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Tips needed: e-mail lists

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  • Tips needed: e-mail lists

    Hiya folks!

    I have a question I was hoping to get some feedback on from everyone here re: mailing lists. How do people deal with them in a GTD framework?

    Here's the situation: I get a few mailing lists in my inbox. For the most part, I've unsubscribed from those that I don't get any value, so the ones I receive now usually have some nugget or two of good info. Whether it's a job lead, an interesting company to check out, or a wedding vendor referral (I'm getting married 10/29/05), there's usually some very good signal amidst the noise.

    The problem is the sheer volume of messages. I take care of some of that by subscribing via digest mode, but it still takes time to read through. Can anyone give suggestions on how they deal with it? Also, how do you save any good info and act (or not act) on it?

    Here's the outcome I'm trying to achieve: I want to be able to glean what's important and worth saving in these mailing lists and have it ready for future use.



  • #2
    Don't know if this is a "best practice" or not, but I have two folders in my email named "Review Weekly" and "Review Monthly". I work from zero base in my Inbox, so evertyhing has to go somewhere when I first open it.
    If there is an email which I don't have any immediate action on, which doesn't go to an assigned folder, or for whatever reason I want to come back to it later, I just make the decision on whether I want to see it again in a week or sometime in the next 30 days and move it to the appropriate folder.

    The only catch to this system is I have to be sure and check those two folders at the appropriate times. But then the whoe GTD process revolves around putting things in their proper baskets and then checking those baskets at the appropriate time.


    • #3
      dealing with mailing lists

      I use a Mac at home, so this may not help you much. I have MacJournal installed. When there's a message I want to keep, I highlight the whole thing and go to Services on the menu. One of the options is to send it to Mac Journal as a new entry. I do that and give it a header that lets me know what list it came from and a brief description of what is contained in the message. So I have the entire post, including author. I can search search using Mac Journal or I can use iSilo and dump the entire thing on my Palm and use it there too. I delete the original message, which helps keep my mailbox empty.

      At work (in XP), I keep a read/review folder for things I'd like to reread. I originally set folders up by person, but am starting to think that I need folders by topic. If we are discussing a particular thread, it seems to make more sense to have it all together. The biggest problem with email is always keeping too much and not having it organized so that you can retrieve it if needed. It seems to work best for me if I can get it out of email. I know that you can use Ecco in a manner similar to the way I use Mac Journal. I may have to try that on the PC to get things under control.


      • #4
        Re: dealing with mailing lists

        Originally posted by teripittman
        I use a Mac at home, so this may not help you much. I have MacJournal installed. When there's a message I want to keep, I highlight the whole thing and go to Services on the menu.
        I'm using DEVONthink and NoteBook to achive the same result (both are "storage" programs but have different uses). With DEVONthink it's easy to write some applescript that stores the info directly in the right place no matter what email program you use (or you could use the automatic filtering in DEVONthink). So if you use a Mac then Teris advice is quite nice.


        • #5
          If you use Outlook, you might try tossing all those lists in one mail folder, then using software like Lookout. When you get ready to glean the gold from them, then just type in what you are curious about, and Lookout will search thru all your emails and bring up a list ( files too, if you tell it to check there.)
          of anything that matches those words.

          I've found it extremely valuable when all I have is a vague memory of someone's name mentioned somewhere inside an email, quite often with nothing in the title to tell me that it's there.

          I think Copernic also does this, and a few other programs around. Lookout WAS free. Microsoft bought the company though. You might find links to a free version still around somewhere.

          Good luck!


          • #6
            tips email lists

            I dont use digests. I dont want to have to scroll through the whole thing. I have the email manager place the email from each mailing list into its own seperate folder. I scan the subject lines to see if there is something I have to read. I read those right away. The rest can stay in their own folder until I have some time to read the others that are of interest and delete the rest. Its not like an IN email box that screams to be addressed. Its ok if those stay in their own folder once a scan for any really important information is done.


            • #7
              My tip


              I get a lot of eZines and group messages too.

              When there is a piece of info I want to keep, I ask myself - is this an action I want to take, or is reference material?

              If it's an action, it goes in my tasks folder in Outlook. (You could use any kind of To Do list that you like.)

              If it's something I want to refer to, I put it in the appropriate "Guidelines" document for the topic. For instance, if the info is a copywriting principle that I want to remember and use next time I do some copywriting for my business, I copy and paste it into my "Copywriting Guidelines" document.

              (I am aiming for the paperless office ideal, and this is my way of keeping everything electronic - but you could print out hard copies and file them in your filing cabinet in "Guidelines" folders if you wanted to.)