productivity tip

Use Rules to Automatically Sort Emails and Stop Receiving Irrelevant Emails

Unfortunately, not all emails in the workplace come with an unsubscribe link. Day after day, emails arrive in your inbox that are just a distraction. Some common examples include:

  • Automatic Notifications: If you’re assigned to a team on one of the platforms you use at work—such as customer relationship management (CRM) software—that platform may send an email every time a change is made in the system.
  • "Fun" Emails: Sometimes a team leader or department will send daily/weekly emails with trivia, memes, or jokes designed to make work feel more fun.
  • Threads You Shouldn’t Have Been Included On: Occasionally, someone will send a mass email that gets dozens of replies—none of which have anything to do with you or your job. These emails keep you from focusing on your important work. Use Outlook’s rules function to skip the inbox and send those emails straight to the trash—or to another folder for review. You can also use Outlook rules to automatically sort incoming emails to the appropriate folder, such as always sending emails that are from your boss with a certain subject line to the To-Do folder and emails from a newsletter you regularly read to the Someday folder.
  • Right-click the email, hover over "Rules," and select "Create Rule."
  1. Choose the criteria for the rule:
  • "From [Sender]" will execute the rule any time you receive an email from a specific email address or contact.
  • "Subject contains" will execute the rule any time a specified subject line is used.
  1. Select what happens when the rule runs. To sort emails out of your inbox and into the appropriate folder, check "Move the item to folder," and select the folder where you want the emails to be sent. You can choose the "Deleted Items" folder if you never want to see them, or you can create a separate archive folder if you may need to review the emails in the future. Click "OK" to apply the rule. Want to prevent getting future emails on a specific thread? In that case, instead of creating a rule, you can just use Outlook's ignore function. Right-click the email, select "Ignore," and confirm the action. Ignore automatically sends future replies to that thread to your "Deleted Items" folder so you don’t receive them in your inbox.