Put emails into next actions, or have 2 inboxes?
I am wondering on the ideal way to process my emails.
1) Put each email that has a next action into my next actions list, and move it out of my email inbox.
2) Use my email inbox as its own next actions list
Here's some ideas and notes:
- I use Gmail with Sparrow Mail on Mac OS X, and OmniFocus on Mac, iPhone, and iPad
- Option #1 is good because all of my next actions are in 1 place (OmniFocus).
- Option #2 is good because it's faster, and I don't have to copy & paste emails into my next actions list every day.
- Having 2 inboxes and next action lists makes it hard to get a clear picture of what has to be done, which makes me lean towards Option #1.
- In Option #1, my email inbox goes down to zero every day. This forces me to decide on a next action for email, not to let it sit in my inbox as I avoid how to deal with it.
- Probably my main complaint with Option #1 is that it takes time to copy emails into OmniFocus every day. I think this might be a waste of valuable time.
Right now, I'm half way doing Option #1 and halfway doing Option#2, which makes life confusing. So sometimes if I get an email that requires a lot of work to do, I will put it in OmniFocus ("Review big proposal") and smaller emails I reply to ad hoc.
What is the most GTD way to do this? What does David Allen recommend?
why would you copy e-mails?
Why would you copy e-mails? The only thing that needs to go on your list is the actual next action, not the e-mail itself.
Originally Posted by commmmodo
I work this way:
- I decide on a next action after reading a mail
- the next action goes onto my list, with a mention "Mddmm" with ddmm day/month of the mail, so I know there is a link with a mail
- the mail itself is moved into a mail folder called "action" that contains only e-mail with associated next actions on my list
Works great for me.
I second the use of an Action-Support folder
You can add the Next Action to your lists, whereever you've stored them. Then you move the actual email out of your inbox and into a folder for Action-Support. Voila! Inbox zero.
Just be careful that you don't move all the emails there, forget to add them to your NA lists and never review the Action-Support folder.
I'm with Myriam and Siobhan...
If there is a NA associated with an email, I transfer it to the Action Support folder in my email system, and the appropriate NA is entered onto my lists. This NA could simply be:
-Reply to John re X
Or, if I need to use the information contained in the email in some way, it might be something like:
-Review report from John's email sent Mar 2
-Add training stats from John into quarterly report (see email Mar 2)
Once the NA is completed I either delete the email, file it in a separate reference folder, or delete the email and file the attachment.
There are usually only about 5 or 6 emails in my action support folder at any one time, so finding the email I need is not a problem.