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Getting Started with GTD, using Outlook 2007

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  • Getting Started with GTD, using Outlook 2007

    So I think I'm stuck on a small detail, and I've been reading everything I can find on the net regarding different systems.

    My situation: I work in sales, and I need to keep almost all my email. My current system is to delete everything and never empty my trash, using it as an archive of sorts. I don't have a space limit for email. I've heard people trash this way of doing things, so I'm curious if anyone has a comment on that, and what is a more efficient method. What I like about it, is that I read an email and then just click the 'x' key on the toolbar to 'delete/archive' it. As opposed to clicking few boxes to send it to a folder I create in my inbox.

    So my general question to GTD/Outlook users: I'm trying out this add-in to Outlook, and it seems pretty handy, but I can't figure out where emails go once they're processed. Back to my original need to keep all emails.

    Any input at all is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Where do messages go!?!

    I'm also in sales and have the same need/desire to save my emails, but I've learned to not save everything.

    I file the significant messages (orders, important inquiries etc.), and get rid of the not so significant ones, like small back and forth messages after the big stuff is covered

    With the Outlook Add-In, filing your messages is a snap.

    For Actions, the email itself becomes the Action and is removed from your inbox.
    If email IS the action, you can open the original message from your Action list and reply/forward etc. that way.

    For simply filing of reference material/emails:

    For key accounts I have a separate mail folder for each (under Inbox in the navigation pane). Today, I have 38 folders for key accounts and one for General Reference. It takes a bit to set it up but once it's done, it's done.
    (you can also add folders on the fly with the Add-In)

    Once you process a message by clicking the file button, you can file the message by key account, as well as associate it with a project if there is one.
    (If there is no project associated with the email you can simply drag and drop into the key account folder as well)

    Finding messages in the future is simple. Either search in the account folder, or open the Project and view messages associated with it.

    It's very simple, and sort of fun in a sick way.



    • #3
      Delete means delete, not keep

      Using Deleted Items as an archive because deleting is so easy is a very risky way to file emails that you must keep. It's like tossing things to file in a waste basket because its handy. One day those emails are actually going to delete. Also, you are cutting yourself off from being able to delete. Do you really get no junk email?

      There are many Outlook addins that allow quick filing to a specific folder. I happen to use ClearContext for this. An excellent tool. But since you are putting all emails in one folder now, why not create an Archived Email folder and use the Move To Folder button on the tool bar? Since it remembers the last several folders you moved something to, two clicks and the email is filed. You can even add that to the Quick Access Toolbar and use key strokes instead of the mouse.


      • #4
        I tried the Outlook Add in and it just didn't seem to work for me. Here's another option for using Outlook with GTD. Go here and click on Older Posts at the bottom of the page. You're looking for the February 16 podcast called Using Outlook's Inbox to Manage Tasks. I've just started using this process and so far it's working very well for me.


        • #5
          Thanks for the input, it helps! So I cleaned out my Deleted folder yesterday, putting things I want to review into my inbox, and the rest in a folder under the inbox called archive. My new process is to send emails i need to keep to archive, deleting things I don't need and emptying the trash every so often.

          Do people suggest emptying the trash every day? Week? Month? Going through the deleted folders really brought home how much time is wasted re-reading emails that have already been read.


          • #6
            Archive Folder

            I have a subfolder out of my inbox called ARCHIVE. I drag over EVERYTHING that doesnt need to go in @Waiting. Periodically, the ARCHIVE folder backs itself up on my C:/ drive. Since everything is so searchable now, I find creating folders cumbersome. Keeping this archive folder has saved me multiple times.

            Hope this helps. If you dont dig the GTD ADD ON, learn the speed keys and Outlook becomes a swiss army knife of a system.