Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fixing Unrelated Email Subjects

I'd dedicated today to clean my Inbox, after a week and half of vacation (and two weeks of travel before that), I figured it was a pretty ambitious goal to get done in one day. As I was wading through the clutter, trying to get rid of the stuff I didn't need to read and evaluating questionable emails (a new system I'm trying - delete stuff where the subject doesn't seem relevant to me first, then evaluate emails with questionable subjects to narrow down my focus to the stuff that really needs my got a better idea?), I came across a few of the dreaded "replied to" emails where the content is completely separate from the title in the subject.

Now, I know, I've struggled with the for ages. I've tried to teach people not to do this. I've preached about this in countless presentations. I've replied just to change the subject line. But that still hasn't helped me when I'm managing my own emails. Today, I realized that I have the power to keep emails in my inbox subject-related. Maybe you've figured this out long ago and I'm just slow to catch on, but in the off chance that you haven't here's what you can do...

Change the subject for emails you've received where the subject and the actual content don't match.

Sounds too easy to be true, right? Well, maybe that's why I never thought you could do it. Or maybe it couldn't be done in Outlook 2003 but it can be in Outlook 2007. Whatever - you should try it, if it works, great! If not, you're back on your own.

In Outlook 2007, even though the subject of the email isn't highlighted or given any indication that its an editable field, it is. When you open an email you've received, you can click on the subject line and then enter whatever text you want. Lets face it, if people are going to change, at least they don't have to drag you down in chaos with them. We can rise above it and keep ourselves organized and focused. Yea us.

Then just close the message and Outlook will prompt you with a warning - do you want to save these changes? Damn right I do! I'm right, I'm always right - when will everyone else realize that?

Ta-da! Now the email that was previously (and erroneously) subjected is now on-topic and sensible. I'm in heaven! Join me on Cloud 9!

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