The “Next” e-mail

If you are a manager like me, Outlook is your most frequently used program [followed by Excel. Excel is not a focus here.]

Outlook is an old interface. Very few changes have happened to Outlook interface. So you see a lot of ideas here that relate to Outlook.

I receive hundreds of mails in a day. Naturally one develops strategies to cope with this kind of traffic. If you read this blog carefully, you’d bet that sorting is my favorite way of organizing data.

[Filters are handy too. However, filters are useful only for non-participatory threads. With dozens of projects and products demanding attention, often one misses important mails because they are auto-filed by filters.]

Here is approximately how I go about addressing my daily flood of mails –

  • I read the top mail of the bunch
  • If it doesn’t demand my attention, I sort my Inbox by Subject and mark the whole thread as “Read” and file it in appropriate folder
  • Else, if it demands my attention, I go down the thread and then take appropriate action
  • Next mail

So far, so good.

However, this is a terribly inefficient way of reading mails.

At times, I need to go to the “Next Sender”, “Next time”, “Next topic” and so on.

Outlook provides just “Next by the current sorting order” button.

Why can’t the “Next” button be broken up for common fields?

Are Thunderbird / Zimbra guys listening?


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