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Mastering Outlook: Tips and Tricks to Maximize Efficiency

In a world that relies on digital communication and internet so heavily, Microsoft Outlook stands as the most popular email application. It’s a tool that independent agents spend a majority of their day using. Whether it’s emailing the underwriter information needed for a new or renewal policy, communicating with a client or prospect, working with vendors, contacting their Big I Association, the list goes on and on. There are numerous tools, shortcuts, capabilities within Outlook that everyone should take advantage of. Let’s explore! 1. Majority of Day Spent in Meetings? Color Code Your Calendar If you have an extremely busy calendar, 8+ meetings almost daily, color coding your calendar can be helpful. You may track internal meetings, client meetings and carrier visits in different colors. This way you can see at a glance what your schedule is like, know which meetings are easier to move/reschedule if needed and determine priority or importance. For more information, a help guide on color coding your calendar can be found here:

2. Use Quick Parts to Quickly Insert Templated Emails Quick Parts allows you to quickly insert bodies of text (or email templates) into a new email just by typing in a phrase and hitting ‘enter’. Maybe you have a template for when you send an Auto ID card to a client and save it as “Auto ID Card”. After adding the template to Quick Parts, all you do is type “Auto ID Card” in a new email, hit ‘enter’ and voila! The text is added. It is similar to using Email Signatures for templates but the difference being that Email Signatures can include added formatting and also only one signature can be added/used while multiple Quick Parts selections can be added to one email. For more information, a help guide for Quick Parts can be found here:

3. Delay Delivery of an Email Sometimes after you write an email, you send it write away and forget the attachment. Or maybe you remember a missing point the second after you click send. Instead of wishing there was an edit-undo button, delay the delivery of your email by 1 minute to avoid these “oops”. (This can be setup by going to File – Manage Rules & Alerts – New Rule – Appl y rule on messages I send – On this computer only – defer delivery by a number of minutes)

4. Take Advantage of the Outlook Task List to Clear Out Messages and Set Reminders While it’s common to your inbox to keep track of messages that need us to do something like sending a document, making a policy change, answering a coverage question, etc. While inboxes can get cluttered and messages may get buried, rely on the built-in to-do list so you don’t lose track of messages in your inbox. Just drag and drop the email on Outlook’s task list icon (clipboard with a checkmark in the bottom left), set a due date and add a reminder message, save the task. Friendly reminder – Outlook calendars should never take the place of an Agency Management System reminder/activity system.

5. Take Advantage of the Rules & Alerts Tool Rules & Alerts can be best used to help organize your incoming emails, receive mobile notifications or special sounds when you receive an email from a specific email address and so much more. Maybe you want to move all messages you receive where you are CC’d or BCC’d to a separate folder to avoid clutter. If the subject contains a certain word or phrase that can trigger a notification to your mobile device. If you want to customize a rule and automate a task based on a variety of conditions, explore Rules & Alerts.

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