” or “12 days after Christmas.”
The best way to deal with an email is to send the response, but do it efficiently.
- Use quick parts suggested text to create and drop commonly used phrases into any email.
- If you only have a simple question, make the subject line the message. “Meeting at 12?” doesn’t require a lengthy message or response.
- Don’t waste time sorting through 10 different Matts. Get rid of the old autocompleted addresses by clicking the x in the dropdown window.
- Microsoft allows for many different keyboard shortcuts to send, refresh and create new emails. Once you’re an expert on Outlook, see which ones would help speed up your email process.
Remember, the recipient of your email is probably dealing with the same email overload as you. Be a responsible Outlook citizen and help others stay efficient.
- If one issue requires a response in the morning, and another matter can wait until the afternoon, don’t risk your messages getting lost in another’s inbox. Schedule a response to send at certain times.
- Self-limit the length of your responses. What are the main points? What actions do you want the recipient to take? Cut the fluff.
- Keep it simple. Don’t try to tackle too much in one message. One subject, one email. One question, one response.
Microsoft Outlook productivity can be managed with an abundance of features to help users stay in control of their inbox. Check out Sales Beacon’s other blogs on working virtually for more advice on working virtually successfully.
Sales Beacon has had the privilege of managing team initiatives for some of the world’s largest virtual and remote sales forces. Contact Sales Beacon to find out more about how to improve sales productivity.