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.
Right to life is likely to be undermined alongside the rule of law, special rapporteur says
The world is increasingly at risk of âclimate apartheidâ, where the rich pay to escape heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis while the rest of the world suffers, a report from a UN human rights expert has said.
Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law.
Minister says Islam forbids such a move as country prepares to breach nuclear deal
Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon, its foreign minister has claimed, saying Islam prevented the country from doing so.
In July 2015, Iran and a six-nation negotiating group reached a landmark agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that ended a 12-year deadlock over Tehranâs nuclear programme. The deal, struck in Vienna after nearly two years of intensive talks, limited the Iranian programme, to reassure the rest of the world that it cannot develop nuclear weapons, in return for sanctions relief.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to say whether his campaign team passed a photograph of him and his partner to newspapers as a PR strategy during a radio interview which saw the Tory leadership frontrunner quizzed again about his personal life.
Speaking to LBC, Johnson refused at least half a dozen times to comment on the photo of himself and Carrie Symonds seemingly sitting in the garden of a pub. He would not answer when the host, Nick Ferrari, pressed: âThis is quite an old picture isnât it?â
Former ambassadors say far-right leader has cuddled up to rightwing nationalists, irked China, infuriated Middle Eastern partners, and jettisoned its position as climate crisis leader
It has long been considered one of the jewels of Latin American statecraft; a shrewd, dependable and highly trained foreign service that helped make Brazil a global climate leader and soft power heavyweight.
But six months into the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, even veteran diplomats struggle to mask their horror at the wrecking ball being taken to the countryâs nearly two century-old foreign office, known as Itamaraty after the Rio palace where it was once housed.
Foreign minister says there are âindividual incidentsâ that can be compared to UK knife crime
Pakistanâs foreign minister has sought to dismiss accusations of Christian persecution, claiming there were âindividual incidentsâ comparable to knife crime in the UK.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, speaking during a visit to Brussels, said reports of religious minorities being targeted in Pakistan did not constitute a trend and the recent claims of Christian persecution were an example of âwestern interestsâ that âwant to paint Pakistan in a particular wayâ.
New âinfluence operationsâ will openly advertise participation in debate instead of hiding it
The next wave of âinfluence operationsâ like those that Russia used to target the 2016 US election will aim to destabilise debate by making voters think bots are everywhere, Facebookâs head of cybersecurity policy has said.
Nathaniel Gleicher, who runs the companyâs response to politically motivated malfeasance on its platform, said groups such as Russiaâs Internet Research Agency (IRA) were increasingly trying to manipulate public perception of themselves. âNot running a large network of fake accounts but just playing on the fact that everyone thinks there are large networks of fake accounts out there,â he said.
Delegation leaves Council of Europe assembly in protest at readmission of Russian MPs
The Ukrainian delegation at the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe has walked out in protest after Russian MPs were allowed to return to the human rights body five years after the annexation of Crimea.
The assembly backed Russiaâs return by 118 votes to 62, in one of the first reversals of the penalties imposed on Moscow after its military entered Ukraine in 2014.
UK ambassador says Berlin is willing to hear fresh ideas for Irish border problem
Germany will fight to the last hour to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal and is willing to hear any fresh ideas for the Irish border backstop, the countryâs ambassador to the UK has said.
Speaking at a car manufacturersâ summit in London, Peter Wittig said Germany cherished its relationship with the UK and was ready to talk about solutions the new prime minister might have for the Irish border problem.
Angie Zelter, 68, wanted judge to take âurgency of the climate emergencyâ into account
The first person to face trial over the Extinction Rebellion protests in April has been found guilty of a minor public order offence for blocking a road in central London.
Angie Zelter, 68, was given a conditional discharge at Hendon magistrates court on Tuesday after being arrested for lying in the road near Parliament Square on 17 April. She had been taking part in protests in which thousands of people blocked key sites across the capital over 10 days to highlight the escalating climate emergency.
Donald Trump responds to E. Jean Carroll's assault revelation with: She's "not my type". Outrageous, but sadly not surprising. 1/2
Fox's newscasts and talk shows have barely mentioned E. Jean Carroll's newly published allegation that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. https://t.co/B2r89uqbHa
Hereâs some more of E Jean Carrollâs comments on CNN last night. The advice columnist was appearing on Anderson Cooperâs show after Trump doubled down on his denial of her allegations earlier in the day.
In an interview with The Hill, Trump said: âIâll say it with great respect: Number one, sheâs not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?â
In 2013 the Irish capital was ranked among the worldâs top 20 bike-friendly cities, but only a small part of the promised cycle network was ever built
One sunny May afternoon in Dublin, as the Spice Girls prepared to kick off their Spice World 2019 tour at Croke Park stadium, the coaches bringing their fans unwittingly sparked another reunion â the cityâs cycle activists.
It had been two years since the direct action group I Bike Dublin had mobilised to protect cycle tracks from car parking â uniting around twice a week under the hashtag #freethecyclelanes â but as police officers directed coach drivers to park in the bike lane by Dublin Bay, blocking the track, the protesters were back.
Chongqingâs population is estimated at just below 10 million but that rises to more than 31 million if the built-up surroundings are included. Belgian photographer Kris Provoost finds that in a city so large, individuals can get lost
High unemployment and living costs are driving people from the metropolis â but some rural residents arenât happy about the new arrivals
Su Ava has been up since 5am. There have been new lambs to check on, goats, cats and dogs to feed, beehives to inspect, orders to fill, and she has also made a visit to her under-construction workshop.
Her current life making and selling cheese, honey and tahini in Turkeyâs beautiful Ăanakkale region could not be more different to her old one in Istanbul. The work can be exhausting but, Ava says, she would not give it up for anything.
Political, security and cultural complications â not least a refusal to believe that Ebola exists â have thwarted efforts to overcome DRCâs deadly outbreak
Moise Kitsakihu-Mbira has lost his brother, his grandson and 11 other family members to Ebola. When he himself fell sick he sought treatment in secret. His family donât believe the virus exists and think a man in their village poisoned them.
Refusal to believe in the existence of Ebola is one difficulty for doctors who say the current outbreak of the deadly virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the âmost complex public health emergency in historyâ and warn it could drag on for months.
NHS says outbreak of invasive group A streptococcus began in Braintree and has spread
Twelve people have died from a rare bacterial infection that has spread in Essex, the NHS has said.
There have been 32 reported cases of the disease, called invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS). The NHS Mid Essex clinical commissioning group said the outbreak started in Braintree and had spread to the Chelmsford and Maldon areas, but did not give a timeline for this. Public Health England said it was a âlocal incidentâ.
James Marape says foreign contractors should not be doing work that locals can do
Papua New Guineaâs newly appointed prime minister wants Australia to cancel its controversial contract with Paladin to deliver services on Manus Island.
James Marape, who became prime minister after the resignation of Peter OâNeill last month, told PNGâs parliament on Tuesday he would summon Australiaâs diplomatic head of mission âto provide an explanationâ.
State education minister James Merlino announces move aimed at reducing classroom distraction and cyberbullying
Students at Victorian public schools will be banned from using their phones from next year.
In an effort to reduce distractions and cyber bullying, and hopefully improve education outcomes, students will have to switch off their phones and store them in lockers during school hours until the final bell, Education Minister James Merlino has announced.
In the early hours of a Saturday morning in the city of Nadi, on the west coast of Fijiâs main island, Isaiah* is sitting in a Burger King drinking Fanta through a straw and explaining how he became a drug dealer.
He started five years ago, aged 13, selling cigarettes and marijuana. Now he sells cocaine and methamphetamines.
Visa decision overturned for British resident Nina Saleh, 48 hours after Guardian and others published her story
A woman who was refused a visa to return to London after travelling to Pakistan to adopt a baby has been told she can come home.
Nina Saleh has a Norwegian passport but full UK residency rights after living in London for 20 years. She was refused a visa to return home with baby Sofia three times, despite going through a stringent and lengthy adoption process in the UK with British authoritiesâ involvement.
From Colombia to Zimbabwe, members of a global network of rape survivors are demanding an end to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war
All photographs by Raegan Hodge of the Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation
Carmen was raped by armed guerrilla forces in Colombia. Ekhlas was kidnapped by Isis in Iraq and forced into sexual slavery. Grace was taken by rebels from her classroom in Uganda, âgivenâ to a soldier and impregnated twice before finally fleeing to safety.
Today, these women are all members of the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, known as Sema, which translates to âspeak outâ in Swahili. The network represents roughly 2,000 rape survivors and 90 yearsâ worth of conflict across 21 countries in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Europe.
Plastics are among the most ubiquitous materials in our economy, our lives, and our environment. They are also among the most pervasive and persistent pollutants on Earth.
In recent years, stark images of beaches, waterways and wildlife filled with plastic have spurred demands for action to address plastic pollution. These calls are coupled with growing concern that plastic and its toxic additives pose serious risks to human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle. Far less attention has been paid to the impacts of this same lifecycle on the Earthâs climate. This is a dangerous oversight.
Bernie Sanders has a radical plan to wipe out undergraduate and graduate debt for all Americans. Here is whatâs at stake
Going to university in the US is expensive â costing an average of over $34,000 a year in tuition and fees at private universities â which means for most Americans, the only way of viably pursuing higher education is to take out a student loan.
Did you ever decide to get off a jammed freeway and take the backroads even though deep down you knew that it wouldnât be any faster? Are you constantly switching to the faster lane on a busy freeway even though you notice that cars sticking to their lanes keep catching up with you?
Both are examples of action bias, the phenomenon in which people prefer doing something over doing nothing, even if the likely outcome of the action is worse than the outcome of inaction. Research has shown that actively managed portfolios tend to do worse than passive investments. And one study found that soccer goalkeepers prefer to jump left or right during a penalty-kick, even though the best thing would be to stay put in the middle.
The US president has signed an executive order placing âhard-hittingâ new sanctions on Tehran amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran. Trump said the measures were a âstrong and proportionate response to Iranâs increasingly provocative actionsâ after a US drone was shot down last week
The Stonewall rebellion in 1969 started a revolution in LGBT rights in the US. Ed Pilkington revisits the story 50 years on with those who were there. Plus: Lucy Siegle on the rise of fast fashion
On the evening of 27 June 1969, gay men and their trans and lesbian peers gathered as usual at a bar called the Stonewall Inn. What followed would change the course of LGBT rights in the US and the wider world. A police raid on the bar in the early hours of the following day descended into violence as supporters came out on to the streets and stayed there defiantly.
The Guardianâs Ed Pilkington has tracked down some of those who took part in the rebellion and joins Anushka Asthana to discuss what happened and the growing recognition of LGBT rights in the decades that followed.
Soap, toothbrushes and blankets are some of the items migrant children detained in the US do not need, a Trump administration official has claimed. Sarah Fabian, a lawyer for the US Department of Justice, argued at the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit that such children do not always require certain sanitary products
A bug-eyed, dreadlocked pooch called Scamp the Tramp took top honours on Friday at the 31st annual World's Ugliest Dog contest. Scamp beat 18 other contestants at the event, held in Northern California. Organisers say the contest is about bringing attention to the needs of rescue dogs.
Donald Trump has said the US air force was 'cocked and loaded' to attack three Iranian targets, but he withdrew the order with 10 minutes to spare after being told the airstrikes might kill as many as 150 people. The strikes were planned in retaliation for Iran shooting down an unmanned US surveillance drone
The European council president, Donald Tusk, and the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, raised some laughs after the leaders of the member states failed to reach agreement on who should take the bloc's top jobs. 'I note with some pleasure that it is not easy to replace me,' Juncker told a press conference. He will step down as commission chief in October
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