So you own this program called Microsoft Outlook and it's been pretty good at getting your email to you and helping you respond or write emails. Your inbox is full. Are your emails piling so that you have hundreds, or even thousands of messages listed in your inbox? You could be using Outlook tools (rules) to automatically move messages out of your inbox and into specific folders. It's like hiring your own mail management assistant but it's free and already available.
The benefits of moving messages out of your inbox automatically are:
- The few messages in your inbox need and warrant your attention.
- Those moved out are grouped with purpose. That purpose might be by project or person. It might be things you're waiting for results or follow-up communication.
- When you're ready to work your emails related to the task at hand are together. This eliminates searching and sorting and spending time seeking select emails from a list as long as the phone book. For example, all the emails regarding the expansion project would be easy to use if they're all in the folder named, 'Expansion Project.'
- Messages that are simply FYI in case you're later involved are kept out of site leaving you attention for the important things.
- Reading, re-reading, and re-reading again is eliminated. Even if you gloss over emails stored in your inbox they're requiring your attention over and over again – wasting your energy & time by taking your attention off the important undone things.
Here are the steps to writing your first rule (it's easy - try it as you read along):
- Right click on the email message you want to use as the rule model. For example,
- you might want all messages from a certain person, David Henry, to go to a particular folder. Or, you might want all messages from a particular company to go to a specific folder in which case their emails probably end with the same @companyname.com.
- Under: When I get email with all of the select conditions Put an X in the box corresponding to the criteria you want to use for moving email. For example, to move all message from David Henry as you see above, check the box in front of From David Henry to start the rule.
- Under: Do the following: Put an X in the box next to Move the item to folder:
- Click on Select Folder to open your list of folders.
- Click on the folder name you want this email to go to. Or
create a new folder by clicking on new in the far right of the folder list box and typing in the name of the new folder.
- Click OK
- You will be returned to the original Create Rule box. Click OK here. You will see:
- Click on the box in front of Run this rule now…
- Click on OK
- Verify that everything was done effectively by verifying that the email you started with is not in your inbox. Then, check the folder you wanted messages to be moved to and find the message that you
started with there.
- Congrats – you've set up your first rule.