[Email Tip] Don’t Send Stupid Stuff

Oh no! I can’t believe I forgot to attach the file I spent so much time describing in that email. Guess I’ll have to send a follow-up “here is the file…” email.

Ever happened to you? Ever sent an email and forgot to include a team member? Or, send a message and leave out a key piece of information? How about sending a meeting invitation with the same details missing? Worse yet, after hitting send, realizing that you’ve sent that invitation to the wrong group of people? If you’ve done these things you are not alone.  I am with you.

Being a technical project manager at Rackspace, I am constantly looking for ways to improve everyday things. If I can fix the small things that annoy and frustrate me, I can get back a few minutes each day and spend that time on what matters most. For example, the act of not attaching a file wastes a lot of time. For example, let’s say I send an email without an attachment on Monday morning. Monday afternoon I get a reply saying I left off the attachment. I then resend the attachment. My recipient gets it later that afternoon or evening. So instead of getting the email and reading the attachment mid-day Monday and dealing with it, we are now dealing with it on Tuesday. Imagine if I sent that email without the attachment the day before my month long vacation.

The bottom line is that it wastes time.  In a fast-paced environment, this creates a bottleneck.

To avoid that bottleneck, I devised a quick solution. It is as simple as delay sending. When I hit send, the email sits in the outbox for a preset amount of time before actually taking off. This short period of time helped me catch countless mistakes and leads to a better experience for those who receive my emails.

Here’s how to set up delay sending in Outlook 2007:

  1. Select Tools > Rules and Alerts
  2. Select New Rule
  3. Select “Check messages after sending” > Next
  4. Check “on this machine only” > Next
  5. Check “defer delivery by a number of minutes” and Select “a number of” and set your delay (mine is set at 3 minutes) > Next
  6. Finish



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