I'm always on the lookout for ways to simplify...and I'm an Outlook Power User - I'm addicted to Outlook and I use tons of folders - so the concept that life might be simpler without folders has occured to me often. I just haven't taken the time to figure out how to actually make it simpler. But now someone has. Or at least they seem to have.
ConNeXioNTM has made available a fairly extensive Tutorial on how to make this work. Here is an excerpt...with my comments in purple.
If any of the following rings a bell, this tutorial will simplify your life.
- This message relates to “Training” and “Expenses”…... better put a copy in each folder. (Guilty - I've often put one message in two folders.)
- I found the message but can’t remember my response? Now I have to search my sent messages! (All the time, but I do use Google Desktop Search for this so it's not toooo bad.)
- Let’s see, what’s a good folder name…………hmmmmm..……. *&%$# it! Throw it in “To Be Filed” and file it later. (No, haven't done this.)
- My folder list is HUGE! This is tougher to navigate than the emails!!
(This happens with ALL my folders. I have tons of folders and tons of files. Life without search would be miserable for me!)
- Can’t find it – quicker to rewrite it. (Ouch, haven't done this...so I guess I get to keep my organizer credentials, I CAN find my files, it may take a minute..but I can find them fairly quickly..)
- Folders, within folders, within folders…… (Of course!)
Even if you posses the admirable mental discipline to make a filing system work, if you can find it just as easy without filing it, why file it?
In this tutorial we’ll show you how to set up your email without folders and navigate it using the 2 most effective organization and search features of Outlook:
- Color your email. Color is a natural trigger to focus attention. Bright, bold colors draw the eye to what is important, and vice versa for dull colors. Learn how to automatically highlight messages from your Boss in RED, in BLUE for important messages sent only to you, or GREY out distribution lists or FYI’s.
- Sort – Don’t search! Although Google would beg to differ, once you get the hang of this it actually works better because it allows you to group things very quickly. Also, using the native Outlook search feature is painful at best. There are a number of tricks you’ll learn to make this easier than you thought possible, and it’s significantly more effective with all of your messages consolidated in one PST file, essentially one folder..
(I use Sort all the time...but don't even think about asking me not to use Search too.)
If you are into Outlook and open to new ideas...check this out...I'm thinking I'll give it a try after I get back from vacation in July. I'll need to be well rested to make a change like this. : ) Read more: Using Outlook Without Folders, Without Filing