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  • Using email account as a collection tool etc

    Does anyone use a dedicated email account as a collection tool or for any other gtd / organistion purposes. Keeping it separate from your actual proper email account

    I am wanting to discover if there is s gtd use for email. I have an iPhone and find that emailing myself ideas etc is a good way of Collecting things but would like it separate from my proper email account . What do you do?

  • #2
    Originally posted by macgrl View Post
    Does anyone use a dedicated email account as a collection tool or for any other gtd / organistion purposes. Keeping it separate from your actual proper email account

    I am wanting to discover if there is s gtd use for email. I have an iPhone and find that emailing myself ideas etc is a good way of Collecting things but would like it separate from my proper email account . What do you do?
    Absolutely ! This was the first thing I did when I started reading the GTD book.

    I have an iPhone, Macbook and MobileMe email. Within the email system, I have defined an alias email account for myself. I have an email folder called 'Collector'. Then I have a rule that moves all emails for that alias into my Collector folder.

    I can collect everywhere by emailing myself from my iPhone. I do it while I'm on my computer. And, when I'm on a client site's systems with an email account they have provided, I email from their account to my collector without ever having to back away from the computer.

    There are so many cool things I have found about this that I can't list them all.
    Consider that I can snap a photo with my iPhone and then email it to my collector to process later.
    When I receive an email, I may decide to move it to my collector for processing later.
    I can paste in images, links to websites, attach documents, it's really flexible.

    And of course it's completely synced across all my devices and backed up and searchable on them all too.

    * Actually, my email system was my first list manager and covered every part of GTD, with folders for each Context, Someday-Maybe, Tickler, Reference, everything.
    Last edited by pxt; 03-20-2011, 05:40 AM.

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    • #3
      Just a technical point too, you don't necessarily have to define an email alias.

      If your email address was macgrl@me.com, you could send emails to addresses like macgrl+collector@me.com. Email standards says that this should arrive just fine. This can be any word you like.

      So you can define a rule like this:
      When email address is macgrl+c@me.com then move to folder Collector.

      You can send as many of these as you like:
      macgrl+c@me.com
      macgrl+ref@me.com
      macgrl+tickler@me.com
      macgrl+sdmb@me.com
      etc.

      The original use for this was to help you identify the source of spam.
      So you could enter macgrl+amazon@me.com when you buy something from them and if you get spam addressed to that, then you know who sold you out!

      This is not an Apple thing, most email accounts support it, though I think not Outlook.
      Last edited by pxt; 03-20-2011, 05:52 AM.

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      • #4
        Omnifocus

        You can email stuff directly into omnifocus by using an email alias. I think other GTD software has this ability too.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pxt View Post
          Just a technical point too, you don't necessarily have to define an email alias.

          If your email address was macgrl@me.com, you could send emails to addresses like macgrl+collector@me.com. Email standards says that this should arrive just fine. This can be any word you like.

          So you can define a rule like this:
          When email address is macgrl+c@me.com then move to folder Collector.

          You can send as many of these as you like:
          macgrl+c@me.com
          macgrl+ref@me.com
          macgrl+tickler@me.com
          macgrl+sdmb@me.com
          etc.

          The original use for this was to help you identify the source of spam.
          So you could enter macgrl+amazon@me.com when you buy something from them and if you get spam addressed to that, then you know who sold you out!

          This is not an Apple thing, most email accounts support it, though I think not Outlook.
          That sounds really good! how does that work? does it work with any word after the first bit? does that work with any email address?

          Does this have a name?
          Last edited by macgrl; 03-21-2011, 02:34 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by macgrl View Post
            That sounds really good! how does that work? does it work with any word after the first bit? does that work with any email address?

            Does this have a name?
            Yes, you can use any word at all after the '+', as long as it's a valid character.
            All that's happening is that the email service is ignoring the word after the plus.

            You don't need to set anything up. Just try it. Send yourself a normal email, then send yourself another with a plus and a word. As long as your email provider is complying with standards, then it should just appear in your inbox as normal.

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            • #7
              Thank you. I will try it. I have mobileme but my main email is via my own domain name hosted by google aps.

              I was toying with the idea of setting up a different email address for each area that I wanted ( i can have upto 50 with google) such as online@xxxx.com or shopping@xxx.com

              That would mean alot of different email accounts - the way that you are suggesting is much better - i can have just one account gtd@xxx.com for all my gtd stuff so as to keep my normal email address clear .

              Many thanks

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              • #8
                Originally posted by macgrl View Post

                ...

                Does this have a name?
                I think it's called email sub-addressing.

                According to Wikipedia, MobileMe and Gmail use a plus sign and Yahoo! Mail Plus uses a minus sign.

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                • #9
                  wonderful, thank you.

                  I just love finding out something that I never even knew existed.

                  The question now is do i set up filtering on my gmail web based interface or on my mac?

                  I want to be able to access both and see the same emails in the same place?

                  Would I be correct in thinking that I should do it on gmail web page as this will then sync with apple mail so the labels and folders will be the same?

                  I would want the filtering at the source (gmail page) right?
                  Last edited by macgrl; 03-21-2011, 04:27 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Make sure you are not trying to blend Collect with Process+Organize. Collect is often best when it's raw Collect and you are not trying to force yourself into what is it? (process) and where does it belong? (organize).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
                      Make sure you are not trying to blend Collect with Process+Organize. Collect is often best when it's raw Collect and you are not trying to force yourself into what is it? (process) and where does it belong? (organize).
                      Thank you for your post kelstarrising,

                      I am trying to find a good way of collecting information when I am on the go and like the idea of emailing myself , of using a separate email address to just dump ideas and things that come to me etc so that I can process them later.

                      I must admit that I do sometimes find that there is an overlap between collection and process / organization - I must resist the urge to do that !

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                      • #12
                        I also use email to Collect on my iPhone. I do it all of the time. It goes into the same inbox as everything else I am collecting to be processed. Really convenient on the go when my phone is all I have with me. I also created myself as a contact with the name "Q Q" so I just type a Q on my phone and can quickly capture something to myself as an email.

                        Just watch the slippery slope blending collect/process/organize!

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                        • #13
                          What tips do you have to stop getting onto the slippery slope.

                          What hard lines can I impose on myself to not let the lines get blurred?


                          Do you think that it is a bad idea to have folders for the collection process (especially via email) as this means that I will have to do some processing in order to chose the right folder? Am I best off with just one big collection folder (bucket) in my email from which I can then chose what folder they would go in when I process them?

                          But would it be ok, for example to have a folder for me to email what I have spent in a day, so that I can then add that to a spreadsheet that I have? There is some processing involved but I know exactly what the purpose of my sending myself and email with the expenditure on is.
                          Many thanks

                          macgrl

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                          • #14
                            What tips do you have to stop getting onto the slippery slope.
                            Regular Weekly Reviews will tell you if it's working or not. If you're finding things in folders that you forgot to process, you'll know it's not working. Or if you have things on lists that require more thinking, you'll know it's not working. Not wanting to collect something because some part of you thinks you have to figure out what it is and where it goes in one of these special folders will tell you it's not working. Having clear edges between those 5 phases is one of those diamonds in the rough with GTD. If you really get that those are 5 distinctly different phases, and treat things that way, you'll be light years ahead of most people and their productivity. Most people blend collect/process/organize and wonder why they have amorphous blobs of stuff on whatever they have been calling To Do lists, and wonder why they are more repelled than attracted to their lists, work and choices.

                            What hard lines can I impose on myself to not let the lines get blurred?
                            It's not so much hard lines as having clear systems that are maximally efficient. I suspect you are using those folders you created as quasi To Do lists, yes? That's blurred to me.


                            Do you think that it is a bad idea to have folders for the collection process (especially via email) as this means that I will have to do some processing in order to chose the right folder? Am I best off with just one big collection folder (bucket) in my email from which I can then chose what folder they would go in when I process them?
                            It comes down to how many places you want to look when it comes time to process your input. I'd want those in as few places as possible.

                            But would it be ok, for example to have a folder for me to email what I have spent in a day, so that I can then add that to a spreadsheet that I have? There is some processing involved but I know exactly what the purpose of my sending myself and email with the expenditure on is.
                            Sure, if that makes sense to you and has clearly defined edges. That's different than random collection.

                            Many thanks macgrl
                            Sure thing!

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                            • #15
                              Your reply is very much appreciated thank you.

                              I will take the time to digest it properly when I get in from work.

                              Again many thanks

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