How often do you get an email, and then one more, handing you the attachment, or correcting a date or re-phrasing a sentence? This can be fixed on the sender side, by delaying the send process and thus get a small time buffer in Outlook.
Emails with Outlook and Exchange are still default in business life. An email is quickly sent, and often sent too quickly. So an attachment you wanted to pass is missing. Or you mis-typed a fact. Usually you recognize right after sending, slapping on your forehead and saying “Geez, this is how it should have been,” but now Outlook already sent out the email.
It is not just on terms like embarrassing, albeit it being possibly true when taking a wrong phrasing and recognizing, but usually it’s inaccuracies. Happens to me, too. And it is on not wanting to hassle the receiver with two emails when one suffices. This has to do with professionalism.
Email is an asynchronous media. This means that no real time communication is taking place, but rather a postcard or a letter: the receiver reads when she has time to. Therefore it does not matter if your email arrives some minutes earlier or later.
We should have a possibility to send an email not immediately, but let it rest some minutes in the outbox so that we can still modify it if necessary. That is possible, Outlook can do.
Create a rule in Outlook: Delay send for all messages
Microsoft Outlook knows processing rules. This means that Outlook can automatically do things when certain preconditions are true. You do not need to program, it is just a few clicks.
Rules in Outlook are exactly the means helping us solve the problem with the immediate sending of emails.
Microsoft describes the necessary steps in their help page Delay the delivery of all messages. The text is quite good, so here is my video of the rule setup.
Sometimes I still want to send an email immediately, for example when I reply to a colleague with an information bit that she should receive right now – acknowledging that I should rather use an instant messenger like Skype. Or I want to send an email before leaving the office and cannot wait three more minutes before it leaves my laptop.
So I define an exception as also described in the video. The Outlook rule for delayed sending is not applied if my email contains the text
(.) in the body of the message. The string I chose because I never use in normal writing, and it does not appear in any programming language I know or use. So if I want my email to go out immediately, I add
(.) below my signature. It does not draw attention, is no superfluous word.
Procedure in reading
If you do not want to watch the video, please read on. The text is freely adapted from Microsoft, with my modifications:
- Click File, then Manage Rules & Alerts.
- Click New Rule.
- In the Step 1: Select a template box, under Start from a Blank Rule, click Apply rule on messages I send, and then click Next.
- In the Step 1: Select condition(s) list, do not select anything but click Next and confirm the question with Yes.
- In the Step 1: Select action(s) list, select the defer delivery by a number of minutes check box.
- In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase a number of and enter the number of minutes for which you want the messages to be held before it is sent. I choose 3 minutes, which usually suffices.
- Click OK, and then click Next.
- Select the check boxes for the exception except if the body contains specific words.
- In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase specific words and enter the keyword. I use
(.), since it does not stand out in text and never appears for no reason.
- Click Add, then OK and then Next.
- In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule box, type a name for the rule. I use Send Delay.
- Select the Turn on this rule check box.
- Click Finish and confirm the notification.
From now on after clicking on Send with an email or appointment, those will stay in our outbox for the given amount of numbers, and you can modify it there.
Outlook is a tool
As always: If your main working tool is a software named Microsoft Outlook, it pays off to devote yourself to it a bit more intensely. That helps everyone: yourself, your colleagues, your business contacts, your business.