Friday, September 5, 2008

Email Organizing with folders

Can Righties organize email with folders? Why yes we can.
The trick to using the folder approach is to make the folder titles mean something.
There are 3 kinds of folders
1. Action - emails you drop here are still in the cooker. Some on low heat, some on high. Each still needs some kind of attention.
Action items can be broken down into sub folders such as:
To pay
To read /sites to go to
To reply
To research
Pending orders
To Call
To Go (classes, parties, meetings)

2. Reference - keep info for future reference
This is where labeling of folders gets a little complicated.
a. The folder names work best if they match the names of any real physical files in your file drawers
b. The titles have to be broad enough categories so that you don't create zillions of files.
c. The titles have to be obvious to you

Some example reference file folders
Kids stuff
Account /password info
Stuff from Mom (that's real for me)

Business files:
Client correspondence
Website information
Writing ideas
Marketing ideas
Memos from boss/workplace/HR

3. Project files
These are for information to be collected for a short time, then discarded (including deleting the folder icon)
RSVPs for event
Decor project bids

The second trick is to use your in-box as your to-do list.
I know this is a huge no-no, taboo, frowned-upon way to operate - but for some of us it just works better. The reason is because if you're already looking at mail in the in-box, your brain is triggered to attend to the stuff that is still sitting there.
It works great with a running list of urgent to-dos and non-urgent to-dos.
You can mark the urgents with flags or by color marking them if your email system allows it.

Next - how to get less email and be a better emailer friend.


Megan@Disorder2Order said...

I don't know if I am really a right brainer (or I just think I am), but if it needs action, I need to see it in the Inbox. I do have a follow up folder that flags those items and adds them to my task list, which helps, but I struggle with out of sight, out of mind.

Great post and helpful to those who may or may not think about doing that in email.