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  • containers for support material

    Good morning,

    Much email can be categorized as 'support material'. Some of this material is acted on immediately, some will be acted on in the future, and some is history, documenting past decisions and actions and the people involved in projects that will continue for a few more months.

    Just this 'support material' category can be overwhelming. I am thinking that I need better buckets. Maybe I just need a faster delete key. But the situation is that after I read the email and categorize it, I don't have an easy system for storing it.

    I welcome suggestions

    Thanks,
    Rob

  • #2
    A big 'a-ha' for me was realizing that having email folders was a waste of my time.

    if there's any action, it goes into my NA list/project list/SDMB. No actions stay in email. This was a big improvement, because now you only have to go to one place to find your NAs.

    If its support material Im going to refer to it frequently on a project I either print it out or, more often, save it in Evernote.

    If its just random information it goes straight into archive. The whole thing is searchable anyway, its not deleted, just in one big folder (in Gmail that is)

    I found that I was resisting processing my emails because I didnt want to have to choose which email folder it went in - crazy. Now I treat emails like the scraps of paper that land in my intray - process, organise and cast aside the empty shell. The only reason I dont delete them is because choosing what to delete and what to archive is harder than just archiving the lot.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a bunch of email folders in my email program. When I get new email I ask does this have any next action in it? If no, then I delete or archive. If yes then I write the NA to list and archive the message.

      My support material and other archived stuff is in same a-z general reference archive, which currently contain approximately 50 email folders (and I know some folders are too generic.). I know some people just use one archive folder and trust search. I don't feel comfortable with that approach.

      Bottom line: My goal is that every project should have it's own email folder for archived emails. And every email is archived immediately after it is processed.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post
        But the situation is that after I read the email and categorize it, I don't have an easy system for storing it.

        I welcome suggestions
        I put all critical to a current project support that comes in as e-mail or other electronic form either in the notes part of my Omnifocus system for that project or into a DEVONThink folder for that project. Often I extract out only the important parts (delete the headers and sometimes signatures and past messages, etc.) I also then put the original unedited version into my e-mail archive folder where I store everything. That way if I need to get back to the original document I have it.

        I also do not ever leave any mail on the server, I use POP mail so it all comes down into my own personal computer and doesn't stay in the cloud for longer than it has to.

        I've just started playing with but haven't fully implemented yet a DEVONThink database of my entire mail folder/system so I have more robust searching than is provided by the mail program. So far that looks like it will be a very useful reference but I need to play with it a bit more to decide how best to import the archives from past e-mail clients in a way that makes sense.

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        • #5
          Most email action items go on lists. I have an @Action Support folder that I use very sparingly. For example, if I am doing a batch of recommendation letters, I don't put each one on a list, I just throw them into action support and do them in a batch for each person I am writing a letter for, moving each email to an archive folder after it is done.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
            I also do not ever leave any mail on the server, I use POP mail so it all comes down into my own personal computer and doesn't stay in the cloud for longer than it has to.
            Sorry offtopic.

            I personally use IMAP, but I keep copies of messages for offline viewing. So I'm able to read my archived emails allways when online.

            But I guess this is mostly personal preference. One way is not better than other.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kkuja View Post
              Bottom line: My goal is that every project should have it's own email folder for archived emails. And every email is archived immediately after it is processed.
              What do you do when an email contains replies about several projects? Or indeed a single piece of information is required for multiple projects?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
                What do you do when an email contains replies about several projects? Or indeed a single piece of information is required for multiple projects?
                Bish, you have hit on my problem.

                As a course developer, I create training material for four products.

                I collect selected email on those products: new feature announcements, problems, bugs, workarounds, applications, and, worse, replies to my questions and feedback on what I create. So, I have four top-level folders (the products), and a dozen or two feature folders. So, when filing (or worse, retrieving) I have to choose between top-level (product) and details (feature). Then, I need to separate (or distinguish) what I have acted on from what remains to be acted on. And, of course, some changes affect multiple products.

                Doesn't seem too hard -- couple dozen folders containing a mix of done, current, and future. And only two tasks -- to file, and to retrieve. How hard can it be? (Currently, hard enough that I am posting this request for advice)

                Thanks,
                Rob

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
                  What do you do when an email contains replies about several projects? Or indeed a single piece of information is required for multiple projects?
                  I don't know, because I haven't yet encountered that problem. I always try to retain "one email one thing" policy. I never ask more than one question per email, because I have noticed that no one I email ever answers more than one question. Of course there are times when emails end up to wrong folder or I just don't find it. Then I just use search.

                  If there is better (read promising) solution then I'm ready to atleast try it. Although currently I have, through trial and error, found my current system best for me.

                  Actually, that same problem is with general A to Z reference archive. I think Stever Robbins once podcasted about how he archives stuff to general reference archive and if one item could be under many headers, he just archives item to one place and puts a placeholder (Item ABC: See XYZ for details) to other possible places.

                  Anyway, I'm pleased to hear all and every opinion about regarding this matter.

                  Thank you everyone.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
                    What do you do when an email contains replies about several projects? Or indeed a single piece of information is required for multiple projects?
                    For the first problem I handle it by archiving all e-mails into a single folder but splitting out copies of the pieces that relate to each project or next action into their respective project files. So yes, I have duplication on that the original is still intact in my system but the GTD lists have the pieces broken out where they belong.

                    FOr the second I put copies in both places. Again, duplication but I'd prefer duplicates than missing pieces.

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