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Trying to recall an email mistake? Try Outlook's delay delivery to avoid the pain and embarassment

Using outlook's delay delivery: A simple solution to prevent email mistakes and avoid recalls

We've all been there: the panic that sets in moments after you've hit "Send" on an email that wasn't ready to go out. You hit the send button a tad too soon, only to realise moments later that it was sent to the wrong person or lacked crucial information. Or worse, it was riddled with typos. Now you have to craft an apologetic follow-up email, a potentially awkward situation that could have been avoided and needed to recall it? 

In reality, once an email is sent, it's out there. Recalling an email is often not possible and, even when it is, it may already have been read by the recipient, defeating the purpose. Attempts to recall it will probably only draw more attention and increased scrutiny. 

Fortunately, there's a solution to avoid such panic-inducing moments and maintain the professionalism of your communication: setting a delay on all outgoing emails. This safety feature, available in Microsoft Outlook, provides you with a window of opportunity to correct or even stop an email before it's sent out. 

In this blog post, we'll guide you step-by-step on how to implement this time-delay rule in your Outlook settings, giving you a much-needed buffer to intercept any errors, and is even aligned with Microsoft's best practices. You might be surprised at how this simple step can save you from email errors and unnecessary stress. 

Understanding Email Delay: A Proactive Approach to Minimize Mistakes 

Before we delve into the process, it's worth taking a moment to understand the rationale behind this strategy. An email delay, as simple as it sounds, acts as a safety net. It provides you with a grace period to detect and correct any mistakes made in haste, thereby ensuring the professionalism and accuracy of your email communication. 

Microsoft recommends setting a one-minute delay on all emails, which is usually ample time to catch an error after hitting "Send". The email will be sitting in your Outbox where you can retrieve it, open and amend, before sending when ready. Let's move on to how you can set this up.


Step-by-Step Guide: Setting a Delay on Email Delivery in Outlook 

Step 1: Launch the Rules Wizard 

Open your Outlook application. Navigate to the top menu and click on the "File" tab. Select "Manage Rules & Alerts" from the drop-down menu to open the Rules Wizard. 

Step 2: Start a New Rule 

In the Rules and Alerts dialog box that appears, click on "New Rule". This opens up a new dialog box with a list of options to customize your rule. 

Step 3: Select Rule Template 

Under "Start from a blank rule", select "Apply rule on messages I send". Click on "Next". 

Step 4: Define Rule Conditions 

A list of conditions will be displayed. Don't select any of these (unless you want the rule to apply only to specific types of messages). Click on "Next". A warning message will appear, stating that this rule will apply to all messages. Click "Yes" to proceed. 

Step 5: Select Action 

In the list of actions, scroll down and select "defer delivery by a number of minutes". This will open a field where you can enter the number of minutes you'd like to delay your emails. 

Step 6: Specify Delay Duration 

Click on the "a number of" link in the lower pane and enter "1" as the duration. Click "OK". This sets a one-minute delay on all your outgoing emails. 

Step 7: Finish Rule Setup 

Click "Next" twice and then click "Finish". Close the Rules and Alerts dialog box. 


That's it - you've successfully implemented an effective precautionary measure to minimize email mistakes. Remember, this isn't about making your workflow more complex; it's about taking advantage of the tools at your disposal to make your email communication more accurate and effective.


The Takeaway  

With this simple tweak to your Outlook settings, you can avoid the common pitfalls associated with hastily sent emails. By setting a delay, you grant yourself that much-needed buffer time to review and ensure the quality of your communication. No more panicking over erroneous emails or composing awkward apology follow-ups. 

Remember, we've all been there, but with a few simple steps, we can enhance our email etiquette and make communication mishaps a thing of the past. 


For more great tips and advice on using Outlook directly from the productivity gurus at Microsoft, here’s their hacks: Best practices for Outlook - Microsoft Support 

For even more productivity tools get stuck into Getting Things Done by David Allen 


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