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.

email inbox

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

  • email inbox

    Hi everyone,

    I'm trying to get my email in box to zero.

    The thing that is currently driving me crazy is a couple of email threads that are tangentially related to things I'm responsible for, but not currently working on.

    Other people are trying to sort out some issues. Depending on how they get resolved, maybe I'll need to do something about them later, and maybe I won't. I don't know how long it will be before they get resolved. I don't know how long it will be before I need to actually work on the projects that they relate to.

    I want to get rid of the entire email thread if it gets resolved in such a way that I DON'T need to do anything. I want to file the entire email thread in a project folder for later if it gets resolved in such a way that I DO need to do something (later). I haven't thought of a good plan for what to do about them in the interim.

    Any thoughts about how to apply GTD here?

    Peggy

  • #2
    Sounds like these are Waiting For items - i.e. you're waiting for someone else to do something. I'd suggest filing the email thread somewhere as project support, and putting an entry on your Waiting For list to remind you that you're waiting for these issues to be resolved.

    Comment


    • #3
      Does it qualify as a Waiting For item if:
      • I didnít delegate it. (Iím simply being cc-ed about somebody elseís issue.)
      • I donít need to do anything to follow-up. (Itís somebody elseís issue & they need to resolve it, not me.)
      • I donít necessarily care about the outcome. (This MIGHT be relevant to me, depending on the outcome. With one of the threads, I think itís 95% certain it will turn out to be irrelevant once they finish. With another one, I think itís 50/50.)

      Comment


      • #4
        A Waiting For is anything that you are waiting to have happen. You are waiting for the thread to resolve itself so that you can decide whether it is actionable or not.

        Once you've created an action item to remind yourself to review the thread at an appropriate time, you can use a filter to automatically move the emails out of your inbox and into an appropriate folder.

        Depending on the nature of the situation, an even better approach might be to dump all the emails now, and followup with the responsible parties to find out what action is needed. Or, again depending on the situation, you might just ignore the whole mess until someone notifies you that your involvement is necessary.

        On edit: It occurs to me that you might be the recipient of one of those endless streams of CYA emails that some people generate. Someone is implicitly threatening to appeal to a higher authority (you) if the situation doesn't get resolved to their satisfaction. If that's the case, I'd tend to dump the emails and ignore the whole mess unless asked for my input. Let the person generating the email take responsibility for moving the situation forward.

        Katherine
        Last edited by kewms; 02-06-2006, 04:45 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by kewms
          Once you've created an action item to remind yourself to review the thread at an appropriate time, you can use a filter to automatically move the emails out of your inbox and into an appropriate folder.
          I think this is key. There are two possible times when it would be appropriate to review these things: when they get resolved, and when I start actually working on the projects to which they relate.

          I don't really know when either of those is going to happen. However, I already have folders set up for the projects, into which I put stuff that I'll need to deal with when the time comes. I think I'm going to put these into sub-folders within the project folders. When I actually start working on the relevant projects, I can review the emails & take the appropriate action then (which I suspect will be delete the sub-folder).

          Peggy

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kewms
            On edit: It occurs to me that you might be the recipient of one of those endless streams of CYA emails that some people generate. Someone is implicitly threatening to appeal to a higher authority (you) if the situation doesn't get resolved to their satisfaction. If that's the case, I'd tend to dump the emails and ignore the whole mess unless asked for my input. Let the person generating the email take responsibility for moving the situation forward.
            I'm not a higher authority here, everyone involved is at roughly the same place in the corporate hierarchy, but we're responsible for different things. I'm being cc-ed because the other people recognize that their issue might affect my area. Their motivation is good, but I think when it all gets resolved it's going to turn out to be mostly noise as far as I'm concerned.

            Comment


            • #7
              Peggy,

              FWIW, I hate when that happens (and I get them almost daily)! Generally, if I'm one of say... 30 people that are cc'd on an email, I operate under the assumption that it's not that important with regard to *me*.

              IMHO, it's just corporate SPAM... So, I dump it. If something is critical and needs my input, believe me - it will get addressed directly to me.

              I'm assuming it's the same in your situation.

              Say something pops that needs your attention - how in the world could the sender reasonably expect you to be able to find their email (of which you were just one of 30 cc's)?

              "Peggy, it's the email where I talked about X, Y & Z. It wasn't addressed to you, but you were one of 30 or so recipients. It's the one I sent last month, and the issue was about 20 emails down the chain."

              See what I mean?


              Jim
              Last edited by jkgrossi; 02-07-2006, 10:43 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jkgrossi
                I'm assuming it's the same in your situation.
                No, I don't think it's the same. There are a total of 1/2 dozen people involved in this & it's reasonable for them to think it might impact me.

                In this case, I think it won't, but it's reasonable for them to think that. I've gotten other similar email threads, which I immediately put into the appropriate project folder, because I think I *will* need to do something when I get to that project. It's just these particular ones that I think are going to turn out to be noise. If I was *sure* of that, I could delete the emails now, but I need to wait and see how things shake out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would throw all the emails related to that topic into one folder called UselessProject or whatever. Then you can move that folder around as need be--into a "waiting" folder, or an "action" folder, or a plain old "reference" folder. In my experience, if you work on a lot of different projects, it's very handy to have a folder for each one to keep all of the basic reference and context in one place.

                  For the usual CYA ccs, I just throw them in my general Reference folder and if I ever need them again, I can dig them up. In the normal scheme of things they just go away with AutoArchive.

                  By the way, I recently realized I needed a new subfolder in Reference--"NoArchive." I have to archive my Outlook aggressively, most folders every six weeks, in order to keep from hitting the mailbox size limit & making IT crabby with me. (Never make the network guy crabby, that's my credo.) I have a small folder of things I could want to refer to way down the line (information about my HR benefits, weird arcana about our business that I am likely to forget, etc.). This has proved very useful.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Peggy
                    It's just these particular ones that I think are going to turn out to be noise. If I was *sure* of that, I could delete the emails now, but I need to wait and see how things shake out.
                    When I purge my inbox, I look at each email for action items. If there are none, but I think I'll need the email in the future for reference, I'll create a folder for it and park it there.

                    Jim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've always found it useful to archive all emails "just in case". 99 times out of 100 if I need to refer to them again then they have been sent in the last couple of days so it's not too much difficulty to find them again by sorting by time sent then person. The advantage in archiving everything is that you never know when that piece of info you were sent might come in useful (although I guess it depends on what kind of work you're doing). The beauty of emails is that they are all standardly categorised (findable) by time, person, size, etc and to some extent subject line, so it's worth building up a big reference section of them (in my opinion/ experience).

                      Also I've found that if the email does not contain a definite project, next action, waiting for or even someday then I just archive it and forget about it. If it comes to the point where it does turn into my responsibility then I will review the previous emails on the subject which I put into the archive. What's the point of spending precious time processing things that might never happen when I've got 94 things that definitely do have to happen?

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X