26 March 2015

Two Simple Email Tips That Will Save You Hours Per Week

I’ve just been running a ‘Getting a Grip on Email, Paper and the Office Environment’ workshop for a large Government department in Wellington. Here are two email tips that got the folks really excited. They couldn’t wait to get back to their desks and start using them. I’ll share the instructions in Outlook 2010, and if you have a different version or system, your Help menu will guide you.

  1. Turn off your alert – it is one of the most insidious interrupters.
    You almost never need to know you’ve just received yet another email but very few of us can ignore a beep or flashing message. When our energy is low or the current task is challenging it is way too easy to be distracted.

    The path is: File/Options/Mail/Message Arrival – and then untick all four options.

Now, instead of constantly dodging in and out of your email system, hounded by pings and flashes, you’re in chargEmail envelopee. You will choose how often you wish to communicate, and when. Put your focus on your high-value work and do email in suitable gaps.

You might want to add something extra in your standard email signature to indicate your changed practice. One of my Australian speaker colleagues has the following just under his name:

‘Please call me if you need a quick response.’ His phone number is just below.

Or you might say something like: ‘I reply to my emails a few times a day. Please phone …. if your query is urgent.’

  1. To save unnecessary keystrokes, turn anything you repeatedly write into a ‘Signature’.
    It might be driving instructions, a basic proposal outline, invitations to an event, a promotion you wish to market, seasonal greetings, instructions to the printer – and that’s just for starts. I have about 12 signatures to choose from.

You can write directly into the Signature wizard (detailed below) but it’s quite a small box. I find it faster and easier to create elsewhere. Usually I’ll copy the required text from a new email, or if it’s a large block of information you might grab it from an existing document. Highlight the block of text and copy it. (Shortcut Ctrl + C = Copy).

In Outlook, File/Options/Mail/Signatures/. Choose ‘New’, give it a name, and then drop in your block of text. Choose OK.

When you’re in the message area of an email you’re composing and ready for your block of text, place your cursor in the relevant place and then choose the Signature button on the ribbon above. If you’ve got more than one signature you’ll see a down arrow. Click on the arrow and all your signatures will be listed. One click and your text of choice is inserted. Voila!

There may be things you need to change, but getting the ‘bones’ into an email will save you significant time.

A couple of signature work-arounds, due to some clunky Outlook programming:
Once you’ve set up the new signature, go back and open Signatures again. You’ll find (on the right hand side) that what you’ve just set up has become the default for every new outgoing email. We don’t want this, so just reset to ‘None’ for outgoing mail, which allows you to pick whichever signature is relevant.

One other annoying Outlook 10 feature – you can only choose one signature. Pick another and your first choice vanishes in a puff of digital smoke. If you want two or more blocks of text, open another email box, drop the second signature in there and then cut and paste.

There are other ways to create templates (for that’s what this form of signature really is). This one is my favourite.

In the next post I’ll share two more fast and simple email time-savers.


3 thoughts on “Two Simple Email Tips That Will Save You Hours Per Week”

  1. great tips and so easy to implement

  2. Ingrid says:

    Hi Robyn

    Excellent tips, thank you.

    For often used emails at work I use templates in MS Office Outlook. Type the email you use frequently, including the recipients. Save as a .oft file.

    To open your template in MS Office Outlook, go to: New -> Choose Form -> User Template in File System -> click on the template you want to use. And you are good to go.

    cheers
    Ingrid

  3. Love your work Robyn!

    Many have found tip #1 to be incredibly simple but also incredibly powerful – no wonder your audience was excited.

    As for tip #2, in addition to the suggestion by Ingrid in her comment above, a third way to minimise typing and speed up sending email is to create a new email and save it in the Drafts folder.

    You can then simply select the desired message from your Drafts folder (instead of selecting a signature) and click Forward to open it up as a new message (and it does NOT show FWD in the subject line).

    You can then simply make a few minor changes to the message to customise it and then hit Send. The original stays in the Drafts folder to use over and over again as you need in future (I have about 70 of these myself).

    Take care to NOT double click the message in Drafts as that will take it out of Drafts and send it off, meaning you’ll have to create it again!

    Cheers
    Steuart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Are your days too short, workload too large and work-life balance a pipe dream?

Take a look at these Books, E-books, CDs/Teleseminars, Online Courses/Webinars and Tools. They provide practical, effective and easy to implement ways for you to free up your time, improve your productivity and reduce stress from overload.



Webmasters/Ezine Publishers: Would you like to use this article?
You are invited to use any of our articles in your publication or website. The only requirements are that we are included on your mailing list, and that you include the following, after each article you use...

Robyn Pearce CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the Time Queen. She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire.

Get your free report 'How To Master Time In Only 90 Seconds' and ongoing time tips at gettingagrip.com.

© All Rights Reserved to Robyn Pearce, GettingAGrip.com, 25 Keven Road, R.D.4, Pukekohe, South Auckland 2679, New Zealand Ph.+ 64 9 232 0523


If you'd like Robyn to write something specific for your industry, please email us with your request.

Planning & Prioritising Online Course, $100 introductory price

Get Your Free
'How To Master Time'
Report

Image

Plus your FREE Time Resources Pack (Valued at $227)




Image

Client Testimonials

Catalyst For Efficiency ImprovementsIt was great to introduce our two job-share receptionists to Robyn’s Getting a Grip on The Paper War text.  It became a catalyst for us to improve our administration proce..." Marie Collins, Business Manager, The NZ Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

Enhanced Efficiency Thank you for all the tips and words of advice you and your team have sent through.I have been constantly reading it and it does wonders to my line of work and also being a wife and mot..." Anaseini Liku, Communication & Media Coordinator, Ministry of Education, Cook Islands

Clear Directions Enhance Use Of TimeI have just finished reading 'Getting a Grip on Time' and 'Getting a Grip on the Paper War'.  Particularly your book on 'Time' got me back on track, and during the day I catc..." Ingrid Geerlings, Owner, www.houseofmilk.com

Leadership Book Helps To find the Real Me‘I’ve just been reading ‘Getting a grip on Leadership’.  It is very good and has had an impact on me.  I realised I’d lost my way a bit re who I am ..." Heather Millar, Manager, Professional Practice, Central North Island Kindergarten Association, New Zealand

Additional $120,000 Billed After Time Management CourseI have personally known Robyn Pearce for around 16 years. From time to time my firm has contracted Robyn on a project basis to work with our professional staff as well as partners in the fi..." John Hackett, Partner, A J Park, New Zealand

The Librarian Who Got Her Life Back!The kick-start that I needed was delivered by a velvet glove, but make no mistake the iron hand within the glove ensured that the message was received and understood. If you are going to spend some..." Heather Jenks, Associate University Librarian (Research and Learning Services), University of Canterbury

Increasing Personal Confidence And Job ManagementHaving worked already very successfully with our NZ Team, Robyn's support of the Australian Team over a 12-month period was fundamental to helping us cope with increased day to day workload - espec..." Julia Braun, General Manager - Marketing, Beiersdorf Australia

A Great Empathy And Affinity With PeopleI have used Robyn as an Executive Coach for key Senior Staff for a number of years now and couldn't recommend her more highly. I've found as people step up in the organisation they often struggle t..." Merilyn Havler, Then General Manager, Beiersdorf New Zealand

An Increase of 30% In Gross Turnover Due To Better SystemsWhen we reviewed the progress made as a result of your concepts, a staggering number of them had become an integral part of our day to day business, collectively making a huge difference to our eff..." Wayne & Lisa Hughes, Occupational Therapy Helping Children, NSW, Australia

Motivational And Thought Provoking SessionI'd like to highlight the benefits felt both by the staff members attending your sessions, and the motivational flow-on effects experienced throughout the Hotel.In the developmental sta..." Human Resources Manager, Wentworth Hotel (part of the Rydges chain)

Successful Paper Management Seminar Thank you for your interesting and indeed challenging speech. I could see all the people who've ..." Australian Institute of Credit Managers, Sydney Branch

Personalised Seminar For Long-term Results On behalf of the team at Strategic Lifestyle Management and our client Lend Lease I would..." SLM Conference and Incentive Manager, for client Lend Lease

Excellent Skilful Presenter "Thank you for the practical and informative Time Management seminar you recently gave to our senior m..." HR Manager, ANA Hotel, Sydney

Improve Your Organisation And Productivity The response to the program was extremely positive, with an average rating of 4.4 out of ..." Noel Cook, GM, Outdoor Network, Australia

Organisational Skills Improve To Lift Productivity Your time management seminars are one of the best things we've ever done. Weeks l..." Centrelink, Dubbo, New South Wales

Productivity Increased 50% Now several months later and my productivity has increased between 30% and 50%. I'm seeing more and bette..." Senior financial planner, IPAC, Australia

Timesaving Techniques Learned A wonderful surprise to learn how much I had improved since the first programme with you nine months a..." National Sales Manager, Personal Insurance, GIO Australia

Control Gained In Managing Time Feedback from the staff was very positive... all felt they had gained a great deal of control and di..." MD, C.Y. O'Connor College of TAFE, Northam, WA

Immediate Action For Change A lot of great new ideas and some very good new tools that I shall start implementing immediately. Group Services Trainer, Adecco

Increased Efficiency Saves 20-25 Minutes A Day "Many practical hints which helped me reorganise my office, to operate efficiently." ..." Senior Partner, Baldwins (Patent Attorneys)

Invaluable Resources In Time Management Books I would like to take this opportunity to commend you on the flexibility of your approach, and..." Human Resources Manager, Professional Services Review, Canberra

Self Management Crucial In Time Management You presented a most informative and challenging training session. Your ability to gain q..." Human Resources Manager, Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal of NSW

'Time Management Guru'! Once again you combine an enthusiastic presentation style with useful tips and techniques. Succinct and fun ..." Manager - Training & Development, Real Estate Institute of NSW

Beneficial Time Management Ideas Your presentation was brilliant, and your thoughts on how to make time management beneficial to eve..." Barbara McCarthy, President, Chatswood Chamber of Commerce, Sydney

Informative And Energising Speech We could not have chosen better. Your contribution was just what we wanted and needed, and I was t..." Raewyn James, Tamaki Teachers' Conference

Positive Feedback For Speech Robyn, you gave a fantastic speech, and I am still having positive feedback about your talk to this day..." Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator, Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi, and co-ordinator of Eastern Suburbs Women's Breakfast

Work Life Balance Put Into Practice I know everyone who attended was fascinated by all your planning tips and I know many have put t..." Solo Home Business Network, Sydney

IT Company Gains Insight Into Effective Time Management We were very impressed... everyone gained considerable insight to effective ..." MD, IT software company, Auckland

Professional Approach Reinforces Time Management Principles Following a number of very positive reference checks we invited Robyn Pe..." Godfrey Pembroke National Conference, Hobart, Tasmania

Staff Queue For Time Management Tips! "Thank you! I'm sure you could tell from everyone's enthusiasm that they enjoyed your presenta..." Programme Director, Pioneer SWAP

Specific Personalised Advice Benefits Group Robyn gave much more than the professional information imparted in this kind of session...." Principal Heritage Officer, Heritage Council NSW

They're 'screaming for more'! Thanks for your wonderful presentation. I've had a lot of positive feedback from our staff, and they c..." GM's assistant, Austereo, Australia

L.J. Hooker Predicts Great Success In Using Their Time Your down-to-earth common sense certainly hit home to a lot of people, and the feedba..." Lyn McDermott, Ass. Director, Marketing and Communication, L.J. Hooker Ltd

5 Stars For Time Management Course Robyn, in light of this morning's session (and comments about short emails!) I could leave it the..." Wilf Marley, Principal, Marley Loft Systems (Accountants)

Simple Practical Action Steps For Work Life Balance We've had great feedback since your last session with the NZ Institute of Charte..." Denise Bovaird, Past President, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

Improved Focus And Concentration After Time Management Course Since your time management course our managers have found that they ca..." John Moore, Then-HR Manager, International Cricket Council, Dubai

Jam-packed Personalised Seminar Very Effective   Robyn spoke to four of my Academy groups in the space of 11 days. I wa..." Barrie Barrett, Chairman, Academy for Chief Executives, United Kingdom

Awesome says Law Clerk, Bell Gully I just thought I'd spend a few minutes in the Proactive/Value-adding quadrant and let you know ho..." Law Clerk, Bell Gully, New Zealand

Excellent 'Management' Course, As Well As 'Time Management' I would like to extend a huge thank you for making your valuable time av..." David Greenslade, Managing Director, Strategi, New Zealand

We've Regained 30% Of The Time We Used to Lose! Since we worked with Robyn 5 months ago our team of 12 underwriters and support staf..." Senior Underwriter, QBE Insurance, New Zealand

Fantastic Course - Team Feedback Extremely Positive! Thanks very much for the Time Management programme you have conducted over the ..." Gareth McCulloch, National Sales Manager, Southern Hospitality Limited

 
Timely appointment scheduling system