Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Managing Actionable Email - GTD and Evernote for Windows Manual

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Managing Actionable Email - GTD and Evernote for Windows Manual

    Hi everyone,

    I am trying, once more, to incorporate GTD in my life. Doing so, I have downloaded:GTD and Evernote for Windows Manual. I don't understand the section about Managing Actionable Email. I am currently using Outlook as my email program. Option two in the manual, page 20, specifies the creation of two folders: @Actions and @Waiting For inside the email program. Two questions:
    1. Where should I create these 2 folders? Inside inbox?
    2. What is the purpose of these folders?
    3. What am I supposed to do with the folders when I am getting my inbox to zero?
    4. And how to they relate to Evernote?

    Thank you for any insights!!! I will continue setting Evernote, I had tried The Secret Weapon, but found it lacking.
    Last edited by zff; 01-19-2014, 10:17 AM.

  • #2
    Skip the "GTD in your email" approach entirely, at least to begin with, would be my advise. Use a separate tool for your tasks. Whenever you read an email (process your email inbox), then write (yes, manually) an appropriately worded task in your GTD list tool.

    Having dual sets of Next lists and Waiting for lists can be a problem. I would not be happy with such a solution.

    As for your questions:

    1. Yes, or wherever you find it handy
    2 & 3. They are like a regular Next list and Waiting For list, except with only tasks that were originated from email, so you will have to manage those two extra lists in addition to your other Next and W/F lists.
    4. No idea. I suppose you could send (forward, cc) these emails to Evernote, if that is where you keep your ordinary Next and W/F lists, and integrate all of them properly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Folke,


      Thank you for your reply. If I understand correctly, managing email would be something like:

      1. get my email inbox to zero
      a. for any action that I need to do - write a new task in Evernote under the correct context (@Home, @Computer, etc)
      b. for any action that I am waiting for someone else to complete - write a task and file it in the waiting for folder in Evernote.
      2. delete any email I don't need.
      3. file all other emails in 2014 archive folder within Outllook

      Zamara

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by zff View Post
        2. delete any email I don't need.
        3. file all other emails in 2014 archive folder within Outllook
        My suggestion is file all e-mails in a single reference folder. I've been burned too many times by deleting e-mails I thought I didn't need only to have that come back to bite me later, sometimes years or even decades later. (Yes, I really have had to go back to emails over 15 years old to re-create some sequence of actions and provide proof.) So I keep all e-mail now and have for many, many years.

        I also found that separating by years was worthless. So one big folder works just fine.

        It took me a long time to get there, I used to file e-mails very specifically in many different folders but it's a lot harder to maintain that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi there. I use Evernote for GTD and have pretty much followed the suggestions in the GTD For Evernote guide so I thought I'd chime in.

          Originally posted by zff View Post
          1. Where should I create these 2 folders? Inside inbox?
          Yes, that's what the guide is suggesting: creating them as subfolders under the inbox. It's a handy place to have them because you probably look at your inbox regularly.

          Originally posted by zff View Post
          2. What is the purpose of these folders?
          That depends. If you choose to use the emails as the reminders, then you simply move actionable emails into the @Actions subfolder and copies of the ones you send and need to track into the @Waiting For folder. The latter can easily be accomplished by creating an Outlook rule that moves emails where you've BCC'd yourself into your @Waiting For folder. You then treat these folders like the rest of your lists and check them as often as needed.

          If you'd rather have everything in one list, you just take the extra step of creating an Evernote note with the next action or what you're waiting for in the title.

          If you're using the Evernote Windows client, it should install a "Send to Evernote" button in your Outlook client. You can create notes based on the emails, with the full content of the email in the note body. I do that, but still file the actual emails in subfolders in Outlook.

          Originally posted by zff View Post
          3. What am I supposed to do with the folders when I am getting my inbox to zero?
          Nothing -- when you move emails into these folders, they're out of your inbox.

          c4. And how to they relate to Evernote?[/QUOTE]

          That depends on which of the above methods you choose to use.

          I look through these folders during my weekly review and when they're no longer needed as support for next actions or waiting for's, I create reference folders by person, organization, or topic and store them there. I'm not one to dump them all into one single "reference" folder.

          As for saving emails, consider your own unique use case(s). Oogie may have a use for emails more than a decade old but I have never once needed an email for that long. Not even close. For me being organized means getting rid of stuff that's no longer needed. In fact, I sell document management software and I know a fair amount about document retention best practices -- in some cases hanging onto an email for too long can violate an organization's retention policies and create legal headaches. I'm not saying what Oogie is doing is wrong for her -- I have no basis on which to make that judgment -- but her approach may not necessarily be right for you. Check with your employer, or if you're self-employed you may want to check with a CPA re: financial documents and an attorney about the rest if you're at all concerned about it.

          Originally posted by zff View Post
          I will continue setting Evernote, I had tried The Secret Weapon, but found it lacking.
          I couldn't even get through the instructions for TSW. It was so ridiculously confusing and I thought, "Forget it!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you Folke, Oogiem and bbcmyers2112 for your suggestions,

            Taking them into account, I am going to try to work with my actions and waiting for directly in Evernote as notes. In Outlook I will use the Calendar and the Inbox (for processing email and for filing). If I don't like it in a month or so, I can always include the 2 folders @Actions and @Waiting for in Outlook.

            I was finally able to get one of my emails accounts to zero!!!! I am trying to do a daily review to get going. This is like the third or fourth time I have tried GTD. I know it works, but for some reason I can never master it at a basic level so I can keep moving forward. I will keep trying though. I really want to be fully productive and not fall off the wagon so often.

            Cheers,

            zff

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
              in some cases hanging onto an email for too long can violate an organization's retention policies and create legal headaches.
              Just one comment, if the document might cause a problem if kept for evidence then is the action to delete it really morally correct?

              I know where you are coming from with respect to official document retention, but as I said my own personal experience is that NOT having a document is far worst than having one.

              And yes, I've been involved in legal proceedings that did depend in part on who and the best documentation of the actions taken at various times.

              My tactic is to try to remain totally above reproach and never put anything down in e-mail or on paper or in any form of recordable conversation that I don't want to have plastered on the front page of the NY times. A former boss told me that many many years ago and I've found it's great advice even as technology changes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                Just one comment, if the document might cause a problem if kept for evidence then is the action to delete it really morally correct?
                No, destroying documents in a deliberate attempt to cover up wrongdoing isn't morally correct but that's an unfairly loaded question. A 2003 article from the American Bar Association's Business Section that sheds some light on what other sorts of "legal headaches" can arise from a "keep everything" approach to document management:

                "Another source of legal requirements for a company's document retention schedule may be found in its contracts. Many contracts require parties to either return or destroy documents relating to a feature of the transaction after a certain event has occurred."

                http://apps.americanbar.org/buslaw/b...02/arruda.html

                I think you would agree that conducting oneself in a legal, moral, and ethical manner includes complying with contractual obligations freely entered into. That's just one example where failing to destroy a document, whether hardcopy of electronic, may cause legal issues even if all parties are conducting themselves properly.

                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                My tactic is to try to remain totally above reproach and never put anything down in e-mail or on paper or in any form of recordable conversation that I don't want to have plastered on the front page of the NY times. A former boss told me that many many years ago and I've found it's great advice even as technology changes.
                Well, not that I like to make a big issue about declaring it -- I think people will rightly judge me by my actions and not my words -- but I agree that we should all conduct ourselves in a legal, moral, and ethical manner in all respects. Nevertheless there are many reasons why an organization's policies may prohibit a "keep everything forever" approach to email, not the least of which is the cost of storing electronic data.

                Enforcing document retention policies used to be nigh impossible in the days when paper was king but with the rise of electronic document management solutions it's getting far easier. I worked for an employer some years ago that used to conduct audits that included looking through the files on our company-provided laptops. For reasons both ethical and practical, I think people should comply with their employers' policies unless said policies are grossly immoral or illegal.

                That being said, I'm not on a crusade to stop people around the globe from hanging onto emails. In fact I hadn't planned on saying another word about it but in light of your question I felt it worthwhile to give clarificaton. Given that this is a GTD forum and not a document management forum, I'll leave it there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interesting article from the Bar Association. I find it morally reprehensible that had Arthur Anderson continued with the shredding policy they had in place we might not have found the wrongdoing. To me that means that the retention policy is wrong.

                  However, I am not and have never been in a financial institution.

                  In my case, concerning patents the minimum retention period is much much longer and as I said, I've never been involved in a case where I was required to delete stuff that was not classified. Classified documents come under totally different rules and don't travel via even encrypted e-mail anyway.

                  The cost to save electronic document is minuscule now. Even when it was expensive I've always found it far better to keep the information. <shrug>

                  I would agree that if the contract required you to return or destroy all documents that is something that has to be done. But as a general rule I think everyone should keep all correspondence and information, esp. if it's electronic. Too risky not to.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                    Just one comment, if the document might cause a problem if kept for evidence then is the action to delete it really morally correct?
                    I don't think--though I could be wrong--that that's the issue. It's not that you're deleting incriminating emails. Instead, it's that the whole body of emails, the tens or hundreds of thousands of emails held by each one of potentially thousands of employees, has the *potential* to be evidence. Even if your company has never, ever done anything the least little bit wrong, that's still potentially millions of emails at a big company.

                    So in theory someone could come along and say, "Give us all of your emails related to birthday cakes. How do you identify those emails? Not our problem." And then you're stuck with the task of finding all those emails, potentially tying up lots of hours of costly employee time.

                    That's always how I understood it, anyway.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                      I don't think--though I could be wrong--that that's the issue. It's not that you're deleting incriminating emails. Instead, it's that the whole body of emails, the tens or hundreds of thousands of emails held by each one of potentially thousands of employees, has the *potential* to be evidence. Even if your company has never, ever done anything the least little bit wrong, that's still potentially millions of emails at a big company.

                      So in theory someone could come along and say, "Give us all of your emails related to birthday cakes. How do you identify those emails? Not our problem." And then you're stuck with the task of finding all those emails, potentially tying up lots of hours of costly employee time.

                      That's always how I understood it, anyway.
                      You understand it 100% correctly.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X