View Full Version : Coping with Email


ADB1
09-03-08, 08:55 AM
Does anyone else have trouble coping with Email. In my case it is not the volume, but more that I find it hard to find thing buried in months worth of correspondence.

If I think I can find something in an email from a month ago, I will start to look for it, find something else (eg a job I should have done but have forgotten) and get sidetracked.

Simple answer is to delete anything you dont need, file everything systematically - but that is too much like hard work. Any thoughts, suggestions .....

GregAld
09-03-08, 09:04 AM
Are you using microsoft outlook? if so check out Xobni. (http://xobni.com)
It is an awesome help with my inbox
greg

blueroo
09-03-08, 01:31 PM
Xobni looks like a huge distraction and timesink. I want to spend less time in my inbox, not more. I want only the most relevant information and no more. I don't know what possible use statistics about how frequently you email me are. Xobni has lots of flashy doodads, but it doesn't do anything any other mail client can't do with the exception of showing you some pointless graphs and a photograph.

Honestly, the answer is to categorize and file everything either manually or with automated filters. Old emails should either be deleted or out of view and searchable. There really is no way around this. I'm not sure what hard work has to do with it.

hillzy
09-03-08, 02:56 PM
Personally, I categorize my e-mails into different folders by subject, or depending on what stage the task is in, i.e. Pending, not started, needs to be paid, deferred, completed etc.

For example, I'm running a support group at school for students with ADHD, so all correspondence between me and my counsellor goes under 'Support Group'. Therefore, I know that anything relating to that topic that I need to find, will be in that folder. I also organize in ascending order by date, which makes things alot easier too.

If it's super important, and I know that it's something that absolutely cannot be forgotten about, I print it off and put it in my binder.

sarek
09-05-08, 05:13 PM
In outlook I organise everything in folders and subfolders. The real trick is not to create too many of those, because if you do you get ambiguities.
Outlook also has a handy rules function allowing you to set preprogrammed actions based on the message.

ADB1
09-06-08, 01:14 AM
Thanks Sarek GregAld, blueroo & hillzy

The real trick is not to create too many of those, because if you do you get ambiguities.

Ah- i have too many and they are doing different things. For example projectA conflicts with Action Required.


Outlook also has a handy rules function allowing you to set preprogrammed actions based on the message.
But it doesn't deall with sent mail very well. I find going down my sent mail is like reading a dictionary - keeps changing subject.

I have created rules for messages that I know I dont need for ages - meeting requests, things with timesheet in subj lines. It is easier to delete stuff if it.

Some things that have helped a bit


Use search folders so you can see stuff to: and from: particular people. Then it is easy to see "email x has been answered so delete it"
Spend time reading a mail for a 2nd time to see if there is info of a longer term. Is there a better place (eg project wiki) to store it.
Use categories - but I am not systematic about this

busyhermit
09-06-08, 01:11 PM
I use Mozilla Thunderbird. I have a list of folders where I organize emails that don't require action but have information in them that I may need later. There's a TON of stuff there, but sorted into enough folders so that things are fairly easy to find. Sometimes I still have to use the "search messages" function, though.

If something still has to be acted on, I leave it in my Inbox and change the color of the message to indicate how important it is (I don't know if Outlook lets you color your messages). The most urgent matters are red. Other classifications are blue, green, etc. But the most important thing is that the only things in my inbox are things that require action - otherwise it gets out of control. If the matter's been taken care of, out it goes!

HighFunctioning
09-21-08, 02:39 PM
If you're using Outlook, it's message rules are quite powerful. To get the full power though, you may need to use multiple rules for each overall automated action. I have rules that categorize each email, where each email may have multiple categories assigned. There are then rules that perform actions on the messages based upon what categories they belong to. The search folders idea is also very good.

DotwithADD
09-21-08, 03:20 PM
I use Mozilla Thunderbird. I have a list of folders where I organize emails that don't require action but have information in them that I may need later. There's a TON of stuff there, but sorted into enough folders so that things are fairly easy to find. Sometimes I still have to use the "search messages" function, though.

If something still has to be acted on, I leave it in my Inbox and change the color of the message to indicate how important it is (I don't know if Outlook lets you color your messages). The most urgent matters are red. Other classifications are blue, green, etc. But the most important thing is that the only things in my inbox are things that require action - otherwise it gets out of control. If the matter's been taken care of, out it goes!

MS Office Outlook 2007 does let you use color to categorize your messages, but I don't use it as much... I just try to "flag" the ones I see (I create filters so that the messages are automatically put in the correct folder) that are filtered, so I won't forget. Because once I read a message, it's no longer in the unread folder but is filtered to go directly to a folder. So, if I flag it, I can just check my "flagged" folders. Unfortunately, I forget to do this.

My problem is when I get forwarded emails... some I don't keep, I just delete them. But I don't want to tell others that I'm not accepting any, because some that I get, I like and want to save. But if I flag a message to read another day, if it's really important and/or I'm really interested in reading it later, I'll add a reminder to the flag.

busyhermit
09-23-08, 10:31 AM
I also wanted to mention that, in Thunderbird anyways, you can click Edit-Find-Search Messages, to locate messages. I have hundreds of message saved in different folders, and don't always know what I did with things. Even if you don't know what was in the title, or the sender's email address, you can search for a keyword that you know was in the body.

justcallmedorie
09-23-08, 01:26 PM
All I can say is thank goodness for gmail's search function - after reading I just archive and don't worry about it unless I need it later, then just search by keyword and (usually) find it with little to no difficulty. I use Outlook at work but find the rules mostly too tedious to bother with, however I have folders set up to receive the read messages so I can keep my inbox tidy - that's about the only tidy thing I've got-:). I do use the "labels" function in gmail and the "filters" (sort of the same as Outlook's "rules" but simpler, at least for me) to keep all from hitting the inbox, 'cause if it's in the inbox, I've GOTTA read it-lol.

ADB1
09-26-08, 03:03 AM
Thanks. Searching is part of the answer. Outlook 2007 is better so that is good.

The problem with searching is that you end up withn a lot of false matches - lots of copies for the same message where people have quoted mmessages getting longer and longer.

I think I need a session from time to time deciding
- has this job been done now / information been processed
- if it has useful info, is there a better place to store it.

justcallmedorie
09-26-08, 05:18 AM
Ah, but gmail threads the missives in the same way that replies to a thread are done and it makes it easier for me to find things. Outlook I have to use at work and the search function on it pretty much sucks for me. I guess it's just what each of our brains deal with best. :)

AnalogDog
11-03-08, 01:28 AM
I use Thunderbird, and do heavy filtering on incoming mail. The first filter takes all Ads and puts them in a folder that deletes them in 7 days. My Podcasts get deleted in 30 days after downloading the mp3s.

other folders have different deletion rates. I find that auto deletion of emails and filtering of the inbox are key to my survival with email.