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How to be More Productive on Outlook

If you’re anything like me, you probably spend on average around 40 hours a week on Outlook, for both business and personal use. I found I was wasting a lot of time being a ‘busy fool’ so I’ve put together some tips to help you be more productive and make the software a more powerful tool.

Microsoft’s Outlook is the email and calendar application of choice for millions of people around the globe, However, I doubt you are using its functions to its full potential. We are all learning every day, and it’s fun when we learn together.

To Do Lists

One of the best ways to keep on top of your work is by using a task management tool. Microsoft’s To Do is an excellent example, it allows you to create and manage daily tasks across all your devices.
Integration with Outlook, means you can easily view, add and complete task on your to-do list within the email app.


If you’re anything like me, and you have tons and tons of emails. It can be overwhelming navigating and managing mails, contacts, calendars and To Do lists. Using Outlook Folders is the key.
To create a folder, simply click “new folder” in the “folders” section of the left side of Outlook. And, away you go! Now all you got to do is populate the emails in the correct folders and hey presto! You now know where everything belongs which will save you time from searching.

Focus email

Another great way to declutter your emails is by using the focused email tab which essentially sorts your emails into two folders. It automatically stores important emails in “Focused”, whereas junk mail is saved in “Other”.


If you have lots of individuals included in an email. And you need that one particular person to respond, just mention their name in an email (e.g. @Jimmy). It becomes highlighted and will also be added to the “To” line of an email or meeting invite.

Time Zone

Hopefully when lockdown is over. And we can all travel far and wide. Make sure your outlook knows where you are. Your meetings and calendar entries won't display the correct time and it can cause a lot of confusion. To fix this, you’ll need to change your time zone by heading to File > Options > Calendar. Once you’ve done that, your emails and calendars will have the correct local time.

Short keys

  • Here are some short keys I use to make my day to day life that little bit easier. Don’t worry, you will soon get use to them.
    Ctrl + Shift + M to write a new email
  • Ctrl + Shift + Enter to send an email
  • Ctrl + Shift + Q to create a meeting
  • Ctrl + Shift + C to add a contact
  • Ctrl + 2 to open your calendar


For sending important and sensitive information, you can set up encryption for emails and attachments. This means that the recipient will only be able to access them using a security key.
When creating an email, go on to Trust Centre Settings and select Email Security.

I hope you picked out at least one gem from that! If there’s anything you like me to go over, please feel free to contact me directly and ask away.
For now, stay safe and #keepIT4th

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Post by Vishal Mistry

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