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  • Processing email on your phone?

    I attended the GTD Mastering Workflow seminar in Austin, which was fantastic!

    One thing I've been wondering since I've been using my refreshed GTD attitude and system in the last week is how are others handle reading email on mobile devices? I am considering removing my email from my mobile devices (iPad,iPhone) since I'm not actually processing anything (unless I'm deleting) and I have to re-read it all again. I prefer to do my processing at my computer desk since I use Outlook at work and most of my work is email based and though I can access my tasks from my iPhone and iPad, it's not really optimized to read email and create tasks from it.

    How are you handling this?

  • #2
    It's somewhat anti-GTD, but I enjoy semi-processing it on my phone. Delete what I can, reply to what I can, forward what I can, and then deal with (and re-read) the rest when I get back to my computer. While it's duplicating a bit of work, it also means that the 25 emails I get while I'm out only lead to 8 when I sit back down at my desk.

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    • #3
      One workaround, is to move it to a "To Process" folder on your phone. Then, when you're back at your desktop, you can fully process it. I wrote about that in our BlackBerry Setup Guide as a strategy for those who prefer to scan on their mobile device, but fully process at their desktop. At least with a "To Process" folder, it's out of In and corralled in a place you can easily get back to.

      Hope that helps.

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      • #4
        My iPhone mail client is not configured for incoming messages.

        Originally posted by Cbalusek View Post
        How are you handling this?
        My iPhone mail client is not configured for incoming messages. It is configured to connect with a mailbox used only for sending photos, notes and links to my main ("desktop") inbox.

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        • #5
          If I do check emails on my phone, it's never for the purpose of normal processing. Most of the time it's because I've got a spare few moments and don't have the time, energy or context to do anything more useful, or because I'm expecting an email that has information I need right away.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cbalusek View Post
            One thing I've been wondering since I've been using my refreshed GTD attitude and system in the last week is how are others handle reading email on mobile devices?
            I have e-mail on both of my mobile devices, iPhone and iPad but I never have them activated to send or receive e-mail unless I am specifically waiting for something or have to send something and then I tend to only activate them for the duration of me sending the message or until the one I am waiting for gets there.

            Because my e-mail accounts are POP accounts I always download all messages from the mail server onto my desktop system. I do all processing there as well.

            Even messages that I get on my phone will be downloaded when I am back at the desktop so I will end up processing them twice.

            I do not like IMAP mail systems, I do not trust leaving my mail archive on some server somewhere that I don't control. I have to refer to old e-mail far to often to depend on the mail server storing my messages. I still have e-mail from 20 years ago that I refer to on occasion.

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            • #7
              Google controls my life and my GTD system. I use the gMail app on my iPhone, and yes, I process to zero every time I look at my mail on my phone.

              I employ a variation of what Kelly suggests above, on the principle that sometimes "2-minute actions" will be shorter than two minutes. In this instance, it's not necessarily because of time, but perhaps because I don't want to send important correspondence from my phone/don't have the attachment, etc. If I process email from my phone, anything I can't or don't feel comfortable answering from my phone I simply tag "@action" to deal with later.

              My phone has become a crucial piece of my inbox zero process. I also use Priority Inbox, and will often process my "Unimportant but Unread" emails while travelling. 90% of those are, "Might be interested, want it to come across my radar" kinds of items (LivingSocial deals, coupons for the craft store, etc.) and they can be dispatched with quickly. The phone is aces for that kind of processing.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                I still have e-mail from 20 years ago that I refer to on occasion.
                I'm continually impressed by your level of organization, Oogie.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cbalusek View Post
                  How are you handling this?
                  I often read and process my email from my mobile because only few times I'm sit down in front of the pc. For this reason I don't use anymore Outlook to manage the tasks even if I know that Touchdown by Nitrodesk can do this on a syncronized mobile, as we should get in outlook. I use Toodledo sync with Ultimate to do, resident on my android and syncronized with toodledo.

                  Often I produce next actions forwarding the email to toodledo. In this case I use to adjust the subject of the email according to the gtd principles

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cbalusek View Post

                    How are you handling this?
                    I struggled with this for a long time. It felt counter-GTD not to process emails the first time I read them because I was reading them on my device. After much test/trial/error of many products that would work seamlessly with Outlook, ipad, blackberry, I decided to build the solution myself.

                    I have a few macros in Outlook that convert emails into OL tasks based on text I add to them. So, for example if there is an email that I received that requires an action, say, review the proposal, I forward the email to myself with text in the body that has "review proposal" the context, start date and priority. Outlook will notice and email from me to me, and process the text into a new task linked to the original email in an @Action folder in OL. For a waiting for task for an email I send from my blackberry or ipad I BCC myself and the outlook macro does its magic capturing the email into a waiting for task linking the email.

                    The added beauty of this process is that it is dependent on email and outlook only and not an app or a cobbled synch synch process, making it device agnostic. If you are stuck with outlook as your main system, it makes sense to stick with it as the core of your GTD. I recently switched my blackberry to android and I didn't have to change a thing.

                    I am not a programmer but after exploring a couple of boards online (primarily Sue Mosher's outlookcode.com) I got the courage to build the code borrowing bits and pieces from different users. It really sounds more difficult that it is.

                    Good luck.

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