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-   -   Dealing with email on the go (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=17093)

hypotyposis 2010-08-02 03:51 PM

Dealing with email on the go
 
Hi all,

This might not be strictly OF-relevant, but since it has a potential of being an OF-related question, and since the gurus of Mac productivity dwell in this forum (I'm sure Merlin Mann must be lurking to pick Curt's and whpalmer's brains), I thought I'd ask. As always, I'll be grateful and interested in all your thoughts and solutions!

My email workflow right now depends on my MacBook Pro. I have 4 email accounts that dump in there (I know, I'd love to cut down, but 2 are institutional and I can't do anything about them), which of course will be oh so much nicer when iOS4 brings unitary inbox to the iPad.
Anyway, I'm using a combination of MailTags and MailActon (MailTags pretty much only in conjunction with the script to send an awaiting reply action item to OF) to deal with my email. I have a folder hierarchy mirroring my general set-up (@Action, @Action support, @Waiting For, ..., active projects [1 folder each], etc.). When I empty my inbox during my daily review, I extensively use MailActon to move messages to the appropriate folders. I really like this workflow, in the sense that a) it gives me great satisfaction while emptying the inbox (it feels like I'm appropriately classifying the emails and getting them "in my system") and b) it works as effectively as my physical filing system in terms of retrieving information.
That said, the folders are not mirrored in any cloud or virtual location away from my MBPro (including for my MobileMe account).
Now that I'm switching the majority of my workflow to the iPad for anything but the most CPU-demanding applications, I would however like to be able to integrate my email processing with the new platform.
I could have done more to integrate my email workflow to OF on he laptop; I have resisted this so far, as the arrangement with Mail was very satisfying. I'm interested in hearing of any ideas or solutions you might be using to deal with this type of workflow on the iPad, including of course greater integration of email with OF.

Thanks!

curt.clifton 2010-08-03 07:32 PM

I went bare bones with my email system when I got my iPad. Like you, I have multiple accounts to juggle. In each account I created folders, on the server, for Archive, @Action, @Quicken (for bills, receipts, etc.), and @OfflineArchive.

Every email eventually lands in one of the archive folders. Messages in Archive remain on the server for access from the cloud. Messages in @OfflineArchive are moved to an OfflineArchive folder on my Mac when I happen to do my evening review there (mostly these are mailing list messages). Every 6 months, I'm moving the messages from 6-12 months ago out of the archive folders and into EagleFiler.

The @Action messages get processed into OF in my evening review. The @Quicken messages get processed once a week or so. In either case, once I've processed the message, it goes to Archive.

I use some custom scripts and FastScripts on the desktop to push the messages around using hot keys. I also use some smart folders to show all the @Action folders from every account in a single group, and similarly for my other folders.

This design works great on the Mac and OK on the iPad. I still have to walk through the different @Action folders on the iPad, and copy-and-paste email text into new OF actions. It isn't ideal, but I think it's the best we can do at the moment.

I've given up on automating waiting - from email, and did so long before getting my iPad. Everything I'd tried was too fragile and I realized that I wasn't gaining enough in automation. So, now I just Quick Enter a new @waiting action after I send the email.

hypotyposis 2010-08-03 09:04 PM

Thanks a lot, Curt, as usual! I hadn't given much thought about having my folders on the server (vs. local) because MobileMe tends to suck at speed, but I'm going to give it a try following your advice. It's always great to learn from your workflow, thanks for sharing!

P.S.–Finally downloaded OF iPad! Yipee!

magobaol 2010-08-08 11:16 PM

[QUOTE=curt.clifton;82547]I've given up on automating waiting - from email, and did so long before getting my iPad. Everything I'd tried was too fragile and I realized that I wasn't gaining enough in automation. So, now I just Quick Enter a new @waiting action after I send the email.[/QUOTE]

Hi,
for this specific purpose I created one e-mail account with three different aliases, named [email]dt@mydomain.com[/email] (for DevonThink), [email]of@mydomain.com[/email] (for not waiting for action for Omnifocus) and [email]ofw@mydomain.com[/email] (for waiting for action); I set up mail rules that launch three different apple scripts to send the e-mails to the right program and also with the right parameters (I'm not so smart with Apple Script yet, so I have two separate scripts for waiting for and not waiting for actions).
Wherever I do my work, I simply send myself an e-mail to the right address: this could be a forward of an e-mail I received, a ccn to ofw@ of an e-mail I sent, or a link from the browser sent to dt@ for something I want to keep in my archive.
When I open my mail client on the mac (that happens at least once a day) all e-mails sent to these address are automatically processed.

Bye,
Francesco

hypotyposis 2010-08-09 07:54 PM

Thanks for the tips, Francesco. A beautifully intricate workflow! Now out of curiosity, because I haven't actually looked at it in some time, is there a way to integrate DevonThink with iPhone/iPad/cloud?

magobaol 2010-08-10 10:26 AM

[QUOTE=hypotyposis;83083]Thanks for the tips, Francesco. A beautifully intricate workflow! [/QUOTE]

Well, indeed this workflow is more to help the capture that not the filing, since when the e-mails go to OF or DT I need to process them.
This way I just got over the iPad limits and simplified the capturing (I can send e-mail from any device).

[QUOTE=hypotyposis;83083]Now out of curiosity, because I haven't actually looked at it in some time, is there a way to integrate DevonThink with iPhone/iPad/cloud?[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately it seems not, and I don't follow the DT forums so much to know if there is some users tips to get DT in the cloud.
To be honest, I don't know DT very much.

I'm guessing that, since you can use DT even to just index your files, and not phisically hold them, you can have a robust archive on the mac, and still put all your well-organized folder in a dropbox account, to have them on the iPad.
I'm going to study DT and archiving these days, so maybe in a couple of week I can have some more useful hint.

Bye,
Francesco

hypotyposis 2010-08-10 12:29 PM

[QUOTE=magobaol;83157]
I'm going to study DT and archiving these days, so maybe in a couple of week I can have some more useful hint.
[/QUOTE]

Great, I'm looking forward to hearing about that, and thanks again for sharing your workflow!


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