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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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