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Sorting Sent messages

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  • Sorting Sent messages

    Just curious whether others file their sent messages in organized folders or do you keep all the sent messages in the default sent folder (as in Outlook).

    I have copied some customer related messages to a customer specific folder to get an idea of a chronological history which is nice if I need to access the info while on the phone with them. But the prospect of sorting through 2000 old messages is a bit daunting.



  • #2
    I do not sort my sent messages. On rare occasions, I copy a sent message into a folder. When I need to find a sent message quickly, I use LookOut software. It finds things very quickly. Because I sent the message, I know it will have sufficient keywords, such as a client name, for the LookOut software to find it. For incoming e-mails, I prefer to sort them into folders. I refer to incoming e-mails more often, and I cannot guarantee (unless I edit the subject header of each e-mail) that they will contain the same keywords that I would put in a LookOut search. It works for me.


    • #3
      I typically post my sent messages to project folders since I work with others who may need to refer or retrieve my emails. They also post theirs to the same folders.


      • #4
        my two cents

        Most of the sent messages I eventually delete (most usually get replies too). Those that record I have sent reference material to a larger group/team I usually keep a copy either in an online file or hardcopy- especially if I certified the email.

        Actually- if still active- I keep it online. If the case is closed I either print a hardcopy or put it on disc- depending on the size of the project/case. Usually I save items with my more "hot" or high maintenance cases though -- it's not a common practice for me.

        You can also archive all the sent messages but then finding that one email out of thousands can sometimes be a challenge.

        I think it really depends on your industry and how much record of chronology and accountability is needed.



        • #5
          I've always accepted the default to let a copy of my sent messages go into a "Sent" folder, but now that I'm in my 5th week of GTD I've added something new. BTW, finding something in the "Sent" folder is easier when you resort by name and it's also a good time to do a little housecleaning in the folder.

          I now have a "Waiting For" folder in my e-mail. I have myself set up in my address book with a special prefix to my e-mail address under the nickname "MW" (stand for MyWaitingFor). Whenever I send an e-mail that I need to see a response on, I CC: to the "MW" nickname.

          I then have a filter set up in my inbox which automatically routes my incoming copy of that sent e-mail to the "Waiting For" folder. That saves moving things around in my in-box, and all I need to do is regulary check the "Waiting For" folder as needed (the weekly review is a good time to do this... hint, hint)


          • #6
            That is a good point, Spec, that I forgot to mention. For any e-mail I send that I am waiting for a reply, I cc the e-mail to myself. I set a rule so that any cc to myself sorts directly into my @waitingfor folder. Within the @waitingfor folder, I sort the e-mails by the individuals to whom it was sent. During my weekly review, I scan the folder to weed out the e-mails that have had replies from the ones that are still waiting fors.


            • #7
              excellent idea

              I had always wondered why some folks "cc" an email to themselves. I had thought - " why don't they just fetch the copy out of their sent folder?".... but now I understand the simple logic behind it. Great idea. Thanks


              • #8
                Without beating this dead horse, I'll clarify one more point. I have two ways to cc myself.

                If I CC to the nickname "ME" the copy goes into my in-box & STAYS, whereas if I CC to "MW" it automatically routes itself through the in-box and into my "WaitingFor" folder.

                My reason for doing this is to differentiate AT THE TIME I SEND IT between: 1)An e-mail which will automatically become a "WaitingFor" and 2) an e-mail which may be a part of a process which requires a "Next Action" on my part. I'm forcing myself to make that distinction at the time I send the e-mail.

                Since I now keep my in-box at zero (thanks to David's excellent explanation on this), the new e-mail in my in-box forces me to DO or DEFER because it's sitting there in the in-box screaming "Do something with me".

                Maybe I'm getting obsessive about this, but GTD is changing the way I view & use e-mail in addition to all the other life/work benefits. As David stated regarding GTD in the FAST CD, "This thing is like peeling an onion".


                • #9
                  I love Specec's info on the automatic forwarding to @waiting for folder! Fabulous idea.

                  Since I need to keep copies of sent items for different clients, I just cc myself on the email, and when it pops up in my inbox right then, I drag it over to my archive for that client.

                  I guess one could create a nickname for frequently used clients like MECLIENT1 and a rule which would send the cc directly into that client's archive folder . . . but I only have one or two clients I do THAT much work for, and it really hasn't been overly burdensome to move the cc over as soon as I send it.

                  I keep the sent items folder just as a big huge cya archive that I save regularly.

                  Thanks, Spectec for the detailed instructions on how to do that, you just improved my process flow! I love tips like that.


                  • #10
                    I also want to thank spectec for explaining the automatic dump to @waiting for. I've been copying myself on all outgoing messages (by sending them to a group called Me) and then dealing with them from my inbox. But the MW is a great idea. Thanks!


                    • #11
                      Glad to help out.
                      With all the changes I've been making it's nice to see I've found something that helps someone else. Or, as we say in North Carolina, "Even a blind hog will turn sometimes discover an acorn if he roots around long enough..."


                      • #12
                        I archive my sent messages in the same generic folder with my received ones (2004 Archive and similar) and rely on the search function to turn up what I want when I want it.

                        If only I had a similarly flexible search function for paper.