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Email & OF Workflow Integration Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Greetings everyone,

I'm new to OF, but a year old in GTD years, and with the shift to OF am thinking about ways to integrate the email & OF portions of workflow.

Previously I used Entourage for GTD, and since it's a single application, all aspects of the workflow were naturally integrated.

Moving away from Entourage, I'm now using two separate applications and wonder how people handle the email-OF integration?

For example, if an email comes in that generates an action, I can use clip-o-tron to put it in my OF inbox. But then comes the question of what to do with the original mail?

Similarly, I might have initiated an action, and am now waiting on a response. Where do you archive the email (CC or BCC to yourself) while waiting-for a response?

So far I've handled this by creating three folders in Apple Mail: 'Action', 'Waiting For' & 'Deferred', and move the email as appropriate.

Another related issue is what to do with a message when actions are 'complete'. At that point I might want to archive them into OF and delete them from Apple Mail.

All this works, but it seems like a duplication of effort: email goes from email inbox to OF inbox, and from that point actions are duplicated in the two systems.

It would be really nice if OF had an AppleMail plugin that allowed manipulating messages such that they could 'follow' the actions they were part of.

How are others dealing with this?

Regards,
 
Mac OS 10.5 (I believe) added support for mail-message URLs; on those versions of the OS, the clip-o-tron adds a link back to the message to the note field.

Since I sync my OmniFocus database to my phone, I let Mail be the archive/filing cabnet for my messages, and use that link to bounce back to them as needed from OmniFocus...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Mac OS 10.5 (I believe) added support for mail-message URLs; on those versions of the OS, the clip-o-tron adds a link back to the message to the note field.

Since I sync my OmniFocus database to my phone, I let Mail be the archive/filing cabnet for my messages, and use that link to bounce back to them as needed from OmniFocus...
So then you don't have any particular organisation for the messages in Mail? E.g. one big folder for 'active' (in OF), and other folders (presumably) for long-term reference material?

I'm surprised this hasn't come up before, or perhaps it has and thus the muted response here. (Searching on such common terms isn't terribly useful) With so many of my actions involving email, either as origins of actions or part of one or more responses, some level of workflow integration would be useful. Short of a plugin, some discipline and best practices are what I need to find.

Cheers,

- Steve
 
Inspired by Merlin, every email that isn't junk goes into a single Archive folder for me. All the actions are in OF, courtesy of the clip-o-tron.

I can use search in Mail or links from OF to find any messages that I need. Once a year the mails get moved to EagleFiler (89,822 messages stored, and counting).

I switched to this with some trepidation--I was a serious organizer of email with dozens of folders and some tags on top of that. It works great. Looking at my Mail is no longer such a source of stress and I haven't lost anything that I needed. In fact, I think it's easier to find old messages this way.

YMMV, of course, but this has been a happy system change for me for the last year and a half.

Cheers,

Curt
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunez View Post
So then you don't have any particular organisation for the messages in Mail? E.g. one big folder for 'active' (in OF), and other folders (presumably) for long-term reference material?
Yep, this is essentially the approach I take - I have a some legacy folders I still file stuff into via mail rules, but as the search tools in Mac OS X have gotten better and better, I've felt less need to do the organization manually.

Honestly, I'd probably be better off if I entirely ripped out what manual organization I still have. The aforementioned mail rules are something of a horrifying spaghetti-tangle left over from my pre-GTD years. :-)
 
It sounds like we're coming from similar backgrounds. I have a well developed taxonomy for filing reference material, and I look at a single big archive box as just so chaotic, no better than leaving it all in the inbox. Spotlight does make it tempting though...

But that's reference material, there's still the working email. The most common use case, for me, is a 'waiting for' (and there are often a lot of them). Most of these will never be filed for reference, but if I delete it and keep the text in an action then I've got to compose a new email for a follow-up.

Not a huge deal I suppose, and if there some easy way to get an email back out of an action (short of copy & paste) it would be even better. Any AppleScript gurus know if this is possible?

Cheers,
- Steve
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunez View Post
But that's reference material, there's still the working email. The most common use case, for me, is a 'waiting for' (and there are often a lot of them). Most of these will never be filed for reference, but if I delete it and keep the text in an action then I've got to compose a new email for a follow-up.
Why delete it? Put it in an "in process" or "active" folder so it's out of your Inbox if that's your preference, and get back to it via the "Original Message" link from OF if you need it for a follow-up.
 
I have no organization whatsoever for email. Well, that's not technically true - I store all of the email for one year in one file. That's it. :)

When email comes into my email inbox, I look it over for possible actions, and enter those into my Omnifocus Inbox. (Or if I feel like immediately writing them tidily as properly phrased actions, I may enter them directly into the appropriate project, but usually not.)

If there's any likelihood that I'll need to refer to the email, I enter, into the Inbox item, enough information to allow me to search for the email. ("Interface bug reported by John Smith, email, 2/12/10" If John Smith sends me a lot of mail, I may also add some of the subject line.)

Then I dump the email into the archive for the year. If I need to refer to the email later, Omnifocus contains enough information to let me find it.

Sn my system, an email is unread, or it's in the archive and I never need to look at it again unless OmniFocus tells me to. If I read it without immediately processig it into Omnifocus or determining that it doesn't have anything to process, I mark it Unread again. (This isn't supposed to happen, but of course it happens all the time.)

I just don't find it useful to organize email. One email may point to several actions. Several emails may point to one action. An email may trigger actions in different projects. And every time I go to the email, I have to re-read the thing, even if I may have extracted the actions six times already. This tangle makes sorting my email not worth it. I'd rather do the sorting inside Omnifocus.

This does mean that I sometimes have actions that are entirely about emails.

("Review Jane Jones' email, 2/14/10, for more detail on John Smith interface bug."
"Respond to Fred Williams' question about conference date, email, 2/16/10."
"Follow up on my email to Howard Appleton about conference date, sent 2/18/10.")

That's fine with me. The few seconds that it takes to search for the relevant email in the archive is more than made up for by eliminating the constant scanning of emails and their contents that I would otherwise be doing. (Or, if I wouldn't be doing that, then sorting the email seems pointless.)

Gardener
 
 


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