This has been a quiet week at work: no big projects, few meetings, several coworkers gone. In fact, I'm working from home today because UPS needs my signature for some damned thing I ordered. But that's another story.
This week I've had a chance to really catch my breath, catch up in things, and finally close in on having empty inboxes for both my personal and work e-mail.
To do this, I needed three things:
- Time. It took the better part of a few days to plow through what I had and figure out how what might actually work.
- Search. Between the search capabilities built into Thunderbird and Google Desktop Search, I've decided to abandon my religious filing of email into a custom crafted hierarchy of mail folders. It simply takes too much time and I realized that I just don't need to refer to things that way very often. I still have a lot of mail filtered into project specific folders automatically, but anything that ends up in my Inbox will simply get moved to a folder called archive as soon as I've dealt with it. My Inbox is now reserved for two things: (a) items I've not yet seen and which aren't covered by one of my filters, and (b) items I need to act on.
- Filters. I've created a few filters in Thunderbird that help a lot. They're pictured at the right. They help to find, prioritize, and organize my mail. The "14+ Days Old" filter was most useful in getting things under control. I'd select all those messages, mark them as read, and move them to archive. I still have them available if I need to find 'em later, but they no longer clutter my mind.
As of this moment, there are 6 items in my Yahoo! Inbox and 8 in my personal Inbox. I'm going to try this GMail-like "archive-only" approach to managing my Inbox for a month or so to see how it shakes out. But so far it feels far more efficient and I don't think I've really sacrificed much to get it.
As a side note, the "Possible Meeting Notice" filter is my most recent creation. It's used to find those stupid meeting notices that Outlook/Exchange clients sent to non-Outlook users. I have a habit of letting them get lost in the pile if I don't act on them the minute they appear.
I haven't abandoned my big folder hierarchy, but I'm not longer manually moving messages around in it. I suspect I'll end up drastically pruning it before this experiment is over.
How do you deal with an assload of email?
Posted by jzawodn at April 28, 2005 01:33 PM