Delay Delivery of All Messages in Outlook

Last week Eli Lilly lawyers mistakenly sent confidential information on a $1 Billion negotiation to a New York Times reporter with the same surname as one of their lawyers.  (Story here).  With tools like AutoComplete, it’s fairly easy to make a similar mistake with serious repercussions.

How many times have you sent an email, only to realize just as it disappeared that you sent it to the wrong person, misspelled something in the body, forgot to include an attachment or something else of that ilk?  I find that when I catch these errors, it’s always within moments of sending.

If you suffer from this problem, configure Outlook to delay sending of all messages by five minutes or more.  From the Microsoft Office site:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts, and then click New Rule.
  2. Select Start from a blank rule.
  3. In the Step 1: Select when messages should be checked box, click Check messages after sending, and then click Next.
  4. In the Step 1: Select condition(s) list, select any options you want, and then click Next.

    If you do not select any check boxes, a confirmation dialog box appears. Clicking Yes applies this rule to all messages you send.

  5. In the Step 1: Select action(s) list, select defer delivery by a number of minutes. Delivery can be delayed up to two hours.
  6. In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click on an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase a number of and enter the number of minutes you want messages held before sending.
  7. Click OK, and then click Next.
  8. Select any exceptions, and then click Next.
  9. In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule box, type a name for the rule.
  10. Click Finish.

Messages will be held in the Outlook Outbox for the time you specify.

Truth be told, if one of my team members in a prior life had used this rule it would have saved us a multi-million dollar contract and a whole lot of client grief.  But that’s another story…

Thanks to Ina Fried at CNET for a pointer to this story.