Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective
Now that you’ve done some of the no brainer clean up from Arrow-Tip #33, its time to address the emails that need to be kept, but don’t need a response. In order to deal with these emails, you need a place to put them. My best analogy for this technique is my great-grandmother who kept everything from newspaper rubber bands to tin foil from gum rappers, but was neurotically neat at the same time. How did she keep things tidy and manage to be a packrat at the same time? She had a place for everything and that is what you need in your Outlook mailbox.
Taking the time to create a filing system in your Outlook mailbox that makes sense is a very worthwhile effort that will pay big dividends when you are trying to quickly clear things out. Here are some quick tips for creating an effective folder system in your Inbox:
- Do not create email storage folders at the same level as your Inbox. Instead create all email folders as sub folders to the Inbox so that you can quickly compress email folders when you need to find another type folder like your Contacts or Sent Items.
- Think about the kinds of emails you receive and what kind of filing system makes sense for the way you work. For sales people, separating clients from prospects usually makes a lot of sense. For example you might want to have a Clients folder with sub folders for each of your clients. If you have a great filing system for your documents outside of Outlook, you might want to mirror that. Check out the thumbnail below to see my main file folders
- Re-examine your filing system regularly so that it can evolve as your needs do. It is very easy to mass move emails so don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis trying to develop for email folders.
One thing that can really help facilitate quick filing is an add-in I’ve blogged about in the past called SimplyFile – I highly suggest you give it a try if you manage a lot of emails daily.
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