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The adventures of a GTD follower – my email setup

GTD email setup Well, in the short series of posts related to my GTD adventures, here comes a very little one, about my email setup. I use Apple’s Mail.app, I was an Evolution / Kmail user on the Linux world for years, so the quite spartan interface was no problem for me.

The actual setup is like you see in the left picture: I have only 4 folders (or mailboxes, as Mail.app calls them), corresponding to 4 processes I need to apply to each message that comes into my Inbox.

So, here’s the drill: anything that comes into Inbox and must be asnwered ASAP, but it takes longer than 2 minutes, goes into “Answer ASAP” folder.

Anything that must be done sometime, but I don’t know yet if I would do it and how, goes into “Sometime Maybe” folder.

All the other stuff, including personal meesages, business messages, clients or employees, friends or other people I know, are hierarchically organized into “Reference” folder (the structure is not shown).

The “Waiting for” folder is used for informations that needs other’s actions to complete. Including quotation requests, business opportunities, or delegated tasks. Whenever I delegate a task to somebody, I BCC my self, and the resulting message is moved into the “Waiting For” folder. I know about Mail Tags, but I found it a little bit heavier for my needs. I don’t use email so much, that it could take over the “normal” GTD application, and I don’t want to get there either ;-). Mail is just a part of my daily activity and I don’t want to become one of the largest. So, keeping it simple and merciless, makes my day “email hassle free”, and my mind “like water” ;-).

In other words: it just works.

[tags]GTD, email, Mail.app[/tags]

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This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Dragos, let me tell you about my e-mail setup.

    I use e-mail a lot but I try not to let it run my daily life. Therefore, I keep a very simple system.

    Basically, I only have 3 folders:
    1. incoming mail
    2. archive – received
    3. archive – sent
    That’s it!

    It works as follows. Incoming e-mail never sits in the incoming mail tray for more than one day (usually much less). I deal with the e-mail (reply or print or put in archive or delete). It almost always get filed into the “archive – received” right away, AFTER I have decided on the next action and put the appropriate “stuff” (tasks, reminders, projects, etc.) into my GTD system.

    If I send mail or reply to mail, it gets moved right into “archive – sent” and if I need to track the outgoing mail, I put it on my @WaitingFor list in my GTD system, and/or I file a physical copy in my paper-based reference system or tickler.

    Hmm, maybe I should blog about this setup! 🙂

  2. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. How do I ever find stuff again in my huge mail archive? Simple. I use Copernic Desktop Search, which indexes and searches my mail as well as my digital files perfectly!

  3. Sounds pretty simple, but in my system I always have a clean Inbox immediately after each mail batch download. I din’t said in the post but I check email only three or four times per day, and after each check I remain with an empty Inbox.

    And then, when I’m into just doing stuff, I just digg into my Answer ASAP emails.

    I think each have its own process approach. And that’s nice, diversity is always a good thing.

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