I’ve decided to try and make a clean break with my work email. For person email I’ve used Gmail for the last 4 or 5 years since it was in alpha and the search system makes it very usable and I’ve never looked for any other email service.
At work I use outlook like the rest of the corporate world is hopelessly tied to. As far as Microsoft products go outlook is actually not a bad piece of software.
Unlike my personal email account, about which I am quite relaxed, my inbox at work seems more like a never ending to-do list, so Ive decided to start a GTD-Inspired inbox system so that there is never any email in my inbox!
I’ve used inspiration from the system from a couple of sites but essentially I have placed all mail (6000-odd items) into an archive folder, created a hold folder which I will use to store info that I will need in the next couple of days eg. flight reservation, shipping tracking numbers, that kind of thing. Finally there is a respond folder which are emails which require a response but the responses require me to complete a few actions before I respond such as a phone call.
Other than that all email that I don’t think I will need I delete, info I may need goes in the archive and anything which requires a short response I am aiming to reply immediate, hopefully killing it off as a to-do item.
A good warning which I am trying to heed from the lifehacker article I referenced is to mark the response emails as unread so that your empty inbox doesn’t give you the false illusion that you have nothing to do.
Do you manage your inbox in an alternative manner than just letting everything pile up? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.