Last inbox boot camp – this should have gone on Friday, but my blog service was taking a break.

Most of us send e-mails without much thought about the timing of our message. In our rush to get things done, we all just fire and forget, right? But lately I've taken an interest in timing my mails for the greatest impact.

For instance: Do you know what times of day your boss reads her e-mails? Wouldn't it be more likely to get immediate attention if you timed your mail to arrive during that time (say, during morning coffee) rather than getting lost in the backlog of mails from the night before?

And if you work with colleagues in other countries, it can be even more vital to send messages at appropriate times. In Japan, I've learned that business people typically receive mails on their mobile phones (more so than in the U.S. and Europe) which they keep near their beds. If your mail isn't a critical issue, you could wake up the recipient unnecessarily. Not the best way to foster an overseas relationship!

The good news is that, in addition to the delayed send feature that can save you from releasing mails before they are ready, Outlook 2007 includes a scheduled send feature. Here's how to use it:

In any unsent mail message, click the Options tab and then, under More Options, click Delay Delivery:

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This will open a Message Options box:

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Under delivery options, simply check the box next to Do not deliver before, set the earliest date and time you want your mail sent, click Close, and then Send your message whenever you are done writing it.

Note that if you do NOT use Exchange for your mail delivery, be sure to leave Outlook running during the time you want your mail to go out or it won't be sent until the next time you start Outlook after the selected time has passed.

If you are trying to find the best send times for a remote time zone, you can use the built-in Outlook time zone tools to easily determine the best target time (see Staying in the Time Zone). There's also a handy Outlook plug-in (free at this writing, and not supported by Microsoft) called Sender's Time Zone that lets you see the current time as well as the time difference for any mails you receive, which can make these conversions even easier.

Suzanne