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Use Outlook Rules to Save Time when Managing your Inbox

Business owners and employees alike are inundated with email. According to a study done in 2011, as much as half of an employee's day is spent sifting through their email, and as the study puts it, "necessary, yet unproductive tasks." Freeing up that time and spending less time managing email can open a worker up to more productivity. Here's a quick and simple way to start organizing your inbox to free yourself from your email and get more done!

Creating rules is the best place to start for organizing your inbox. If you get a lot of email, rules can help you move non-critical messages into folder out of your way while giving you special notifications for messages that you want to see right away.

In Outlook 2010, configuring some simple organizational rules is simple. Open up outlook and navigate to Rules and click Manage Rules and Alerts.

The Rules and Alerts pane will come up, displaying any rules you might already have. You can quickly turn rules on and off by toggling the checkbox.

Let's create a new rule. Get started by clicking the New Rule button.

This brings up the Rules Wizard. It will guide you through the steps, letting you choose the circumstance that activates the rule followed by the process that happens when the rule is activated. First, it offers some pre-designed templates, such as "Move messages from someone to a folder." You can start with these and customize the rule as you continue. If you want you can also opt to use a blank rule to start from scratch. Click next after you have made your selection.

You will then be able to choose the conditions needed for the rule. You can have multiple conditions for a single rule, so a message from a certain sender that is only sent to you and has a certain keyword in the subject gets sent to a specific folder.

After you've selected the conditions, you can also set up additional actions, such as playing a sound or showing a notification, automatically reply to it, or marketing it as important.

In the box below, you select the terms, as in, what contact it is, what folder it gets sent to, and other options. Adjust these by clicking on the blue hyperlinked text.

After that, you'll be able to add any exceptions to the rule - for example, maybe if the email is also sent to somebody else you don't want to perform the same action.

Once the rule is created you have the option to run it on all messages in your inbox. From this point on, that rule will run and organize your incoming messages. Set up additional rules to keep your inbox as effective as possible.

Need help organizing your technology practices to streamline your day-to-day? Contact us at (248) 737-7920 and talk to our knowledgeable support staff about ways you can save time and money every day with the tools you already have!

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Tagged in: Microsoft

Joshua Van Berkum is passionate about embracing the positive change that technology brings to small businesses. Having been in the "technology trenches" for years, as well as owning his own business for 15 years, Joshua is equipped with the patience and know-how that it takes to make technology decisions carefully and implement proper plans quickly. Still learning and always adapting, Joshua is continually striving to grow his customers' businesses through innovation, while ensuring his client's return on their technology investment.

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Guest Friday, 25 April 2014