Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

Techie Tip of the Week: Automate Gmail Using Filters

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Last year, we talked about automating the handling of your email by setting up rules using Apple Mail, Outlook, and Stanford Email (Zimbra).

This week, since many are moving to Gmail (undergraduate students were migrated over the summer, and some departments have converted to Gmail), we thought we’d cover how to do a similar function in Gmail.

Filters are rules that you can set up that are applied you open your mail. For example, you can set up a rule to automatically shunt all email from your supervisor into a special label. Or suppose you want all email from your favorite email distribution list to be starred automatically. Or automatically archive or delete email messages. Filters can do that automatically for you!

To set up a filter in Gmail:

  1. Click the Gear icon (located in the upper right corner of the Gmail window) and select Settings.
  2. Click Filters.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of your screen and click Create a new filter.
  4. Enter your filter conditions and criteria.For example, to create a filter to isolate all of the email from your boss, put the boss’s email address in the From field.Or to filter out all the email messages in your account with the word  “widget”, enter “widget” in the Has the words field.

    Then, click Create filter with this search.

  5. Select the desired action.To have the filter also use email that is currently in your Inbox (as opposed to just email that will come in after you create the filter), click Also apply filter to matching conversations.For example, to have messages that meet the criteria chosen in step 4 be automatically starred, the label boss applied to them, and automatically marked as important, check the appropriate checkbox.
  6. Click Create filter to finalize the filter.

 

Techie Tip of the Week: Automate Your Email With Rules/Filters

Friday, June 24th, 2011

In most modern email programs, you can automate the handling of your email by setting up rules (sometimes rules are called “filters”) that are applied you open your mail. For example, you can set up a rule to automatically shunt all email from your supervisor into a special folder/mailbox. Or suppose you want all email from your favorite email distribution list to be color-coded automatically. Rules/filters can do that automatically for you!

To set up a rule in Apple Mail:

  1. In Apple Mail, on the Mail menu, click Preferences.
  2. Click Rules.
  3. Click Add Rule
  4. In the Description field, enter a name for the rule.
  5. Define the conditions for the rule (e.g., if the email matches my supervisor’s email).
  6. Define the actions for the rule (e.g., move message to a mailbox I’ve set up to hold my supervisor’s email).
  7. Click OK.

To set up a rule in Outlook:

  1. In Outlook 2003 and 2007, on the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts. In Outlook 2010, click the File tab, and then click Manage Rules and Alerts.
  2. Click New Rule.
  3. In the section Start from a blank rule, select Check messages when they arrive. Then, click Next.
  4. In Step 1, check the desired condition (e.g., Move messages from someone to a folder).
  5. In Step 2, click the blue, underlined links and provide the appropriate information (e.g., if the blue link is “people or public group”, I might enter my supervisor’s email address; if the blue link is “specified folder”, I might select the folder I’ve set up to hold my supervisor’s email).
  6. Click Next.
  7. Select any desired exceptions and then click Next again.
  8. Check the Run this rule now on messages already in “Inbox” and Turn on this rule boxes.
  9. Click Finish, and then click OK.

To set up a filter in Stanford Email (Webmail):

  1. Click the Preferences tab.
  2. Click the Mail Filters tab, and then click New Filter.
  3. In the Filter Name field, enter a name for the filter.
  4. In the first pull-down menu, select the desired header for the filter (e.g., From).
  5. In the second pull-down menu, select the desired condition (e.g., contains).
  6. In the text field, enter the desired condition (e.g., my supervisor’s email address).
  7. In the Perform the following actions area, in the pull-down menu, select the desired action (e.g., File into folder, and then select the folder I’ve set up to hold my supervisor’s email).
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click the Mail button to return to your Inbox.

Techie Tip of the Week — focus on tasks for 40 minutes without distraction

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Are you constantly interrupted at work by email, IM, and your co-workers? This week’s Techie Tip comes from Pierre Khawand, author of “The Accomplishing More With Less Workbook”, who explains how to get better results by focusing on the task at hand for at least forty minutes without distraction.

>>Pierre Khawand: My name is Pierre Khawand, author of “The Accomplishing More with Less Workbook”, and today I’d like to talk to you about 40 minute focus for breakthrough results. I’d like to show you how our results change with time when we are working on a task. If this is the results axis and this is the time axis, when I start to work on a task I start to get some results and if I continue to work I get more results and more results but at some point this is going to level off and then diminish. Now this can happen for a number of reasons, maybe I did what I could and now I need someone else to do their part or maybe I get tired and now I’m not productive anymore or maybe I’m done with the task. Now this is all good in theory. Does this really happen in reality? What happens after a few minutes? After a few minutes I get interrupted and this can be email, the email beep and I can’t resist that temptation or maybe someone stops by. Now my results go down to zero and then when I start again and start to make some progress, I get interrupted again. And this time there may be instant messaging or maybe my boss calling and then my results go to zero again. And this happens again and again. What am I describing here? This is our life. Now let’s stop and talk about the implications of working this way. So first of all if we take a look at these results that I’m getting right here, this is only a small fraction, maybe 5% to 10% of the total results that I could be getting if I were to stay focused, not only this but when I’m working a few minutes here and a few minutes there I’m basically staying at the superficial level and not getting deep into anything. So the point is we need to stay focused long enough until we reach this area right here which we call the accomplishment zone. This is where in-depth thinking takes place. This is where creative problem solving takes place. This is where we get meaningful accomplishments. Now the question is how long is long enough? Well this depends on the task. For some tasks this may be 15 minutes, others may be 30 minutes or maybe several hours. I’d like to suggest 40 minutes as a default guideline and then after the 40 minutes I’d like to stop and recommend that we switch and become collaborative. This means handling email, talking to people, handling phone calls, whatever it takes and then stop again and now take a break and get re-energized and ready for the next focus session. Great accomplishments don’t come from working a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Great accomplishments come from focused and purposeful effort. background music So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started. It only takes 40 minutes. music noise

And for more tips like these, join us in one of the related upcoming IT Services courses: