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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Managing Your Work Habits

A guide to help you choose methods and tools for organizing your research and work in meaningful ways.


Email is a regular part of academic life and can be overwhelming when not effectively managed. Luckily, both Outlook and Google have built-in feature to help you stay on top of your inbox and use it to your advantage.. 


Outlook includes several features to help your organize your email.

  1. Flags - use the flagging feature to bring attention to items that require follow up and to create a to-do list within Outlook
  2. Folders - create folders and sub-folders for different projects, courses, and organizations and file all emails that do not need follow up into the proper folder
  3. Rules - set up rules for emails you receive regularly that automatically file them into the proper folder
  4. Assign Policy - set emails to expire and delete automatically after a period of time
  5. Categorize - use color codes to clearly label and identify emails


Gmail provides similar features to Outlook with slightly different names and functions.

  1. Mark as Important - Like flagging, this tells Gmail that the content of the email is important and should be prioritized in your inbox. Emailed that are marked as important are collected in a separate folder
  2. Star - Similar to flagging, using the Star feature indicates an email that needs to be follow up on, and these emails are collected in a separate folder
  3. Tags - Tags work like folders and can be used to group similar emails into categories
  4. Add to tasks - Create a to-do list base don items in your email
  5. Snooze - Hides the email for a certain period of your time and reappears in the inbox after the snooze time expires