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  • Next action emails

    Hi guys,

    I was wondering how you guys handle Next Actions arising from emails. I have a lot of emails coming in that I can act on, and put them in a sub-folder of my inbox called "@NEXT ACTIONS". Sometimes I extract the next action from the mail and add it to my master Next Actions list (which is a text file I sync with my Palm at the end of the day). This works okay but I'm not quite at ease with it somehow. Maybe it's because my master Next Actions list doesn't completely match the list of Next Actions that is building up in my email client. I guess it might be better to make sure everything I put in the "@NEXT ACTIONS" email folder always, always goes in my master Next Actions list, but I feel like this would be a bit slow when I have lots of emails coming in.

    Also, having many Next Actions in two places means that when the action is done, there's two places to tick it off.

    I'd love to hear how you all deal with this situation!

    Best regards,

    Rangi

  • #2
    I use the gtd add-in by netcentrics. It automatically manages the saving of emails to an @action folder, among many other things it does.

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    • #3
      Re: Next Action Emails

      If you are using Outlook, one option is simply to drag the email onto the Task bar. This creates a task with your email message attached as a note. This way all of your tasks show up on one list and you have the email text as a reminder of the details for the task.

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      • #4
        it depends on the context...

        Almost all my next actions from emails are to be done on my computer. I don't feel like I need to put these on my @Mac list since they are in that context already and I check my email each day. I use Gmail and I simply click the star next to the message to flag it as a next action. I often just star an unread message based on the subject line and read it later when I do the action.

        On occasion I will get an email that is an action item in another context like a phone call to make. I write the action on the appropriate context list.

        (btw, if anyone in the forum wants a Gmail invitation please send me a private message).

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        • #5
          Email to Task

          Franklin is right about dragging the email to the task button on the Outlook Bar. Although I love Outlook as my email client, I don't like it as my task list. I use Agendus with my Palm. I simply copy and paste the email body into my task's notes section and then put the task in the appropriate context list. I know it's my fault, but I just can't juggle my lists AND the @Action folders in Outlook. Too many buckets.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by franklin
            If you are using Outlook, one option is simply to drag the email onto the Task bar. This creates a task with your email message attached as a note. This way all of your tasks show up on one list and you have the email text as a reminder of the details for the task.
            What becomes the text of the task itself? The email's subject line?

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            • #7
              Here is the change that I've implimented:

              I clear my email inbox each day, except in rare occassions, then I do it as soon as possible with the following:
              1) two minute rule, if I can reply or deal with in 2 minutes - I do it
              2) All spam or informational items that I do not wish to save are deleted
              3) Emails that I where I can do something with the email are moved to one of 3 next action email folders that start with aa_ (maybe it should be @) I have a general next action and two other topic specific next actions
              4) If an item merits a quick the it I'll put an item on the calendar and move the email to a non-action client folder (I'm getting into trouble with the calendar items building up)
              5) Sometimes instead of the calendar, I'll place on the next action list with the "client" group code

              Clearing the inbox each day really helps because:
              1) I know I've at least glanced at each item
              2) Spam and items that do not need to be saved are cleared out. When I didn't clear the inbox, these items began to build up. (Same idea for my postal service paper mail inbox)

              The area that I'm having trouble with is emails that can not be immediately dealt with in 2 minutes, but I feel need to be responded to in a prompt fashion. By putting these on the calendar, once I start slipping and not getting them all done in the current day and start carrying them forward, I really have just another out of control depressing todo list that obscures daily activities <sigh> The balance here is tricky.

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              • #8
                Why are email items requiring thought calendar items rather than Next Actions? Also, I would imagine that some of these more complex emails are really projects in disguise, and should be treated as such. I can think of lots of cases where composing an email might require planning, research, emails or phone calls to other people, and so forth.

                In other words, it seems to me that email should be treated the same as any other inbox item. Setting up a separate system just for email sounds like the path to madness to me.

                Katherine

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