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My way of processing email to OF on iPhone - inbox zero style (requires IMAP email) Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I've been using this method for a long time, even before my OmniFocus and iPhone days. In my case, I have four folders for triaging stuff out of my inbox: Action for things I need to action later (which I use more or less as described above), Info for things that I need to keep handy for quick reference, Reading for things that i want to read later, but are not necessarily actionable, and Archive for everything else (my Archive folder is actually a small set of sub-folders based on areas of responsibility -- I keep them fairly high-level such as Work, Personal, etc).

When I'm reviewing my e-mail on my iPhone, I basically leave the item in the Inbox if it's something I plan to action by the end of the business day (ie, as soon as I return to my desk or shortly thereafter), otherwise it gets filed into one of the other folders -- Action, Info, Reading or Archive. I have tasks in my Daily Review to check my Action folder each morning, during which time I triage those items and turn them into OF actions or projects. I use separate recurring actions in OF to remind me to check the Info and Reading folders on a less regular basis (mostly for cleanup purposes).

I've been toying with an Applescript that can run as a scheduled task (via cron) to automatically transmogrify my "Action" folder into my OF inbox as items show up in there. As a concept it's actually not too difficult to do -- it's really just a modification of the Applescript for handling received items -- but the daily review of the Action folder is actually a useful part of my workflow; on my iPhone I rarely take the time to go through an e-mail in detail -- I can usually figure out if it's something that should go on today's schedule within the first couple of lines, and if so, then I toss it into the Action folder to review later.
 
Good to hear how other people work.

I find only looking at the Smart Mailbox and using the in box as my archive v useful. My fingers were aching with all the moving to 'archive folders'! I have completely given that up as a redundant practice as anything I might need can always be searched for within the in box.

I wonder if iPhone OS 4.0 will have anything helpful for email management / Omnifocus?

I understand it will have one consolidated mailbox view (great! as I operate 4 emails)

If we can move emails and keep that 'see original' link - it would be fantastic..

Last edited by Casper TFG; 2010-04-13 at 01:33 AM..
 
It's a great tip. Thank you for posting.

I found out why I thought there was a way for rules to process messages in a mailbox. If you create a smart mailbox, then you can have it look at all messages in a mailbox. Unfortunately that preference is not available in the rules section.
 
Glad you like it.

I was seriously struggling with my inability to LEAVE my email in box.

Now there is very little thats ever in it and its pretty quick work to empty it (The Smart Mailbox that is) except perhaps monday mornings! :rolleyes:

It allows me to try to 'live' more in Omnifocus and not in my email inbox.

And NO ARCHIVE folder filing! (saves my Carpal Tunnel fingers!)

(if my inbox gets too big I can just buy more for my IMAP email provider)

Here below is a screen shot of my Mac Mail configuration (it cuts off where my named IMAP mailboxes start for privacy reasons) and the "Action or STOF" (send to Omnifocus) Smart Mailbox 'conditionals'
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Last edited by Casper TFG; 2010-04-13 at 05:32 AM..
 
One trick I've started using for moving to archive is:
once you move a message to a location, you can hit
command+option+T
to move the selected email to the last location... or Archive.

For me to process an email into OmniFocus I hit:
control+command+option+T (clip to OmniFocus)
command+option+T (move to archive)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casper TFG View Post
I find only looking at the Smart Mailbox and using the in box as my archive v useful. My fingers were aching with all the moving to 'archive folders'! I have completely given that up as a redundant practice as anything I might need can always be searched for within the in box.
I use the very handy Mail Act-On Plugin to triage my mail quickly. It lets you set keyboard shortcuts to trigger any rules that you want, so right off the bat I use CTRL+A for Archive, CTRL+F for Action (Follow up), CTRL+E for Info (simply because E is on the left hand and I is on the right), and CTRL+R for Reading. As I go through my inbox on my desktop I just whack those keys to file things away as I go, and since these trigger rules there can be additional intelligence built-in -- for instance the CTRL+A looks at address book groups and subject keywords to file into the appropriate archive folder (ie, Personal, Work, etc).

Since I generally begin and end every day in front of my Mac, it's pretty easy to get the bulk of things taken care of at the desktop. Then, throughout the day filing a few things from the iiPhone itself isn't too big of a deal.

The problem in my case is that Smart Folders are only available in the Mac Mail app and not in web-based e-mail or on my iPhone or iPad. I therefore like to keep the Inbox itself as empty as possible rather than relying on a Smart Folder.

Quote:
I wonder if iPhone OS 4.0 will have anything helpful for email management / Omnifocus? I understand it will have one consolidated mailbox view (great! as I operate 4 emails)
At this point the unified inbox and threaded conversations are about all that's there. However you can also now move messages between mailboxes in different e-mail accounts, which is also useful for those who manage several accounts.

In my case, I gave up and consolidated all of my e-mail accounts into a single account a long time ago in order to have a unified inbox and a single folder structure to manage. Both Mail.app and the iPhone/iPad let you specify multiple "from" addresses for a generic IMAP account, so I just select the address when sending out e-mail messages or replies, but otherwise have the simplicity of not only a single inbox, but a single folder structure for ALL of my mail.

Quote:
If we can move emails and keep that 'see original' link - it would be fantastic..
You should already be able to do that. The message:// link in e-mails is based on a unique identifier within the message header itself, so it remains consistent no matter where you put the
message, which device you use to move/file the messages or even which other computer you access them on. I have both an iMac and a Macbook and my "See Original" links work across both machines. In fact you could even delete the local copy of the message and re-download it from your mail server and the "See Original" link should continue to work.

The only real limitation of the iPhone/iPad in this regard is that you can't create the link from a message. Once you have it linked from the desktop it should remain linked regardless of what you do with the message.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
One trick I've started using for moving to archive is:
once you move a message to a location, you can hit
command+option+T
to move the selected email to the last location... or Archive.

For me to process an email into OmniFocus I hit:
control+command+option+T (clip to OmniFocus)
command+option+T (move to archive)

YES (for me its simply back to the In Box)

And

YES! (for me its Command Return)

Read new emails can simply be cleared by the action of toggling away from the smart mailbox and back again!

Last edited by Casper TFG; 2010-04-13 at 06:08 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdh View Post
The only real limitation of the iPhone/iPad in this regard is that you can't create the link from a message. Once you have it linked from the desktop it should remain linked regardless of what you do with the message.
I appreciate that moves to OF made on a Mac always have that original link.. The whole point in this thread is to present a workaround to get over the fact that moves to OF made via an iPhone do not.

This is about pre sorting of emails on iPhone for easy later addition to OF. I am often away from my desk (50% of my time) so I when I am looking at email on my iPhone - I REALLY want to avoid duplicated work as much as possible - ie - looking at the same emails again when I get back home. And If I do have to do that, I want to have at least achieved some pre sorting to speed things up and to get at least 'part filed away' to limit my worry..Like a good little GTDer should..

I will have to study your workflow to see if I can grab anything from it - thanks for sharing!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casper TFG View Post
I appreciate that moves to OF made on a Mac always have that original link.. The whole point in this thread is to present a workaround to get over the fact that moves to OF made via an iPhone do not.
Perhaps we're misunderstanding each other, but my point is that the link is preserved when you move messages around, regardless of what you use to move them around with -- you don't lose the links that have already been created in OF on your desktop merely because you use the iPhone to file your messages.

You can't create the link from the iPhone, but then again you can't really "move" messages into OF on the iPhone either, unless you count copy-and-paste, which isn't really "moving" the message but rather creating a new task. In my case, I simply don't bother -- any tasks that need to be created from e-mail messages are always done on the desktop. Generally if the e-mail message is so urgent that I need to create task for it right away, then I should be dealing with it right away. Everything else can usually wait until my next morning review anyway.

In a sense that does means that I basically have to look at things a second time in my "Action" folder, but in reality the first pass on the iPhone is a very quick decision to decide whether it's something I can do while mobile or not -- generally if I have to think about it for more than 20 seconds it's pretty obviously an action item for later and can be deferred for further review.

Quote:
This is about pre sorting of emails on iPhone for easy later addition to OF. I am often away from my desk (50% of my time) so I when I am looking at email on my iPhone - I REALLY want to avoid duplicated work as much as possible - ie - looking at the same emails again when I get back home. And If I do have to do that, I want to have at least achieved some pre sorting to speed things up and to get at least 'part filed away' to limit my worry..Like a good little GTDer should..
We definitely both agree on that, which is why I use a similar folder methodology to yours. The only major difference is that you leave everything in your inbox and use a Smart Folder whereas I clear mine out as much as possible. Since Smart Folders don't work on the iPhone, I really don't want to be looking at my full inbox or "archived" stuff every time I open it on my iPhone, hence my use of 'file-and-forget' archiving folders.

Other than OmniFocus itself of course, Mail Act-On is the most useful utility for my daily mailbox triage, as it allows me to trigger complex sets of rules on selected items with a single keystroke. I even use a custom Applescript for clipping to OF as I find the clip-o-tron includes too much information and I can't be bothered going back to the mouse to highlight text before clipping. The custom script simply grabs the subject, the link and the sender, which is all I need about 98% of the time. On the rare occasions that I need to add more information in the notes (ie, a phone number for when I'm on my iPhone), I can simply pick that up and add it during my morning review the next day.

To break it down, my daily e-mail workflow is basically as follows:
  • Morning Review, in front of my iMac or MacBook:
    • Review my E-Mail Inbox for any new mail that has come in.
    • Action anything that can be dealt with right away.
    • Clip to OF for anything that needs further action later
    • File anything else under Info, Reading or Archive as appropriate (this is all done using shortcut keys with Mail Act-on -- I barely touch the mouse at all).
    • Review my Action folder and clip everything to OF and then file those items into my Archive folders.
    • Review my OF Inbox
  • Throughout the day, on my iMac or MacBook when checking my e-mail:
    • Action it if it can be done right away and the file it away
    • Clip it to OF if it needs further action later
    • File it into Info, Reading or Archive it it's a non-action item.
  • Throughout the day, on my iPhone or iPad when checking my e-mail:
    • Action it and file it if it can be done right away (usually only for quick replies or phone calls)
    • Leave it in my inbox if it needs more action when I get back to my desk but is something that I plan to do today.
    • File it into the "Action" folder if it's something that needs to go into OF as a bigger project or longer-term task (ie, beyond today)
    • File it into Info, Reading or Archive it it's a non-action item.
  • End of Day Review, back in front of my iMac or MacBook:
    • Triage Inbox as per morning review.

Following my morning and evening reviews, my actual "inbox" folder ends up completely empty.
 
Hmmmmmm.. I need a cup of coffee and some peace and quiet to study all that!

Thanks for sharing..

Does it all work OK with Snow Leopard?
 
 


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