How to Reduce Your Workplace Stress by Working Smarter with Microsoft Outlook

According to Forbes, quoting a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), 64% of employed adults experience work stress. Work stress typically arises from excessive job pressure due to poor control over workload, non-aligned abilities, and inadequate support from managers and colleagues. Because millions of employees use Microsoft Outlook as their primary communications platform, they can improve their productivity and reduce their stress by using the many features Outlook provides but remain unused due to lack of awareness:

Control Email Notifications

Your workplace productivity can go to the dogs seeing an endless stream of email notifications on your screen, even as you try to wrap up online meetings as fast as possible. These notifications can also distract you when you are rushing to meet an important deadline. To avoid the distraction of email notifications in Outlook, you can adjust the setting to receive notifications only for the emails you designate important.

Block Time to Do Focused Work 

Everyone knows meetings kill workplace productivity like nothing else, however, meetings keep happening throughout the day, and you will be lucky to find enough time in between them to do your work. Trying to focus on your work and accomplish something fruitful in-between meetings cannot be unproductive, frustrating, and a leading cause of workplace stress. You realize that after spending long hours in the office, you have hardly achieved anything, and the list of things you need to do has only increased. Even if you calculate that you had four hours not occupied by meetings, the time spread over small blocks was insufficient to complete the jobs and adhere to the deadlines. One way of getting yourself out of this hole is to block out the hours you need to do your core job in your Outlook Calendar. You can complete the work to your satisfaction without disturbance by meetings. The productivity increase will leave you feeling fulfilled and reduce your stress levels.

Filter CC Emails

Almost all of us receive many emails marked to us for information, not action. While these emails are important, they may not be something you need to accord priority. You can use a special CC folder in your Outlook Inbox to scoop up all the emails in which people have included you as a CC, leaving your Inbox only with emails addressed directly to you so you can address them promptly. You can earmark time once or twice daily to check the emails in the CC folder to keep yourself informed without wasting time.

Find Meeting Slots by Comparing Calendars 

Everyone knows the futility of trying to find a time slot that suits everyone required in an important meeting. The process can take a long time, wasting everyone’s time. When you are scheduling a meeting in Outlook by sharing calendars with office colleagues, you can find out everyone’s availability by checking the box next to each person required in the meeting you want to set up. These checkboxes appear in the column on the left hand of the calendar tab of Outlook. Setting up a meeting using the mobile Outlook app is similarly easy.

Focused Inbox

Inbox clutter is among the biggest reasons for killing productivity and causing stress. It is difficult to establish which emails are important and which you can safely ignore for the time being. One of the most effective ways to declutter your Outlook Inbox is to use Focused Inbox. You can sort your mail automatically into two different folders. The “Focused” folder contains the important emails, while the “Other” folder stores all the remaining emails, usually low-priority and junk. You can also manually move emails from one folder to the other by going to ‘Settings” and toggling on “Focused Inbox”. By reducing the clutter in your Inbox, you minimize the chances with Datanumen of corrupt PST files disrupting your work.

View Emails as Conversation

If you use MS Outlook as your office email client, you will exchange numerous emails on a particular subject with your contacts. While you can keep track of the emails by following the trail mail, often, emails with attachments may not show up consistently, requiring you to search for them manually. MS Outlook 2010 introduced a conversation view feature on the lines of Gmail to offer multiple emails displayed in a conversation view. Users can notice unread emails in the conversation view because they appear in bold. Moreover, the feature allows email distribution into separate but related chains when there are multiple responses for a particular message. You can clean up the conversations to keep your Inbox free of the clutter using the “Clean Up” option, which moves the specified emails in the conversation into the Deleted folder. You can also switch off the conversation view if you want. Additionally, you can sort the conversations by date or forward an entire conversation with a single click. You will also love the ‘Ignore” feature if you want to avoid receiving emails in your Inbox that do not concern you.

Delay Email Delivery

 While rapid advances in digital technology ensure we can remain in touch with other people round the clock, it also results in the boundaries between office hours and personal time blurring. You can compose an email but delay its transmission to prevent the email arriving in the recipient’s Inbox at a time you know will be inconvenient. After composing your email, you need to select ‘Delay Delivery” after going to ‘Options”. You should check the box titled ‘Do not deliver before” and choose the date and time for delivery. Once you make your selection, Outlook schedules the delivery as instructed.


Considering a large number of emails almost everyone receives daily, you need to stay on top of them to get things done efficiently and not let stress overcome you and creep into your relationships in the workplace and home. If you cannot separate your work from your personal life, you will likely feel emotionally drained and physically exhausted. The chances are you are only using a tiny fraction of MS Outlook capabilities. With every update Outlook has become better, enabling you to transform how you work and be more productive and stress-free. 

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