Tip 48: E-mail Follow-Up Systems

by shannon on October 1, 2012

How do you follow up with your e-mails? Whether you have a home office or work for a large company, it is important to have follow-up systems in place. The e-mail inbox is an ongoing, potential clutter disaster. How do you keep track of which e-mails are important to follow up on? Do you flag certain messages that take more than a minute to read and respond to?

Take 10 minutes right now to create active file folders for your e-mail inbox. Consider creating categories such as: Pending, Write a Response, Take Action, and Delegate. Depending on the type of e-mail system you use, near your Inbox, Spam, and Trash folders there should be a button for New Folder. This is what you want to use to create new folders within your Inbox as well as folders for reference e-mails.

Most of us receive more e-mail than we can possible reply to. The very first thing I would recommend is deleting as many as you can right away, unsubscribe from any publications you haven’t read in the last month, and file any that you don’t have to open because you know the content by the subject. The automatic filers are the e-mails that tell you in the subject line that it is Financial, Order Processed, or a specific Newsletter you may refer to at a later date.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 has a custom dialog box for flagging messages for yourself so that you can create to do items with reminder messages. You can also flag the e-mail for the recipients so that they know that they are supposed to follow up on a particular e-mail as well. Click the Follow Up button, select Custom, then decide whether to flag yourself and/or the recipients.

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