5 Tips for Staying Organised & Efficient in Microsoft Outlook

5 Tips for Staying Organized & Efficient in Outlook

Email remains the number one method of communication in offices. With Office 365 being the most popular cloud platform in the world, that makes their email program, Outlook, a place where a majority of people spend their work day.

The average person spends 28% of their time at work reading and writing emails or looking for emails in their inbox. That’s roughly 11 hours per week, which is a significant chunk of time.

Email of course isn’t going anywhere, and even though the use of team chat programs like Microsoft Teams are replacing some email use in many offices, email still remains king when it comes to office communications.

How many emails are we dealing with every day?

The average office worker sends about 40 emails and receives about 90 emails each day.

The emails we send can be everything from a quick “Thanks for the information” reply to long Q&A related emails answering a customer’s questions. Of the incoming emails, there’s generally a good deal of spam or non-urgent emails that have to be sifted through in order to get to the ones that need your attention right away.

Applying some organisational tips to make Outlook more efficient can make your life easier and significantly reduce the time spent manually organisation and sorting through all those emails.

Spend Less Time on Email with These Great Outlook Tips

Microsoft designed Outlook in Office 365 with multiple organisational tools and automations to help users managed their email more effectively. Here are several of the best tips and tricks to use to streamline your email use in the program and make the most of those tools.

Let Quick Steps Help You

Quick Steps is a tool in Outlook that automates one or more actions. It allows you to set up a variety of repetitive message tasks at the click of a button.

For example, say that you need to regularly forward all emails from the ACME account to your sales team. Instead of having to do that manually every time, you could set up a Quick Step that will do it for you.

Get to Quick Step by selecting Home and looking for the Quick Steps group. Select the More arrow and either use a template Quick Step or create your own.

Automations include things like deleting a message when you click reply to eliminate mailbox clutter and moving a message to a specific folder and marking it as read.

Set up Folders to Get to “Inbox Zero”

Many people suffer from an inbox that seems to grow exponentially. Keeping all your emails in a single inbox folder until you don’t need them anymore makes it more difficult to find what you need and can give you an overwhelming feeling whenever you open Outlook.

Use folders in Outlook to help you stay organised and keep your main inbox only for unread or unaddressed emails.

For example, you could make folders for:

  • HR
  • Manager
  • Online receipts
  • Client 1, Client 2, etc.
  • Training materials
  • (whatever makes sense for your needs)

Then, once you’ve addressed a particular email, move it into the folder. Or alternately, send a message to the folder based upon the sender (see next tip!).

You can create a folder structure in the left pane of Outlook. Just right-click where you’d like to add the folder and click New Folder.

Use Rules to Save Time

You can stay organised, stay on top of important messages, and reduce the time it takes for repetitive tasks in Outlook by exploring the Rules area of the program.

Rules are automations that do things like:

  • Automatically route all emails from a particular sender into one of your folders instead of your main inbox
  • Play a sound when an email with a specific keyword in the subject line comes in.
  • Move messages where you are CC’d to a separate folder and flag them a certain colour.

Microsoft Outlook Rules

Get to the Rules panel by selecting Settings > view all Outlook settings. Then select Mail > Rules.

Colour Code to Reduce Search Times

Using Outlook categories, you can colour code your inbox to make it easy to instantly spot certain types of messages. For example, you may have a category that’s labeled as “Important Clients” and have any messages in that category colour coded red so they stand out in your inbox.

The great thing about category colours is that they’re used across multiple other areas besides just your email inbox. Your colour codes will be seen in:

  • Email messages
  • Contacts
  • Appointments
  • Notes

You can set up your categories and the corresponding colors by going to the Tags group on the top ribbon in Outlook. Select Categorize > All Categories, and in the Colour Categories box, select New.

Offload Ideas from Outlook into OneNote

Is your inbox getting full of things you “want to take a look at later,” but haven’t had the time yet? You can offload things to OneNote that you want to save, but don’t necessarily need to be in your email inbox.

Say you have an email with “10 Sustainable Ideas for Your Office” that you want to review later. Just highlight the email then click the OneNote icon in the Home ribbon of Outlook. Select where you want to save the email, and once saved in OneNote, you can add more notes, a checklist or a flag reminding you to look at it later.

Let GKM2 Help You Fully Harness the Power of Office 365

Many companies using Office 365 aren’t utilising its full potential. As a Microsoft Silver Cloud Partner, GKM2 can help you and your team in the Sydney area unlock the power of this platform for better efficiency and productivity.

Contact us today to learn what our Office 365 solutions can do for you. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or request a quote online.