How do you focus on your urgent e-mail and organize the rest for your review? Think about how you handle your paper mail. You probably sort your paper mail quickly before you read it to figure out what to look at first, what to read later, and what to throw away. Here are some similar ways to automatically process and prioritize your electronic mail for better and faster results:
(Although the following tips refer to Microsoft Outlook, many of these features are similar to those found in other mail systems. For specific how-to steps, and more e-mail and Outlook tips, visit The Software Pro website.)
1. Color Code to Identify Key Messages
Color code priority messages to quickly identify e-mail from your most important contacts such as management, staff, or team members. To apply colors in Microsoft Outlook, highlight a message from a contact, choose Tools > Organize, select the option Using Colors and pick how you want to color-code your incoming messages from the specific contact.
2. Streamline with Categories and Folders
Stop using your Inbox as a reference system filled with messages that don't require an immediate action. To further organize your messages, create categories and folders with useful labels such as Team Members, Projects, Personal, and others. The Categories feature in Microsoft Outlook, for instance, helps to organize and view active messages into groups within your Inbox. Create and use e-mail folders to store messages that you have already handled and wish to keep for history or folders for e-mail that contains informational reading and general reference.
Note that folders and categories sort in alphabetical order which is not likely to place your priority items at the top. Adding a letter or number at the beginning of a label, such as a-Team Members and b-Projects, will sort these towards the top of your Inbox.
3. Filter with Rules
Rules are instructions or filters that automatically categorize, organize, and prioritize messages based on conditions that you set. As new messages are received in Microsoft Outlook, right-click on the message and left click on the command Create a Rule to apply a category or move the message to a folder. If all you do is apply rules, you may be able to get through e-mail in half the time it took before.
4. Learn Easy Navigation
Stop wasting time by moving in and out of each message and start applying simple navigation tricks. In Microsoft Outlook, for instance, you can move in your Inbox with the up or down arrow key to select a message. Then press [Enter] to open the message. To move to the next message directly from the current e-mail, look for toolbar buttons with arrows or press [Ctrl] + > for the next message and [Ctrl] + < for the previous e-mail. Press [Esc] to close the active message.
5. Sort to Find Messages
To quickly sort your e-mail messages, click once on a column heading for the new order you want such as sender, subject or date. For instance, to sort messages by the sender, click once on the Sender heading. By clicking twice on a column heading, the sort order changes from ascending (A-Z) order to descending (Z-A) order. By the way, the abbreviations RE and FW in the Subject line are ignored when you sort messages alphabetically by subject.
Implementing these ideas for overcoming e-mail overload can help you become more productive and free you from your Inbox.
Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro? and a certified Microsoft Office Expert and Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software and technology through her work as a speaker, trainer, and consultant. Visit www.SoftwarePro.com">http://www.SoftwarePro.com for great Microsoft Office software tips and tricks or to contact Dawn.
Plan to strike backstop deal falls through with PM facing possible cabinet revolt at home
The Brexit negotiations are on a knife-edge as Theresa May‚Äôs domestic vulnerability over the Irish border threatens to kill off hopes of an October deal, with the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, forced to make a dash to Brussels to seek more time from the EU‚Äôs chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
Exit polls show CSU losing majority it has long enjoyed as far-right AfD makes gains
Angela Merkel‚Äôs conservative partners in Bavaria have had their worst election performance for more than six decades, in a humiliating state poll result that is likely to further weaken Germany‚Äôs embattled coalition government.
The Christian Social Union secured 37.2% of the vote, preliminary results showed, losing the absolute majority in the prosperous southern state it had had almost consistently since the second world war. The party‚Äôs support fell below 40% for the first time since 1954.
Based on real events, Kler has broken box office records and divided Catholic country
A film depicting Polish clerics as corrupt, drunken fornicators and paedophiles is smashing box office records in Poland, sparking controversy and encouraging hundreds of people to come forward with allegations of recent and historical abuse.
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The company, which owns the discount chain Kmart, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York as it struggles with a debt burden of $5.6bn (¬£4.3bn). It will shut another 142 stores by the end of the year, following 46 recently announced store closures. The company had 506 Sears stores and 360 Kmart stores in August.
Residents say ‚ÄėLantau Tomorrow Vision‚Äô, the city‚Äôs largest land reclamation project, is costly and will kill marine life
Thousands of Hong Kong residents protested at the weekend over a government plan to build artificial islands to deal with the city‚Äôs severe housing shortage.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last week announced a plan to reclaim about 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) from the ocean and build infrastructure and transportation links to create a major business district. The islands, which would be Hong Kong‚Äôs largest land reclamation project, would eventually house up to 1.1 million residents over the next few decades.
Crowdfunding campaign easily covers $18,000 fine, but money will be sent to mental health charity
Two New Zealand women who were ordered to pay damages by an Israeli court for their role in Lorde cancelling a Tel Aviv concert have raised the sum through donations ‚Äď but plan to give the money to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation instead.
Last week an Israeli court ruled Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab of New Zealand must pay damages to Israeli teenagers Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel totalling more than NZ$18,000 ($11,700) for writing a letter urging Lorde to cancel her gig, which she did.
Kensington Palace says Duchess of Sussex, who is on tour in Australia with her husband, is pregnant
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they are expecting a baby next spring.
A statement from Kensington Palace said: ‚ÄúTheir Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.‚ÄĚ
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One month after the French channel port of Dunkirk introduced free public transport for all, a small revolution is taking place.
Two women, perfect strangers until now, are chatting across the aisle about nothing in particular. One admits she sometimes takes the bus ‚Äújust for the fun of it‚ÄĚ. A young man wearing headphones is charging his mobile in a socket just above the ‚Äúrequest stop‚ÄĚ button.
The city has more than 1,400 tianguis ‚Äď open-air markets that operate on certain days of the week ‚Äď and many have been around for centuries. Professor Joseph Heathcott uses satellite images to highlight these unique spaces
The new Asian Town mall was designed to cater to Qatar‚Äôs roughly 2 million migrant workers ‚Äď but critics say it is simply a way to segregate them
At first glance, it is like any other entertainment complex in Qatar: a giant shopping mall, a multiplex cinema and an amphitheatre for musical shows. But there are no high-end boutiques, no women ‚Ä¶ and no Qataris.
Welcome to Asian Town, an entertainment and shopping venue in the heart of the largest labour camp in Qatar, on the outskirts of the capital, Doha. Each day, thousands of young men gather here from the workers‚Äô dormitories that stretch out into the desert for miles around, to enjoy mutton curries, Bollywood films or just a sanctuary from the searing heat.
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For three decades, the 18-story, beaux arts Michigan Central Station sat vacant on downtown Detroit‚Äôs edge, a hulking, decaying symbol of the economic struggles in the city around it. Today, as greater downtown rebounds, it‚Äôs one of the last vestiges of an era the city is trying to put behind it.
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From the outside it does not look like much ‚Äď a tucked-away corner unit opposite a health-food shop in a low-slung, low-rent strip mall in a humdrum suburb on the outskirts of San Antonio.
Despite the modest surrounds, this is the home of a fiercely determined force battling one of the highest-profile and controversial policies of the Trump administration, the separation of families at the southern border.
Josh Frydenberg backs Shorten‚Äôs plan to end right to disciminate while PM refuses to commit
The Morrison government is split on whether to support Labor‚Äôs call to amend discrimination law to prevent religious schools firing gay staff.
The Liberal deputy leader, Josh Frydenberg, and candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma backed Labor‚Äôs call but Scott Morrison refused to commit to extend his promise to prevent discrimination against students.
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According to the latest UN global estimates, 303,000 women a year die in childbirth, or as a result of complications arising from pregnancy. This equates to about 830 women dying each day ‚Äď roughly one every two minutes.
The philanthropist warns that stability in Africa makes a huge difference to the world, and that investing in the health and education of its young people is vital
What worries Bill Gates most? The booming population of Africa looms over his foundation‚Äôs latest global survey. By the end of this century there will be 4 billion more people on Earth ‚Äď and 3 billion of these extra souls will be born in Africa. The challenge, he says, is that ‚ÄúAfrica must almost quadruple its agricultural productivity to feed itself. That‚Äôs very daunting.‚ÄĚ
The philanthropist is torn between sending out a message of hope and a message of fear when I meet him at his foundation‚Äôs spacious campus in the heart of his hometown, Seattle.
In a country where one in four women have a child by 19, and health workers offering birth control have been met by men with machetes, confronting myths about contraception is vital
A woman lies on her back, a one-year-old straddling her. One hand is over her eyes, the other held out. A nurse gently inserts a small white strip of contraceptive implant into her upper arm while her baby plays on her. They beckon me in. Privacy hardly seems to be an issue here.
I am in a tent in Rwibale, in the Kyenjojo district of Uganda. We have driven for about five hours from Kampala to get here. It is a place that Prosper Kigumire, who is showing me around, describes as ‚Äúperi-rural‚ÄĚ. It seems rural enough, a village ‚Äď if that. I am with the mobile outreach team of Marie Stopes International. ‚ÄúI have four children so this does not hurt,‚ÄĚ says Monica, the women who is getting the implant. ‚ÄúI have no husband.‚ÄĚ
Its vast oil reserves ‚Äď it claims to have about 260bn barrels still to extract ‚Äď afford the most obvious advantage. The kingdom is the world‚Äôs largest oil exporter, pumping or shipping about 7m barrels a day, and giving Riyadh huge clout in the global economy because it wields power to push up prices.
Tracking right to lure AfD voters while rocking the boat in the coalition government turned off moderate Germans
It is, as Der Spiegel said, as if the all-conquering Bayern M√ľnchen, Germany‚Äôs most successful ever football club, had been ignominiously relegated ‚Äď but with rather more far-reaching consequences.
The CSU, the sister party of Angela Merkel‚Äôs CDU, has dominated Bavarian politics for six decades, winning absolute majorities in 12 of the past 13 elections. And it has not done a bad job: the well-heeled home state of BMW and Siemens has the highest employment and lowest crime rate in the country.
The archbishop of Constantinople has granted Ukraine‚Äôs wish for a church independent of Moscow
Donald Trump seems strangely in awe of Vladimir Putin. Theresa May‚Äôs attempts to face down the Kremlin after Salisbury have had limited impact. But has Putin finally met his match in Bartholomew I, the 270th archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, ecumenical patriarch, and ‚Äúfirst among equals‚ÄĚ of the Eastern Orthodox church?
In the 2,000-year struggle between church and state, Barth-olomew chalked up a notable victory last week. Defying protests from the Kremlin and Russia‚Äôs clergy, the archbishop granted Ukraine‚Äôs wish to establish an independent church that will no longer answer, as it has since 1686, to the Moscow patriarchate. The decision was taken at a synod at Orthodox ‚Äúheadquarters‚ÄĚ in Istanbul, formerly Constantinople.
Rather than annoy a trading partner, the Tories turn a blind eye to the country‚Äôs excesses
Imagine how this government would have reacted if last weekend either Russia or Iran had abducted ‚Äď and in all likelihood murdered ‚Äď one of their dissident journalists within the sovereign territory of another country.
In fact, we do not need to imagine it. We need only look back five months to the faked assassination of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko on the streets of Kiev. It took the then foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, less than 24 hours to issue an official statement not only saying how appalled he was, but leaving no doubt that the Russian state was responsible and saying it must be held to account.
Pope Francis has made a saint of murdered Salvadoran archbishop √ďscar Romero, one of the most contentious Roman Catholic figures of the 20th century. In a ceremony before tens of thousands of people in St Peter‚Äôs Square, Francis declared Romero and Pope Paul VI saints along with five other lesser-known people.
People from across Germany have marched through Berlin to protest against racism, xenophobia and the far right in one of the country‚Äôs biggest rallies of recent years. Organisers put the turnout at 242,000 people. The demonstration on Saturday followed anti-immigration protests in several eastern cities during the summer.
The US president says he will speak to Salman about the disappearance of the journalist. Trump says the US government will find out what happened to Khashoggi. US officials say they are seeking answers from the Saudi government.
Donald Trump has made it clear that whatever the outcome of the inquiry into the disappearance of the journalist from the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, the US will not forgo lucrative arms deals with Riyadh. The president says the possibility of Saudi Arabia sourcing its arms from Russia or China instead is unacceptable
The quinceanŐÉera, the 15th birthday rite of passage into womanhood, is widely celebrated in Latino culture. The ostentatious display of wealth at these events is important, even in communist Cuba. The photographer Diana Markosian has documented the tradition in her Over the Rainbow project, which has been awarded the third Elliott Erwitt Havana Club 7 Fellowship. It will be on display at Paris Photo in the Grand Palais from 8-11 November
Aerial footage shows the extent of the damage along Florida's coastline after the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael, the strongest US storm in more than 25 years. It made landfall near Mexico Beach ‚Äď as seen in this video ‚Äď with winds of up to 155 mph
First lady Melania Trump says she could be 'the most bullied person' in the world, or one of them, judging by 'what people are saying about me'. She made the remark during a television interview for Good Morning America. The first lady said there are people in the White House who are not trustworthy and she had let her husband know about them
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