Processing e-mail efficiently

E-mail communication is convenient, but the volume of daily messages can quickly become overwhelming. Organizing and responding to new e-mail messages is also a time-consuming process. What you need is a method for prioritizing incoming information and managing your Inbox.

The "4 D's for Decision Making" model from McGhee Productivity Solutions (MPS) is a process for sorting through new e-mail messages. First you set aside dedicated time for e-mail every day. Then you read each message and immediately decide whether to Do the action requested in the message, Delete it, Defer it until later, or Delegate it to someone else. By making a decision before you close each message, you ensure that each one receives appropriate attention and that you are informed about important details.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Search Folders can also help ease the stress of sorting and prioritizing your e-mail. A Search Folder is a virtual folder that contains e-mail items matching specific search criteria that you define, such as the e-mail sender or specific keywords in the message. You can set up Search Folders to automatically organize incoming e-mail messages in a meaningful way, and then respond to the most important messages first.

Use the following tools and information to learn how to process your e-mail messages with ease.

Applies to:
Outlook 2003