I just returned from a couple weeks of vacation. The sun was great and the rest was even better. But like all vacations, it came to an end and I returned to work on Monday. Waiting for me were hundreds of e-mails. And with meetings and all the work I had to finish, I didn’t have a lot of time to read it. Instead of going through each message, I used a sorting technique in Outlook to save time.
Once I started reading all my e-mail, I realized that nearly all of it was part of conversations that included two or more e-mails. Instead of reading each e-mail, I sorted everything by conversation. Then, I just opened the most recent e-mail, read the entire conversation, and deleted the rest. I didn’t have to open or preview each e-mail and reduced my e-mail from hundreds to—well just over a hundred. I was through all my e-mail by noon.
I did worry that I may have inadvertently deleted a message that was part of long conversation but addressed just to me. Colleagues may take everyone except me off the To: and Cc: lines to make comments on what is being discussed. I may have, but I’ve found that most colleagues wait until I return to send me e-mails like that. I double-checked though, and it turns out I didn’t miss anything.
You can sort your e-mail by conversation in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007—if you’re running it.
If you have other tips for sorting your e-mail or ways to get though loads of e-mail in less time, let us know.