Making Email Work for You

Email is a concise, efficient method of communicating information.  However, for many pastors and church leaders, email can become frustrating.  Every few minutes your computer dings at you, and you lose focus.

Dave Nelson, one of my mentors, told me “Manage the store, don’t let the store manage you.”  We have a vision, a strategy, a purpose.  But daily interruptions often override work that will drive the vision forward, and we let ourselves be managed by them.  Email has had that effect on me more than once.  We have to learn to use email to our advantage.

I use Outlook to manage my email and have for several years.  But I just learned a great new trick.  Outlook will automatically sort your messages as they arrive, you just have to give it some direction!  It is simple:

  1. Click on Rules on the top ribbon
  2. Click on Create Rule
  3. Choose what conditions Outlook should act on (sender, subject, etc.).
  4. Choose what action Outlook should take (move the message, alert you, etc.)
  5. Click OK

Outlook will sort messages for you so that you know which ones need your attention right away and which need your attention later or when you have time.

If you arrange things well, this trick will save you the time to sort your messages, the time lost as you move back and forth from email to tasks, and the time reading messages that you could read later.  That is a lot of time that you can then spend with people, creating, developing your skills, or walking with God.

Do you have other email optimization tips we could all learn from?

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