Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Young Professionals Corner: A More Efficient Outlook

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of guest posts from young VSCPA members dealing with topics of interest to young professionals. If you'd like to write or have a topic you'd like a future blogger to cover, please email VSCPA Academic & Career Development Coordinator Tracey Zink.
By Steven Valdez
Corporate Audit Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Every business professional uses email in the course of their day to day activities and can take up proportional amounts of time organizing and searching them. Today I would like to challenge how we look at and organize this major part of our professional lives.

A way to ensure that troves of new file directories aren’t being created haphazardly costing time and energy is to break it down into the six overarching broad categories. Most thought goes towards the expansion planning of email folders, but little thought is given to the contraction of those sub-folders when they can be deleted. Just like adding files to make something more effective, sometimes it is important to circle back and consolidate those sub-folders into the top-level ones. To aid in this, I use a 6-tier categorical approach that makes expanding and contracting folders easy and logical.
  • Top-Level Categories:
  • Education
  • Notifications
  • Opportunities
  • Social and Family
  • Training and HR
  • Work
Within the overarching folders the suggestion is to create hierarchies that make sense for the use of the sub-level. For categories like Training and HR it is easier to assume that subfolders won’t be necessary, but in the case of the Work folder it is different. As projects come into and out of scope over time it is important to create a flexible and easily navigable structure. As you work on one project you can create sub-folder for organizing info when in the weeds so to speak, but once the project is over it is easy to delete the subfolder and move the emails to the main project folder to be archived for future reference. The goal is to allow expansion and contractions as different priorities shift. Later on the entire Proj. Assignment I folder can be dragged anywhere without searching multiple folders.

Some of you may be familiar with the system generated emails that come in day in and day out for various things that may not always be relevant immediately. Similarly, but different to the Projects folder is the Notifications Folder helpful for automatically handling messages by using inbox rules. Inbox rules your key to having a computer secretary to handle your email or calendar requests. The advanced settings allow hundreds if not thousands of variations to prompt the exact actions you are looking for.

Steven Valdez is interning as a corporate accounting analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He will join KPMG as an associate in October.

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