In Arrow-Tip #35 we discussed tackling emails that require some sort of follow up action on your part such as a quick answer or scheduling a meeting. Now it is time to address the toughest category of emails requiring follow up – emails that require a task.
These tasks can range anywhere from updating contact information in your Contacts folder to the beginning of a new project. Inputting information takes a few minutes, but is well worth it in terms of increasing your efficiency – see Arrow-Tip #1 Don’t Use Your Inbox as a Data Repository Part I and Arrow-Tip #4 Don’t Use Your Inbox as a Data Repository Part II for more information on the benefits of storing information in the right Outlook folder.
For emails that require information from a third party to answer, but not much other action on your part, you may want to consider using flags. The advantage to using flags is that you can still file these emails in sub folders and then easily find them in the For Follow Up search folder (see thumbnail below). For one of my clients that tends to generate a lot of these types of emails, I use the color coding feature to help keep track of which departments within their company I’m waiting on follow up information from. Be careful, however, not to use flags where a task is really what is required.
The good news is that the emails requiring longer range action like projects or To Do’s are very easy to get out of your Inbox – why? because they are actually TASKS! Drag these emails to your Task folder or click the Task It button on your SimplyFile tool bar to create tasks for these emails and then delete the original. I’ve spent a lot of time pontificating on Arrow-Tips.com regarding the virtues of using the right kind of Outlook item to store data so rather than be repetitive, I’m listing a few past posts for reference below.
So there you have it. Be on the look out for the final installment of the Inbox Overload series later this week and following that a post on Outlook Maintenance Tips requested by my Twitter/Facebook pal, Jim Turner.
No comments yet.