Over the last couple of years since I have been working at
GE the number of work related emails I get have been ever increasing, and so as
I have always done I would file them away in to folders, but this wasn’t
enough, I needed to be able to classify some emails into more than one folder.
Like many people I have a Gmail account and I love the way
you can label things and have more than one label on an email so you can find
it easily. From the start of this year I made a real effort to stop using
Folder and to start using Categories and with the latest releases of Outlook
you can setup search folders for categories.
So now I have my system setup so that I just press
CTRL+SHIFT+1 and the categories list popups and I can do a quick typing of the
category I want to file the email in and if I have more I can easily add more
categories. In addition I also have CTRL+SHIFT+2 to file items as Daily Stand-up
emails from my team and in the default listing view of outlook I have the
category column there setup to file emails in the category I have setup for the
main product I work on.
This means that my inbox has all my emails, and I get round
this by creating a search folder called Inbox which shows all emails with no
category. I then move all the search folders that I use a lot to the favourites
at the top left of the screen.
Sometime I have to perform some work later then when I file
so before I file it I have the flag column in my default outlook view and so I
hit that and I have another search folder called follow up which lists all
items that have an incomplete flag on it.
Right my now I have review all my emails, and I rarely have
the Search Folder for inbox go over 100 for longer than 24 hours which is a lot
better than before, I also ensure I skim read all the emails to see if there is
anything I need to do with them.
I then review my follow up email search folder at least once
a week, normally on a Friday afternoon and then great stories or follow up as a
run down to the week, and preparing for the next.
I have never felt so in control of my email then I have now,
I’m also able to find most emails quickly as they are filled in multiple
categories which make it easy.
Getting to work this way has taken sometime, but setting up
shortcut keys is the first part really, this then allows you to also quickly
create categories when you require to, at first I was creating a new category
every 2 hours or so, now I crate a new category every 1-2 months.