The Lazy Man’s Guide to Email

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Being lazy is a quality one should be proud of. And here to help the pro-lazy is the newly launched Outlook.com. Thanks to a bunch of smart features, Outlook.com makes it easier and quicker than ever to manage your incoming email so you can spend less time in your inbox and more time on important tasks such as competitive relaxing and deciding what snacks to order for Sunday's game.

Below are five laziness-enhancers that Microsoft built into the all-new Outlook.com. Muster a little energy and take a peek.

1. Deal with an Email Without Opening It

Since you don't usually need to open an email to know you want to junk it (the promise of riches from a Nigerian prince usually does the trick), Outlook.com doesn't make you. When you hover your cursor over a message in your inbox, a series of action icons will pop up next to the subject line, letting you deal with your message without taking the time to actually open it. By default, these "Instant Actions" allow you to move messages, mark them as read or unread, trash them, or flag them. You can add other instant actions too, like archiving. Just go to "Options" (the little gear-like icon at the top right of your screen), and click "Instant Actions" under "Customizing Outlook.com." Then go back to your regularly scheduled diet of hot wings and Twitter.


2. Stop Sending Attachments

Bulging attachments and overactive spam filters mix about as well as Bronx native at Fenway. Avoid the potential tragedy of your buddy not getting that picture of the baby walrus that you think looks like him by transforming your attachments into clickable URLs that live on Microsoft SkyDrive. To turn this feature on or off, click "Options," (that gear at the top of your screen again) then "More mail settings" and "Attachments" under the "Writing email" header. From there, you can choose to send your attachments as actual attachments, SkyDrive links, or "Let Outlook.com choose" (if you're feeling extra lazy).


3. Get Rid of Your Dirty Laundry in One Sweep

As you can probably guess by now, "Instant Actions" is the lethargic man's friend. My favorite has to be "Sweep," the one that lets you instantly move or delete all messages from a single sender. It's basically Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Inbox (i.e., a must-have tool for a bad breakup). Access it from the "Options" menu by choosing "Instant Actions" under "Customizing Outlook.com."


4. Load Mail Instantly Despite a Crappy Connection

If the Internet goes down, so does your ability to check your messages, right? Not so! Outlook.com pre-loads messages, saving you time, and, more importantly, helping you survive shaky-Internet-connection hell. This way, when you click them, they show up faster than the fastest of fastballs. To switch this feature on, go to the Options gear, then click "More mail settings" and finally "Group by conversation and pre-load message" under the "Reading email" header.


5. Save Your Precious Shortcuts

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious: keyboard shortcuts save you time. So don't stress — when you migrate to Outlook.com from a different email provider, you'll be able to hold onto your muscle-memorized time-savers. To switch on Yahoo or Gmail shortcuts, click the "Options" gear on the top right of your screen, then click "Keyboard shortcuts" under "Customizing Outlook.com." For now, you've got four options: Outlook.com's native shortcuts, Yahoo Mail's, Gmail's, or the option of turning them off completely.


There you have it: Five tips to help make email manageable for even the laziest among us. Head here to get your own Outlook.com account, and proudly wave your lazy man's flag. Just be ready to explain to your friends why you suddenly have so much extra time to dedicate to fantasy this week.

Seth Porges is a New York-based writer, editor, on-air commentator, and entrepreneur.