Some Productivity Tips

 Don’t be a Slave to Your E-Mail:

Taking Control of Your Inbox is a Two-Step Process

  1. Perform a radical housecleaning
  2. Set up a system to keep your inbox clean and to keep on top of your mail

Strategies for the Radical Housecleaning

There are several ways in which you can clean up an exploding inbox.

Creating and Using Categories as a Filtering Mechanism


Examples of categories might be:

Action Item



Project (or project name)

Teaching (or courses)




 In any case, whatever you decide should mirror your folder system for storing. Categories are just another way to help you keep your inbox clean.

Strategies for a Folder System

A few suggestions:

Moving Messages from Your Inbox to a Folder

The first two methods should be familiar to you and are fairly self-explanatory. Here’s a tip to help you do these two faster. To select a group of messages next to each other hold down the shift key and click on the first message in the group. While still holding down the shift key, click on the last message in the group to be moved. You should now have several contiguous messages selected. Simply Drag them to the desired folder or use the move function.

To select several messages that are not next to each other hold down the control key and single-left click of each message you want to move to a folder. Then drag or move them.

Creating Rules

There are a couple of different ways to create rules. I’ll outline the simplest one here.

Creating a New Rule from Scratch

So now that we created rules for all of our incoming messages, how do I read them?

  1. This is a good question. Any messages that come into your inbox will most likely go directly to one of your folders. You’ll never see them in your inbox. Scary isn’t it? Well, as mentioned above, folders with messages that are unread will be in bold-faced type. You’ll also see a number to the right of each of these folders indicating the number of messages unread.
  2. You could go into each of these folders and read your messages (from folder to folder) or click on the unread mail link in the navigation panel of Outlook. This will allow you to read and respond to ALL of your messages. This is the easy way.