Email best pratices

ckennedy

Registered
For a long time I have sent emails that I need to take action on to my task manager. This sometimes results in a lot of emails to process and organize. I am thinking of trying to manage them via action folders in my email client.
I'm curious how many track email tasks in their email client vs a task manager?
 

Gardener

Registered
I don't do either. An email has too much overhead and clutter for me to use it as the action. If an email triggers an action, I type that action into my task manager. If it's likely that I'll need to email when I get to the task, AND it's likely that I'll have trouble finding the email, I may add a reference to the email. (say, "email Joe 5/10")

One exception is my "read this" folder, where I do dump emails that refer to things I should read or watch.
 

Oogiem

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I'm curious how many track email tasks in their email client vs a task manager?
I'm like @Gardener I don't do either one. I read emails and then restate the actions from them and put those into my task manager. I will then file the email as project support material if I think I might need it to do the action or put it in my Reference folder in my email client.

If I have something to read I may leave the email in the inbox until I have time to read it. I've tried read later folders and those become a graveyard of stuff so for me I'll deal with an inbox that is not empty for a few days rather than create another inbox of read it later things.
 

Sojourner

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For a long time I have sent emails that I need to take action on to my task manager. This sometimes results in a lot of emails to process and organize. I am thinking of trying to manage them via action folders in my email client.
I'm curious how many track email tasks in their email client vs a task manager?
I learned from the book "The Getting Things Done Workbook: 10 Moves to Stress-Free Productivity" to make my email into an inbox and organize it into folders/labels (e.g. Next Actions, Waiting For) for processing. This has helped me in processing my emails and keeping track of tasks I need to follow-up on or monitor. I personally just found it easier to work directly out of my email rather than spending time moving tasks back and forth between my task manager.

I also use David's two minute rule with email. If I can read it and/or respond to it in less than two minutes, I do it and move on to the next. If it needs some sort of action or follow-up, that's when I move it to the appropriate folder/label. If I think I might absolutely need it later, I archive it and forget it. Otherwise, I just delete it. The two minute rule may also depend on the volume of email you receive. I only process an average of ~200 emails per day. I probably respond to, file, or archive less than 25% of those emails. Most are glance over, be aware of something, and delete, or they are simply junk.

Here is a post I made about how I setup my email: https://forum.gettingthingsdone.com/threads/received-invoices-on-action-list.16875/#post-129122
 

cfoley

Registered
A lot of the emails I receive haven't been sent by followers of GTD. They tend to be of the format of "Here is everything I want to tell Chris", and it can take some time to tease out what is just information and what is actionable.

For this reason, emails as projects/actions doesn't work for me but I do reference them from my lists when it is useful to do so.
 

Oli

Registered
Mine’s a hybrid of the 2-minute rule & Carl Pullein’s “Action” folder. Anything actionable that’s >2 mins goes in the “Action/Reply” folder, with a daily recurring task to “clear action folder”. If an email is particularly involved it might get forwarded to the task manager in its own right, but that’s prob <3 emails a day.
 

Chas29

Registered
I recommend forwarding them to your task manager, but whatever you decide to do with your emails, I will only add here and remind you of David's rule, "Handle it only once."
i.e., Don't let it sit in your inbox where you will view it multiple times. And don't forward it to your task manager without renaming it,
otherwise when you view it later in your task manager you will wonder what it was all about and you will have to read it again, etc.
"Handle it only once." After that, it is nestled into your tidy system, and after that, you can engage with it appropriately.
 
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