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How to process my email inbox?

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  • How to process my email inbox?

    I'm trying to process the 350 emails in my inbox. I'm starting at the top with the most recent and working my way down. When there is an email I can reply to in under 2 minutes, I just do it. The problem is, as I am going through the inbox, new responses to my emails are arriving! What should I do? Just ignore them and continue working all the way through my inbox? Anyone else have a stupid problem like this?

    I have so much to get done today I don't know what to do first!!! Please help!

  • #2
    First of all, if I were you I'd sort them by "sender" as Dave suggests in the FAST CD. That will probably enable you to dump a bunch right off the bat. Then I'd re-sort by "subject" and that will probably make it clear that another bunch can go directly to trash without passing GO (for example, anything with "Viagra", "Cialis", or "Make Millions Online" on the subject line is a goner).

    Now I'm guessing you're down to a hundred or less and you can start working through them systematically using your two-minute rule, reference folders, and other folders as appropriate for you. (I also set up a "Review Weekly" folder and a "Review Monthly" folder in my e-mail. It's amazing how helpful they are - they mimic my hard-copy tickler file and I just have to follow the discipline to look at them on schedule).

    You might find it necessary to re-sort on "Sender" and "Subject" & purge a few more times while you're getting the inbox cleaned up, but if you can ever get the inbox to zero I hope you experience what I did when I finally saw it for the first time. Just remember that's not the end, now you have to work through those folders you sent the emails to and make good N/A decisions - otherwise the system isn't working for you.

    Comment


    • #3
      GTD Outlook + Lookout Add-ins

      I find the gtd outlook add-in makes processing an email backlog happen very quickly.

      I've just changed my email filing reference system as well. Streamlined it due to the success of lookout. Because lookout is so fast and accurate I removed my long lists of filing 'folders' - I no longer need to file an email by client name or project.

      I have two folders, namely
      Reference: work and Reference: Personal.

      Then I can just archive to two separate CD's for backup. I think that has made the filing part of processing my inbox a lot simpler/quicker.

      The rest of the emails get converted to tasks, projects, waiting for's or somedays via the add-in. My inbox is down to zero again.

      I'd suggest turning off the automatic 'send and receive' while you process down to zero just to feel like you are on top of it and not drowning.

      cheers
      Helen

      Comment


      • #4
        How much can you do in one sitting?

        I'm trying to process the 350 emails in my inbox. I'm starting at the top with the most recent and working my way down. When there is an email I can reply to in under 2 minutes, I just do it. The problem is, as I am going through the inbox, new responses to my emails are arriving! What should I do? Just ignore them and continue working all the way through my inbox? Anyone else have a stupid problem like this?
        Hi there...

        Can you come "off-line" for 20 minutes? How 'bout 15? Even 10 can get you started. Sometimes, I actually unplug the line from the computer to the Internet (here in the office, my DSL line...in a hotel, the high speed access line). Then, for 15 minutes, I'll handle, purge, organize, file, or respond (less than 2-minutes) to e-mail. Then, when I plug back in, the e-mails (and there are always a few) that have been waiting are there for me to deal with.

        Comment


        • #5
          Smarty:
          I must apologise I have now read in an earlier post that you are very new to GTD : therefore perhaps disregard MY post regarding the GTD Outlook add-in. You may want to investigate it once you are feeling more comfortable with the whole GTD process but to add another 'tool' at this stage may not be the best idea.

          However, if you are using Outlook rather than Outlook Express then the Lookout add-in may indeed be helpful because it will mean you could set up a simple electronic filing system. Lookout indexes and searches through all outlook entries, emails etc and you can even get it to search through your my docs folder and it does so at great speed thereby reducing the necessity of a complicated filing system.

          You can download it here - it's free http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en

          But again be careful with overloading yourself with too much to learn. It sounds like you've absorbed a lot in a short amount of time and you are well on the right track.

          Congratulations and welcome!!

          Helen

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by helenjc
            I'd suggest turning off the automatic 'send and receive' while you process down to zero just to feel like you are on top of it and not drowning.
            This is easily in the top five best things I've done to organize my computer workload. I turned off the auto-receive about three months ago and it has really helped me focus and helps keep my inbox at zero.

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            • #7
              Processing Email Inbox

              Although written specifically for the "TimeMatters" time management software (used by many law and accounting firms), I am beginning to utilize the following concept at my office:

              http://www.practicemanagementpartner...iloverload.pdf

              FYI, the TimeMatters program is owned by a division of Lexis/Nexis and can be found at

              http://www.timematters.com

              I have no affiliation with the company other than being a long-time satisfied user. If anyone on this forum has used GTD with TimeMatters, I would love to hear about it.

              Alexander Rhoads
              alexander@rhoads.us
              Des Moines, Iowa

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you!!

                Thank you everyone for all of the help!!!

                No WONDER I feel like I'm getting so far ahead when I go to a coffee shop that doesn't have a wireless internet connection. Being offline helps me get my inbox organized without the distractions of the new emails.

                About this Lookout software... does it work okay with the GTD software? I just installed the GTD Outlook Add-In (trial version) and so far I like it - I think I will probably buy it if all goes well.

                Thanks again for all of your help everyone!!!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Thank you!!

                  Originally posted by Smarty Pants
                  Thank you everyone for all of the help!!!

                  About this Lookout software... does it work okay with the GTD software? I just installed the GTD Outlook Add-In (trial version) and so far I like it - I think I will probably buy it if all goes well.
                  Smarty I have not experienced any problems with the GTD add-in and Lookout. I have Outlook 2003.

                  cheers
                  Helen

                  Comment

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