Get focussed with Boomerang - take control of your ibox

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Get Focused with Boomerang

Get focussed with Boomerang

Boomerang your emails back to your inbox

Who doesn’t want more control over their inbox? I have a whole training course on the topic!  A while ago Boomerang became an add-in to Microsoft Outlook and it is so amazing I had to write about it.

What is an Add-In?

An add- in is a program that is not part of the main Outlook (or any Office program for that matter) and is added in to the program by downloading it from the Microsoft Store.

What is Boomerang?

As the name suggests it will boomerang emails. Imagine you get an email from an important client that needs attention today. However, you are working on something that you must finish first. Set Boomerang to whisk the email out of your inbox and bring it back in say two hours’ time when you will be able to focus on it!

Or maybe you want to get on with stuff without the distractions of your email popping up all the time (I will post about turning off notifications another day) well with Boomerang you can Pause your Inbox! Pause it and it will stop delivery of email to you for the specified amount of time – then when the time is up all the email will appear – how cool is that?

Where can I use it?

Boomerang is available for Outlook 2016 as part of an Office 365 subscription, and will work on both Windows and Mac versions of the software. It is also available in your Online Outlook and for Outlook.com.

Schedule delivery

You can also set a schedule for email delivery. So to enable your creativity and productivity you decide to have email delivered at 8 am 1pm and 3 pm. Then you can get on with your work without looking at Outlook until the specified times!

It can also help with meeting scheduling and appointment accepting. That is another blog post however.

Boomerang applies to both Outlook on the Web and to Outlook Desktop as part of Office365.

First download it

Head over to the Microsoft Store Icon on the Home Ribbon

Click the Store button and search for Boomerang.

On the Mac it looks like this:

Boomerang Outlook 2016 Mac

 

Click Add and then Get Started

Boomerang will do its thing and download. You may need to close and reopen Outlook to see the icons appear on the Home Ribbon

Now the fun starts

First up open Boomerang by clicking the Open Boomerang Button

You will need to Authenticate

Once authenticated you will need to accept the permissions and then you are all set.

What can I do?

  • Make emails come back to my inbox at the specified time
  • Pause the Inbox so I am not disturbed

Return email to my inbox

Let’s say you have an email that you know you need to deal with but once you have read it, it will slip down your list and you may well forget to action it. Well now with Boomerang you can tell it to come back to your inbox at a time that is suitable to you.

For example I have this email about opening the Blogs Folder that was shared with me and I want to come back to it in an hour or so.

Click Open Boomerang and pick the schedule to use. Or if one of the pre-sets is not quite what you want to do, type a time into the box.

On the Mac it looks like this:

Schedule Mail Boomerang Mac Office 2016

Pick one of the pre-set times or type in the time as I have here and click confirm.

You will then see a message in the task pane telling you that the message will return at the specific time.

When the time arrives, the message will be brought back to your inbox.

You will receive a message telling you it has been moved to the top of the inbox and you will see the message marked as unread.

Pretty cool I think!

Pause your Inbox

In all the articles and received wisdom about productivity, we know that it is best to work without interruption. Most of us have lots of ways of being interrupted. Did you know that it can take you up to half an hour to get back to work after being interrupted? Your attention is taken from what you are doing and refocussed on the new shiny email that just arrived. You spend some time thinking about it, you may or may not respond and then you need to get back to work. Now it will take you another 15 minutes to get back into the zone you were in when you first got interrupted. Best productivity advice is to check email on a specific schedule and ignore or turn off notifications.

Boomerang can do that for you. You can Pause the Inbox for a specified time, set an autoresponder to let your colleagues know the inbox is paused, allow email flagged as important through or email from specific people to come through and you can set it to automatically unpause after a set time. You can also tell Boomerang to deliver your email on a set schedule!

First time set up

The first time you use Inbox Pause, you will need to log in to Boomerang and authorise the app again. Once done you will be prompted to set the schedule. You will go through a wizard to show you the elements you can set the first time.

  1. Turn on the Auto-Responder – turn this on and you will be able to add some text to let people know when you are likely to get back to them
  2. Set Delivery Exceptions – such as High Importance and specific addresses
  3. Choose to Unpause automatically at a time you set
  4. Deliver messages on schedule, choose the times that Boomerang is allowed to send your email through – it will be held until then and then delivered.
  5. Click Pause to set it in motion

Once paused the email is held in a folder which is time stamped and then brought to the top of your inbox when it is Unpaused.

In the screenshot you can see the folder in the folder list and the email that is sitting inside.

Once the time has passed for the inbox to be paused the email in this folder will appear in your regular inbox.

What do you think about this add-in? I think it is immensely useful and a great aid to productivity – helping you get more done in less time as you focus on the work and kick at least one of the distractions in to touch.

Leave me a comment with your thoughts about this add-in.

About the Author Shelley Fishel

I will help you be more productive and earn more money as a virtual assistant. As a trainer with 20 years experience, you'll love how you'll get between 4-8 hours a week back when you use Microsoft tools to their fullest potential. I'm also the author of several best-selling books on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, published at www.bookboon.com . Subscribe and get more productive!

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