This weekend I’m going to be teaching a small group session at the Type-A Conference on time management. Over my last four years as a work-at-home mom, I have been forced to create a variety of strategies to complete my work effectively and efficiently not only so that I am no longer working on my laptop in bed at two in the morning, but also so that I have more time to do the things I love. In fact, the point of the session I am leading is to help other bloggers and social media parents find hidden time in the tasks that they already do so that they can spend more time with their families.
While it’s true that there are only 24 hours in the day no matter what you do, it is also true that we can gain back lost time by employing existing tools to work for us. I wanted to give you a sneak peek of some of the tips I will be sharing this Friday, and today I’m going to focus on email.
Hotmail Sweep: Just about everyone I know has a Hotmail address that they may or may not still be using, but how many of you are aware of the Sweep feature in Hotmail? When I discovered this tool I actually found myself getting a little giddy because there is nothing I love more than doing something once and having it then be completed for me with no thought from me moving forward.
The first way that I love using Sweep is to pull all emails from one client into one folder. You can create the folder, find all of your existing emails from that client and place them in that folder, and then set the Sweep feature to place all FUTURE messages (no really!) automatically into that folder so they will never be lost in your giant stack of unread emails again.
You can also use Hotmail’s Sweep feature to get rid of all of the email at once from an account that frequently spams you (hello, press releases from lists that have no unsubscribe option!) and then again, set it to automatically delete any email from that account moving forward. I’m not advocating that you use this feature for in-laws or ex-boyfriends, but that’s certainly feasible with this time-saving tool. You know, if you find that deleting those emails is time-consuming…
Do you subscribe to email alerts that you find yourself cleaning up every week, two weeks, or thirty days such as Groupon deals? You can use the Hotmail Sweep feature to automatically clean out those emails in set intervals. It’s like groceries automatically arriving at your home once a week or your kids actually cleaning their rooms without you having to fight with them. Can you imagine the time you’d have if Hotmail could do that?
I know that I’ve been singing the praises of Hotmail’s Sweep feature, but don’t dismiss the power of the flag. While I tend to flag emails just to catch my eye when I am scrolling through my inbox, you can also set your Hotmail so that the flagged emails always appear at the top of your inbox. No more searching through your entire in folder to find those important emails!
Finally, my biggest piece of time saving email advice is to institute and keep a one touch rule. Do not open emails without dealing with them, whether that is responding to, flagging for future reference, placing in a folder, or deleting them. The time that we waste avoiding replying to email is valuable! Just open, execute, and get on with your day.
Now…what are you going to do with your new free time?
This post was sponsored by Microsoft Windows who is graciously covering the costs of my conference related expenses and who has provided me with a laptop for use during my year as a Windows Champion. All opinions, mothers-in-law and ex-boyfriends are my own.