Tag Archives: GTD

GTD – Using Microsoft Outlook to colour-code e-mails

I receive a lot of e-mail that is not sent directly to me. I work for a large company with thousands of employees – at least 50% of my inbox is made up of corporate “global all” type e-mail. Whilst it’s important to read these, I personally prefer to read’n’process the e-mail that are sent directly to me before I look at the global all items. To do this, I make use of Microsoft Outlook’s built-in formatting options such that mail sent directly to me appears in my inbox in light blue.

Here’s how we do this…choose the Tools menu followed by the Organise menu item:

Next, click on Using Colours. I already have e-mail that is sent to me and me only appear in blue, hence the option to turn it off is available. Assuming that you don’t have this option enabled, click on the Automatic Formatting button at the top right:

By default, Microsoft Outlook provides a handful of automatic formatting rules, one of them is “Mail sent directly to me”:

Outlook will do a pretty good job working out the conditions required to make this happen. For the sake of completeness though, click on the Condition… button to see for yourself:

As long as you have a tick beside the “Mail sent directly to me” rule, Outlook will colour-code your incoming e-mail:

This is yet another small and simple product feature that you may well have been aware of, however if it’s new to you, it could be of some use.

Other posts
GTD Action/Deferred/WaitingFor/Someday folders in Microsoft Outlook – Show Item Count
Making e-mail simpler and easier to handle: using Microsoft Outlook rules
Elementary GTD using Microsoft Outlook “move to folder”

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GTD Action/Deferred/WaitingFor/Someday folders in Microsoft Outlook – Show Item Count

Following on from my previous posts about using Microsoft Outlook for GTD (here and here), I’d like to mention a further tweak that we can make to Microsoft Outlook’s folder view control. Most of us probably have Microsoft Outlook display the number of unread items in each folder. However, for the GTD folders that I mentioned earlier, it’s likely that you will have read the items before they are filed in the GTD Action, Defer, Waiting For or Someday Maybe folders.

For these folders, I prefer to see the total number of items regardless of whether they have been read or not. Like a lot of things in Microsoft Outlook, the folder list is configurable. Right-clicking on a folder, then choosing Properties will allow us to configure the “total” that appears after the folder name.

This is a simple little tip, but one that might be of use to you if are are “rolling your own GTD” implementation.

Other posts
GTD Action/Deferred/WaitingFor/Someday folders in Microsoft Outlook – Show Item Count
Making e-mail simpler and easier to handle: using Microsoft Outlook rules
Elementary GTD using Microsoft Outlook “move to folder”

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