Working smarter: setting up Rules in Outlook. AKA How have I only just learnt how to do this?!

Have you ever returned from holiday to find thousands of unread emails in your inbox? Of course you have.

Well I recently learned about a useful tool to help with that: Setting up Rules in Outlook. I am very sure the majority of Outlook users will already be aware of it, but I wasn’t, and in the interest of aiming my blog at ‘1 Year Ago Me’, I am sharing. I’m a bit embarrassed it’s taken so long to discover this feature!

Rules are a way to siphon emails into folders instead of them all landing in your inbox. I currently have several set up: one to move emails from one of the mailing lists I am subscribed to, which tend to fill up my inbox with less relevant messages, for example. I have journal table of contents alerts which now automatically arrive to particular current awareness service folders.

I still get notified, as the folder name turns bold and the number of new items is displayed next to it (you might get a New Item Alert Window pop up, I don’t know, I turned them off a long time ago!).

To set up a rule: In the Home tab, click the Rules button, and Create Rule. It’s simple enough to set up a rule, and there are Advanced Options for more complicated ones. E.g siphoning emails where you are CC’d.

Outlook rule optionsI wish I had known how to do this in my previous job, where my inbox was completely unmanageable, and inbox zero was like a fairy tale. It’s a useful trick to help me work smarter, especially useful as I’m taking on responsibility for sending more current awareness bulletins in future.

Next time you feel your email clogging up, take a look at what Rule options you could use to tidy up.