Many users have this habit and it is counterproductive. The idea is that you create many rules to divert incoming mail into multiple folders – by the sender. Here is why you should NOT do it.
The immediate side effect of creating sender specific rules is that the space available for storing rules is quickly consumed. You can no longer create more rules. This problem was more common with older versions of Outlook.
Tech Talk: The space originally allocated for storing rules was 32KB. It may sound weird but there was a technical reason for it. That was the maximum size of an RPC packet. By limiting the size of the rules storage, the transport performance was optimized. In the newer versions of Exchange, this limit no longer exists.
Unfortunately, this rule is predefined by Outlook –
making it even easier to misuse it.
Then you end up with too many folders…
What is wrong with creating sender specific rules?
This approach was probably good in early days where few people used to send us mail. Now the number of people communicating with you has increased dramatically. It is impractical to have a folder for each common sender.
More importantly, there is a fundamental problem here. As you know, Inbox Rule gets applied as soon as the mail arrives in the inbox. This rule MOVES the mail to a completely different folder.
Most of us focus on Inbox first. And now you don’t have these type of mails in the Inbox. This forces you to go to multiple folders in search of mails which require your attention… That means you will have to waste more time just to find what is pending.
Unfortunately, we don’t even get enough time to finish all pending mails in inbox itself. We are complicating that issue by forcing ourselves to divide the attention across multiple folders.
What are the alternatives?
If you really want to know mails coming from a particular person, you can create a search folder. Read Live search in Outlook for more details.
Like Excel, Outlook also provides conditional formatting. It is like creating a rule with only ONE possible action – formatting. Using this, you can color code mails by person or use different fonts and formatting.
However, if you put too many rules, the inbox is going to look very funny and jarring.
Handle mails by priority
Every mail received from one of these special senders is not important. You must respond to important mails first. How is this done? Read this article How to identify important mails automatically?
The new approach
There is a series of articles on Outlook which you can benefit from. Read these as well.
- The Outlook paradox: Are you helping others at the cost of your own work? : 2 Feb 14
- Tasks folder is your best friend! : 3 Feb 14
- Never delegate work using email: Use Outlook Tasks : 4 Feb 14
- DO NOT flag mails for follow up. There is a better way… : 4 Feb 14
- Arrange meetings with yourself = Time Management
- How NOT to handle Inbox : 6 Feb 14
- Stop New Mail popup interruptions : 7 Feb 14
- How to identify important mails automatically? : 8 Feb 14
- A new outlook towards Outlook!