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Processing E-Mail

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  • Processing E-Mail

    Can someone please tell me ...

    When you are processing your email in box and you move something to @ Action, do you also write it in your oranizing sytem NA list (by context) ? When do you review your @Action items for action?

    I receive alot of emails that are winding up in the How do others find time to keep up with all the email reading on top of newspapers, periodicals, magazines, etc?


  • #2
    Unlike many others, I don't manage my e-mail separately from my other actions. Because I don't get that much e-mail, I haven't needed to create a separate system for it. After I've decided what to do with a new email, I archive it (in Gmail). If the message requires an action - for example "Reply to email from Bob", I'll write that in my @computer context. If I send an e-mail and am waiting for a reply, I'll write it on my Waiting For list. For me, it's much easier to treat email as just another communication tool and track messages alongside my other actions.

    For read/review items:
    I don't use a separate @read-review context. I tried it for a while, but it ended up being a black hole. Instead, if an e-mail is going to take longer than 2 minutes to read and process for actions, I'll archive it and add an action to my @computer list such as "Review 5/13/08 email from Joe". Now, when I perform this task, I'll glean it for projects and actions. RSS feeds get processed similarly to email.

    I handle physical read/review items in much the same way. If it's something that I must read, I'll put it on my action lists, and note where the reading material is. I usually read non-work, fun items for an hour or so before bed. I keep these in a basket. However, this too would be a black hole if I didn't set aside time to go through it in the evenings.

    This is just what I've found works for me, so YMMV, of course. Hope this helps!


    • #3
      GTD & Email

      Here's an article you might find helpful around managing email:

      Becoming the Master of your Email Inbox


      • #4
        Every action appears on the appropriate NA list, and all NA lists are kept together. (In a notebook, in my case.) Anything else pretty much guarantees that stuff will fall through the cracks.

        Project-specific reading material is filed with other project support materials and given an NA in the appropriate context. General reading material goes in a "to be read" file, which I purge every few months.

        My approach to reading is that it's impossible to read everything, so I don't try. I read everything project-related (which is quite a lot), and a sample of general stuff, and let the rest go.