The 80/20 rule is ruthless. It operates as much in our inbox as it does in every other aspect of life. Given that not all emails are created equal, lets delegate the grunt work of initial sorting of emails for us to Outlook itself. Here’s how:

Before we get to the mechanics of rule creation a question: Why not let me know your thoughts on this in the comments section below. What else do you do to manage your inbox as opposed to have it manage you?

I would strongly suggest that any emails you have subjected to Rules that you will need to see, you create a numbered subfolder for. This way they appear immediately under your Inbox in your Folder List. Obviously any non mission critical mails and distribution list driven ‘Info fodder’ you create a rule for will go to a ‘Snooze/ Snore’ type folder (I call mine ‘ZZZZZZ’ and only check it in low energy time)

My current ruled subfolders are:
01 – From specific key people (Very select! Some people find it useful for their Boss, for example)
02 – From Spinvox (the service I use to send myself action memos when away from my desk)
03 – CC mails (where I am CCd – and which I interrogate only twice a day max, once usually)
04 and beyond – Current Key Projects/initiatives – Where I am collaborating with others on specific projects. We all agree to use a specific code in the subject line and filter our mails accordingly.

For a little on philosophy and purpose check out:
How to regain control of your In-box

Now for the mechanics:
In your Inbox folder go to the top toolbar.
Hit ‘Tools’ and select ‘Rules and Alerts’
In the ‘Email Rules’ tab hit the ‘New Rule’ button
In the Rules Wizard select ‘Start from a Blank rule’
The objective now is to build the rule in the bottom box with options from the top box. Select the element in the top box by checking the appropriate line and then by giving appropriate values to any text that is blue and underlined in the bottom box. You move from condition to condition in building the rule by hitting the ‘Next’ button. Finally hit ‘Finish’.
The final step is to choose whether to just activate the rule on new stuff or run the rule on all existing emails in your inbox.

Of course, you can always contact us directly to tailor a support programme to your needs