Sometimes we get mail that requires a follow up, a reply, or some work to be done. If you are the right person to do it, fine. Then you can flag it for follow up, or create a task for yourself. However, many times you are not the right person to do it. It may be better to delegate this to one in your team, or some other in the organization. How do we normally delegate tasks? We forward the mail to them of course. Still you feel responsible for it, and want to make sure it is done.
What most People now do they keep the original mail in their Inbox and say to themselves “I must remember to follow up on this next week to make sure it is done”. If this is Monday, you will now see this mail everytime you browse Your Inbox for the next five days, many times every day. What if you have several mails to follow up? It is not very efficient and it will take up brain cycles every time you pass those mails in Your Inbox.
Here are 3 ways to follow up:
- You can flag it for the receiver so that the person you delegate it to gets a reminder at a certain time. (Follow up – Add a reminder – Flag for recipients). It is a common way to do it in an organization I know well. Then you can delete the mail from Your Inbox. But you don’t really know if he or she will do it anyway. The reminder may easily drown between othe rreminders. Also, if you havent agreed to do this with other perople it can be seen as a bit rude .
- There is a very easy way to flag the mail for follow up by yourself at a later stage without letting the receiver know it. Just use the Forward button, write your comments to the receiver, and then before you send it, add a Follow up flag for yourself like showed below.
Now send the mail, and delete or archive the mail in Your Inbox. It is the mail you are forwarding you want to follow up, not the mail you got. You will now see the forwarded mail at the time you chose together with other flagged mail and tasks in your task list. You can now check with the person you delegated to in a polite way 🙂 and give a friendly reminder if you haven’t got a confirmation that the task you delegated is done.
3. Take the easy way out 🙂 Forward the mail, and enter the original sender on the cc: line to let them know you have delegated their request.