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Looking for good Inbox management methodology [closed]

Looking for good Inbox management methodology [closed]

I get a couple of hundred emails a day for work. Many are part of an email conversation that spans several days or even weeks, so I'm loathe to just delete them outright, as I might need them for reference at some point in the near future. The consequence is that I have thousands of emails in my Inbox alone, most of which is no longer relevant. I use Thunderbird, so I have some organizing features available to me, but what I really need is a good, overall methodology for email management. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

Asked by: Guest | Views: 82
Total answers/comments: 2
Guest [Entry]

"A combination of various interpretations of the ""zero inbox"" strategy combined with the Get Things Done (GTD) process.

Self-Discipline: Only view your inbox a few times a day - when you start work, shortly before you finish work and a couple of times in between.
Mailfile organization: Have two ""special"" folders in your mail file: basket and soft-trash. Then have folders work (and maybe private) with various sub-folders for projects / topics.
Process: Whenever you open your inbox, deal with all mails, starting at the top and not finishing until the inbox is zero. Depending on the amount of mail, go over the inbox iteratively until empty.

Possible actions per mail are:

delete immediately to the trash of the mailbox (things you definitely do not need anymore)
move into soft-trash folder (things you might need in the short future)
move into basket folder (things you want to keep)
move into a dedicated folder beneath either work or private folders (things you want to keep and are important enough)

Difference between basket and dedicated folders beneath work

Try to put everything into basket and just use the search feature. But maybe there are certain topics / projects / issues that you want to group together and be able to view in their entirety - so you put them in a appropriately named folder.

Another tip for the basket folder - depending on your mail application - is to use tags for enhanced search features.

What to do with the soft-trash folder

Delete mails from the soft-trash folder regularly, e.g. mails that are older than 3 months. This gives you a certain amount of backlog mails when you find out, that you need that mail that you deleted 2 days ago, b/c you thought you would never need it again..."
Guest [Entry]

"Inbox Zero is hands down the best answer, as Manni suggested. After you are done with that check out Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Paperback)

It will help you refine your new found superpowers

To summarize the GTD process:

When processing a bucket, a strict work-flow is followed:

Start at the top.
Deal with one item at a time.
Never put anything back into 'in'.
If an item requires action do one:

Do it (if it takes less than two minutes)
Delegate it
Defer it

If an item does not require action, do one:

File it for reference
Throw it away
Incubate it for possible action later

If it takes under two minutes to do something, it should be done immediately. The two-minute rule is a guideline, encompassing roughly the time it would take to formally defer the action.

See the Wikipedia article for more."