Outlook on my PC and Phone and Keeping Organized

This message has nothing to do with Silverlight  Feel free to skip it.

I have been struggling since I joined Microsoft to ensure that

  • I don’t miss any messages that are important
  • I spend less time managing my 600+ daily emails *
  • I file everything away in case I need it later
  • I can find things quickly

(* I archive frequently, and read feverishly, but a quick search found 2300 unread emails as I wrote this).

This is made much more complicated because I look at my email through three views: on my desktop, via the web (rare) and via my phone (frequent).  Set aside the web; when I’m looking via my desktop I don’t mind if new messages show up in a folder, and folders help keep me organized.

FuzeMy new phone is the AT&T Fuze which I’m coming to love.  but like the Dash before it, it is designed  to strongly favor the inbox. It will synchronize with any folders I want, but the tilt towards the inbox is strong enough that messages elsewhere are easy to miss.



(NB: I don’t use the "touch flow" interface shown here)



Solving All My Outlook Issues At Once

I have tried various solutions, but I’ve finally hit on one I really like, and I thought I’d write it up briefly in case it might simplify your life.  The key, or me, is to

  1. make sure that everything I care to see goes to my inbox
  2. I don’t have to file (nearly) anything
  3. Things I don’t need to see do not go to my inbox.

This is all accomplished with a couple very simple rules.  First, I created a category called "Filed"  Then, for nearly every person or group that I care to see, I created a rule that told Outlook to make a copy of the message and file it on arrival and to mark the original (in the inbox) as in the category filed.  Thus, when looking at my inbox, I see this:


As you can see, all but one of the messages is already marked filed. I can then tick through the messages, deleting them as I read them, knowing that they are already filed away where I want them.

(I could use different categories rather than just "filed" to indicate where they are filed, but since I have a couple hundred folders that would get tricky).

Most important, since all the messages now go to the inbox (and are not "moved" by a rule but rather copied) I know I’m seeing them on the phone.

Here are my basic rules:

Anything I want to see:


Anything I want to file but don’t want to see



About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty is an independent consultant and programmer with three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects. He is the author of 2 dozen books and multiple Pluralsight courses, and has been a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP, Microsoft MVP and Telerik MVP.
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