How are you managing Reference Email

How do you manage Reference Email?


  • Total voters
    12

sesteph6

Registered
After listening to reListening to GTD (for the 10th time in 10 years). What resonated THIS time was email. David strongly suggested using an A to Z filling system in email. I have gotten away from this and just relied on the search feature. How are you handling email? GTD pros, any strong opinions?
 

TesTeq

Registered
After listening to reListening to GTD (for the 10th time in 10 years). What resonated THIS time was email. David strongly suggested using an A to Z filling system in email. I have gotten away from this and just relied on the search feature. How are you handling email? GTD pros, any strong opinions?
If you rely on the search function only it's hard to find responses like this one:
"Yep. Sent from my iPad"
Steve Jobs sometimes sent such emails and some bosses do it too.
So it's useful to keep emails in Project folders since you cannot expect everybody to follow the strict email topic/contents formatting rules.
 

Oogiem

Registered
I have gotten away from this and just relied on the search feature. How are you handling email? GTD pros, any strong opinions?
I export reference emails into DEVONThink where the searching and conversation threading is superior to saving them in my mail system. I put emails in folders by year and have email going back over 20 years that I still use as reference.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I save important information from email in various places, and I can forward email directly into my lists with a link to the original. However, most email I have the slightest desire to preserve is saved in a single archive for each year. With search AND threaded conversations, I have no problem with retrieval.
 

2097

Registered
Adding date restrictions to searches really helps me a lot too. "I know it was from person X and it was within this last week…" or if it was way longer back I can search for a more easily findable email to find out the approximate date, and then make a new search with that new date in mind.

Here is what I'm doing now:

  • I'm keeping my inbox at zero, treating my email inbox as if it were a GTD inbox.
  • Everything goes into one archive.
  • I kinda have low self esteem sometimes so sometimes I save really flattering email by adding a label to it. And I go read it when I have self doubts and it's so nice to see someone say you're good. I mean I don't do his a lot. I have 256019 mails and only 14 of them have this label. So it's not really part of my everyday workflow.
  • I have a saved search that shows me all threads where I have personally sent at least one mail since last midnight. This is my workhorse and what I use/rely on the most to find and participate in ongoing convos when I find something to add.
  • I do not track any actions in my email and it's not a TODO list in any way. But I can imagine some lines of work where a label for todo-stuff would actually make some sense. For me, the occasional big project comes in and I'll track that on my normal projects/actions lists, and a bunch of 2 minute action stuff come in and I just do them right away.
  • For those bigger actions, I went many years with just putting it on the action list and if I needed to find the email I'd search it up. But now I've started to use a label ("tracked") for these emails. I can hit a button to label email as such.
  • I have a tickler-inspired keyboard shortcut that I can use to postpone email (it goes to any date, not just one of forty-three folders). This is good both for things that I need to remind me on a specific date, or things that I can't use until a specific date. I also use it as kind of a janky "waiting for". "They will probably have gotten back to me before tomorrow, but just in case, let's have this thread pop back up then and I'll remind them." The email isn't gone, it's still in the archive and I can find it any normal way and also see all of these postponed items by searching for the label deferred. What I don't want to use this for is to juggle things that I am procrastinating on. It's only for waiting for the external hard landscape a.k.a. other people. I broke this rule recently with a meeting I wasn't sure I wanted to go to and I kept putting it off by ticklering the thread and then it popped back up and nothing had changed so I put it off again and again etc etc. So-called "incubation". But it just meant a bunch of extra agony, extra decision making, and failing on the extra decision making. Time (and a lot of energy) wasted. What ended up fixing the situation was that I sent off some questions to them and they replied and that helped sort the problem out in my mind. So if it's me I'm waiting on, it goes on "tracked" and into my projects/actions list!
 

2097

Registered
Hahaha wow so what I can gather from reading my own post is that A. I'm a nuisance that sends a lot of email, B. people don't really like it since I've only ever gotten 14 emails of save-worthy praise, C. I mooch of my friends a lot by "delegating" to them. Uh… I'm a pretty horrible person!

(But I don't worry because I know that on the flipside I also do a lot of favors for the other people and I have a quick turnaround.)
 

John Ismyname

Registered
I have very few email directories and reply on searches. the directories I have are;
AA-Read - email from my inboxes that I will read goes here. (The AA in front of the directory keeps it sorted at the top.)
AA-Received - the big directory where I store email. Within this there are directories;
Bills to pay
Licenses - software licenses, code-keys, ect

I'll create sub-directories for short term storage. I clean these directories annually by moving them to

Archive - This directory holds my temporary directories that I no longer use.

I use to have a separate directory for each project I was working on. Now I put a project specific tag on all project specific incoming and outgoing email.
 

alteredbeast

Registered
To me, there is no difference between reference material originating from email vs any other source. So for that reason, I have an Outlook macro that saves the email in a standard format (yymmdd_Subject_SenderName) to storage under the project name.

If there are actions within the email, I typically add a link to it in the comment section of the task. If the email content also contains information that could be relevant later, then that goes into the appropriate list, which to my mind negates some of the need to search email.
 

Jodie E. Francis

GTD Novice
Neither of the above :)

Personal: I use folders for project support, then move the entire folder to archive when done. Other reference email goes straight to archive.

Work: I use a simple, shallow folder system related to my areas of focus / work objectives.

In both cases I rely heavily on search.
 
Top