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Top ten tips on making the most of your email

Email is an extremely powerful tool and having the correct functionality can enable you to achieve more in a smarter manner. You may find the following tools useful to implement, to help improve your businesses communications.

1. File your emails
Existing email as it stands consists of a variety of folders which include: Inbox; all incoming messages, Outbox; all outgoing messages, Drafts: messages you’re working on and Sent; all messages which you send. The existing email storage set up is a great way to organise your files however try taking this one step further to help you prioritise your own emails with individual folders, this could include department filing, project filing; allowing you to stay on track and access that important information in a much smarter manner.

2. Manage your emails more effectively - flagging
Filing your emails is one thing but knowing when to action them is another option to help you manage your communications more effectively. Taking an action on your emails when they first arrive can sometimes be distracting; to overcome this, try flagging your message to remind yourself to follow up on it later. These flags provide reminders to allow follow up at a time convenient to you and can be colour coded should you require further categorisation.

3. Make use of and share your calendar – work with a diary that reflects your schedule
Managing your calendar inside of Outlook is a great way to manage your time and others. Try scheduling appointments, meetings, tasks; daily, weekly, monthly or at recurrences relevant to you, to suit your work pattern and agenda with reminders (that you can snooze!) to keep you focused. There’s also the option to integrate with colleague’s calendars to help stay on track with meetings and be up-to-date on what other members of your team are doing.

4. Manage and share your tasks
Instead of those multiple to-do lists, start managing your tasks inside your email application to help keep it in one place, as well as giving you the option to view the status, due date and percentage complete at the click of a button. Outlook can also help you to get rid of those post-its, voicemail or email tasks. Assigning tasks to others is as simple as assigning tasks to yourself, helping you and others to stay on track without the headaches.

5. Manage and share your contacts
Manage your contacts, addresses, phone numbers and other relevant contact information in one place, to remove those out-of-date paper business cards and help keep you up-to-date with the latest contact information. These contacts can also be organised into categories that best suit you; whether it’s by company, location or just as a phone list. What’s more, you are also able to share your contacts with colleagues, saving you time, effort and removes any miscommunications of contact details.

6. Manage your email delivery – filter out the junk
Managing your email delivery can sometimes be a job in itself. Try setting up rules to help you organise your incoming and outgoing emails when they first arrive and are sent, enabling you to prioritise those emails from important people into relevant folders. Managing your mail delivery could include options such as filtering unknown attachments, newsletter subscription information, or just individual contacts so you don’t miss an email from that important person; perhaps your boss!

7. Keep notes
Instead of having multiple notebooks (of which some probably have a lot of typing up required) and pieces of paper all over your desk, start to use the notes folder to keep track of your information. This will then allow you to print those notes, email them or just save them as a soft copy to your machine; allowing you to quickly and easily share notes and keep track of all those little bits of important information.

8. Send emails to more than one recipient without individual recipients knowing
Sometimes you may need to send bulk emails out but without all the recipients knowing the distribution list. Use Outlook to send emails blindly to the full distribution list at once, rather than individually; saving you time and effort, with just one sent item rather than tens or hundreds which you have to keep a track of.

9. Manage your emails on the move
When out of the office, stay connected to your emails to ensure people can get in contact with you and that you don’t miss anything. This can be achieved through taking a copy of your existing inbox offline, accessing your emails in real time through the use of an internet connection via your laptop, PC or mobile device.

10. Archiving your emails
Instead of deleting those important emails which although are important and should be kept, need to go due to your mailbox space restrictions, use archival to help you store those old emails for future reference. It’s also a great way to keep your inbox tidy but hold on to those important messages which you know you really shouldn’t get rid of!

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