A few weeks ago, March held a Microsoft Outlook training session led by our own Meredith L. Eaton (@MeredithLEaton). As March’s resident organization guru, Meredith provided numerous takeaways that are particularly helpful for tech PR pros, as speed and efficiency are necessary in any agency setting. Here are the top three tips I learned to optimize and organize my Outlook:
1. Create Folders Within Your Inbox
Life at a PR agency involves wearing many hats across multiple client teams. Creating folders for each account can help you control the chaos and simplify your daily actions. You can also create subfolders for different aspects of each account, such as content, media relations, and the like. Segmenting your inbox into folders will not only help with long-term organization, but it will also help you track daily tasks. Your inbox can even function as your to-do list if you wait to file emails until you have read and completed them.
2. Flagging Deadlines to Prioritize Tasks
Task prioritization in Outlook can also help you automate your to-do list. This can be done in a number of ways. For one, emails with deadlines can be flagged for future follow up. You can flag deadlines by simply right-clicking an email and selecting a follow-up time: today, tomorrow, next week, or a custom date. This creates a to-do list on the right-hand column of your Outlook. Outlook sorts by deadline, and turn red when they are overdue. You can also add your own to-dos and deadlines to your task bar even if they aren’t in an email.
3. Drafting Emails
Drafting emails before it’s time to send them is yet another way to prioritize your tasks. This is especially useful when it comes to media relations. One example could be following up with journalists. By drafting a follow-up email before it’s actually time to follow up, you are both reminding yourself to send the email later and saving yourself time in the long-run. Another case could be if a journalist is out of the office for a period of time, and you need to remember to follow up when they return.
Obviously, there are endless tools in Outlook that can make your day-to-day easier. Whether in your email, task bar, or calendar, find the tricks that work best for you.