I get a real buzz when people send me their own practical productivity tips. Francis Clauson over at EMC, who did one of our training programme last year just sent me an email with this one, which I have implemented immediately. I recommend this tip to you wholeheartedly. By the way, what ones work for you? – let me know in the Comments area below!

He has come up with a way of seeing the age of an email in one column without the clutter of arranging them in Date Groups [Inbox folder > View > Arrange By > Select ‘Date’ plus select ‘Show in Groups’].

I have a numbered subfolder in my inbox called ‘05 Faff!’ Where I put the mails I can not make an instant Decision on my 4 options – sometimes because I want to do everything and can’t let go of an opportunity – and sometimes because I’m not brave enough to decide now! I have now built Francis’ column into this and a number of other folders where I think it is important to get an instant ‘aged analysis’.

How to create a column in any email folder to show the age of your emails:

1. Go to the email folder / subfolder where you want to use this age view
2. Right-Click on any of the column headers in your current view
3. Click ‘Customise Current View’
4. Click on the ‘Fields’ button and, in the ‘Show Fields’ dialogue click on ‘New Field’
5. Give your new field a name – I call mine ‘Age’
6. In the ‘Type’ dialogue area click on the arrow to the right and select ‘Formula’
7. In the ‘Formula’ dialogue area type this formula – “int(now()-[Received])” then OK
8. Now all you need to do is find the field you have created and implement it.
9. Repeat steps 1 to 3, click on ‘Fields’ and in the top box change the view from ‘Frequently Used Fields’ to ‘User Defined Fields’
10. You will now see your new ‘Age’ field – add it and place it where you want in the right panel of the ‘Show Fields’ dialogue box. I have mine 3rd on the list , after the Icon and Attachment columns so it is not confused by the numbers in the date columns on the right. Click OK twice to exit and you will see your new field.

How to apply a Custom Folder View to other Outlook folders

If you want to apply this view to all your Email folders and subfolders all you have to do is:
1. Make sure your advanced toolbar is active, as well as your standard (Right click on an empty space in your toolbar and click ‘Advanced’)
2. In the ‘Current View’ descriptor (it will probably show ‘Messages’), simply click inside it and type a new name – I call mine ‘My View’ – and hit ‘Enter’.
3. Outlook then asks what folders you want this view available in – I chose ‘All Mail and Post Folders’
4. You can revert to the defaults in any folder by simply changing the ‘Current View descriptor.

This is probably the most ‘Technical’ tip I have blogged on. If you are looking for a simple, practical and durable framework to manage your demanding workload and results just contact me. I promise we will deliver ‘Results Worth Talking About’