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Time management - E-mails


Most of the comments here will apply to Microsoft Outlook Express but the principles are applicable to other e-mail software.


Always keep on top of your emails.

Choose an Internet Service Provider that allows webmail where you can access your e-mail over the internet if necessary.
Although, many prefer to access their mail on their computer at home using software like Microsoft Outlook Express it is not possible to do this when you are away from your home without a laptop. If you do not have a laptop you will definitely need webmail when away from home.

If you have access to webmail delete any unwanted mail so that later when you are at home and in a position to download your mail onto your PC you don’t also download all of the mail you considered useless.

Message rules

If all of your mail just comes into your ‘in-box’ you will have a long list which is hard to manage.
If you have many sources of e-mails you will end with a jumbled list. Yes, you can organise by date sent, date received, ‘To’ and ‘From’ and search for information but this will very rapidly become very unwieldy.

Create ‘message rules’. Once you get the hang of these they are very simple and very effective in sorting your mail. The set ‘message rule’ is applied to the incoming mail and automatically directed to a particular folder that you set up.

Back up

E-mail is a great method for retaining records and threads of your communication to people.
However, if your hard drive goes belly up you can be left pulling your hair out to recover them.
Whilst, recovery software is available for hard drives, that are not too damaged, it may not recover your emails specifically.
Your e-mails, rules and other features of your e-mail software are held in obscure folders. Unless you know exactly what you are doing you may find it impossible (or very expensive employing an expert) to recover them.

Get yourself e-mail back up software. Choose one that will allow you to save externally (for obvious safety) and recover easily.
Most will be able to do this for every ‘identity’ that you have set up. These are relatively cheap and easy to find via Google.


If you have an e-mail address you will eventually receive spam mail.
Whilst in theory you could move a lot of these to the ‘deleted’ folder using ‘message rules’ it is not very efficient.
You are better off getting a specialist piece of anti-spam software. You may find that your Internet Service Provider will have anti-spam software in place removing the majority of the more offensive spam. You will need to evaluate the cost of the options available.

Keep one e-mail address for friends and private use and have others for general use.
If you have e-mail addresses on a website change their format so that ‘robots’ can not find them and use them automatically.
For example, use your name(AT)ISP.com without the @ sign. If someone is interested in communicating with you they will take the trouble to enter the correct address with the @ sign.


If you receive e-mails that require an action you may wish to put them into a few ‘action folders’ which you can check on a regular basis using ‘reminders’.
It may be tricky to set up any ‘message rules’ for this. Instead just copy those the relevant mail to folders you have set up.
For example, by setting up folders called ?Delegated, ?Delayed, ?Project etc you can monitor any actions required. The symbol ‘?’ puts the folders at the top of the list.
You can use any symbol that does this, for example, try ‘@’ or ‘#’ etc.

If you send an e-mail to your self via ‘cc’ then you could set up a ‘message rule’ to have the copy sent to a particular folder.

Non - PRINCE2 information