?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Inbox

« previous entry | next entry »
Mar. 6th, 2007 | 11:55 pm

I snapped and applied the principles of getting things done to my core email boxes.

A few months ago I made a first stab which was take all the mail older than 6 months and go dump it in an archive folder. Today instead of reading some of those scientific papers I should've been working on, I (nearly) emptied my "personal", "work", and "unfiled" folders.

There was basically three fates: deletion, filing in archive, and getting marked as "todo".

I deleted all the spam, and unimportant mailing lists, and other miscellaneous events in the past. If the an email was just "for reference" it got dumped in archive. The result was about 26 emails which referred to something I should (still) be doing. I dealt with a few of them today, and now I only have 21 left.

Hopefully I can maintain this discipline--my old technique of leaving a couple thousand messages in one mailbox meant that those "todo" emails were pretty much lost once I'd gotten enough email to scroll them off my screen.
Tags: , ,

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {10}

no, YOUR mom

(no subject)

from: theinfamousmom
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
Link

Please come tell F'zer about this and demonstrate to him that you are still alive to tell the tale.

Reply | Thread

Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
Link

43 Folders had a whole series on getting your inbox to zero.

I read that a couple of months before I did the "If its older than x months I don't need to look at it any more" trick.

Reply | Parent | Thread

no, YOUR mom

(no subject)

from: theinfamousmom
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
Link

Those will not work with F'zer. He can't bear to throw something away based only on its date. He has to look at it first. And since he doesn't have time to look at everything, it just sits there getting older and older.

His inbox at work has messages that number in the thousands. The thought of that gives me the wim-wams. Heck, I even delete the spam out of Gmail every day because I hate the thought of it piling up.

He has a great book on how to get one's inbox organized. He's read it. Twice. He finds the concept of inbox-pruning so utterly alien that he hasn't even begun to attempt it yet.

Maybe if you came over and showed him how you did it he could at least clean up Eudora here at home. It'd be a start.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 08:55 am (UTC)
Link

Well the simplest trick is called "shove it in the closet" (folder).

I didn't delete any of the messages older than 6 months, I just moved them off into a separate folder. Since storage is so cheap you don't technically need to delete anything.

The only metric that's really important for email management is whether or not you can find what you're looking for.

So the counter question is does a crowded inbox actually bugging him?

I emptied my email box because I was tired of forgetting to to stuff that people emailed me.

Reply | Parent | Thread

no, YOUR mom

(no subject)

from: theinfamousmom
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Link

Yeah, the massive amounts of mail in the inbox are actually bugging him. Just not enough to overcome the "but it might come in handy someday!" worldview. :)

To me, the best part of the "shove it in the closet" approach is that if you haven't had to go looking for anything in that "closet" for several months after you put it there, you can just delete the whole folder and carry on. I don't know if F'zer would do that, though.

Yes, it sure is great that storage is so cheap these days. My first hard drive was 32 megs, and I had to be vigilant about moving stuff off it and not using it for dead storage. I still do that, even though I've got close to 300 gigs of hard drive space in this computer. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I always think I'm going to run out of room. :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Link

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I always think I'm going to run out of room. :)

You should get over that thought right now.

My mailspool consisting of nearly every email addressed to me all the way back to 1998 (complete with various word attachments) plus a bunch of mailing lists is 1.6 GiB. I have gone through and deleted the back history of some of the mailing lists, and I kill the spam, but its still a pretty respectable mailspool covering 9 years.

I can now go buy a one terabyte drive for about $500. I think the drive manufacturers know how to get to 10 terabyte drives.

Email is a tiny pittance of my data storage requirements.

Reply | Parent | Thread

markcronan

I admire what you are doing

from: markcronan
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
Link

I have been trying to get myself to do this for the last 6 months. I just have not been able to bring myself to that point yet. I know I will want to go through it all, and either delete every message individually or move it to an appropriately named folder. I also know it would take so long to do that, that is isn't all that practical a solution. And yet, there are unanswered emails in there that may still be important enough to get a reply, or a read, or a reminder, or a celendar item, or something.

I'm glad someone out there managed to take on the task! I have a friend who has ALWAYS had an empty inbox by the end of the day. He always moves email to an appropriate folder, or deletes it, as it comes in. And the inbox is always empty when he is done for the day. Oh how I wish I could do that!

Reply | Thread

Diane Trout

Re: I admire what you are doing

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Link

The first step is to accept that you can't go through them all, there's just too many. Since most email has some kind of time sensitivity, you can pick some threshold and nothing past this date is still something I need to deal with. (Just assume that if it was something important they'd have resent it, which is mostly true.)

You can use that to get the pile down to a more manageable size. With that you can give the more recent emails a more careful consideration.

43folders Getting to zero had some helpful suggestions.

(And to be fair it took me a long while to get to this point, involving several incremental steps.)

Reply | Parent | Thread

secretslip

(no subject)

from: secretslip
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Link

I hate email now.

I recently dumped the five thousand pieces of mail in my inbox into a new folder, not even archived or anything. Cause, yeah, I'm gonna sort through them soon...as soon as I'm done with other stuff.

It makes me feel very responsible about sending email to others.

Reply | Thread

Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 7th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Link

After a certain backlog all you really can do is dump it in a box and try to deal with the newstuff the info-flood is going to dump on you.

It makes me feel very responsible about sending email to others.

Me too, my goal is to make my emails as short and to the point as I can make them. No one has enough time, so the less I require the better.

(I really hate receiving long multi page emails from people who expect you to actually read them).

Reply | Parent | Thread