Email nirvana

I spent a good portion of today reorganising my email so that I'm less of an unorganised mess and more of an organised mess.

This was prompted by a few things.

  • First of all, the amount of email I get every day from Buffer is only increasing
  • Second, I finally got around to using the multiple profile feature of Chrome
  • Thirdly, I was afraid I was missing something crucial
  • Fourthly, a realisation that my comprehensive GMail filter and labelling strategy wasn't actually helping anything

Lo and behold I now have a very simple filtering strategy for my Buffer email.

It is either

  1. Something I should read and/or reply to
  2. Something I could be interested in
  3. An alert
  4. A notification

As such, each email now get the following treatment:

  1. Starred
  2. Labelled as "Chatter"
  3. Labelled as "Alert"
  4. Labelled as "Notification"

I also modified my inbox to show all starred conversations since by default it only shows starred conversations in the inbox.

It's only been a day, and I have been checking it regularly so nothing has built up, but even so I feel confident that this is a good categorisation.

I treat starred conversations as my email to-do list. Things I should get around to doing. So it's great to always have them in my inbox - a constant reminder if I am looking for something to do.

I like to keep up with what's going on at Buffer. This is the "Chatter". I can dip in and out of this as I wish. Anything addressed to me specifically will be starred and will become more prominent. The "Chatter" is generally internal emails that I am not an explicit recipient of.

Alerts and notifications are generally from our external tools. Alerts are good to keep on top of as they are a signal that something might be going wrong and I should dive in to investigate and/or fix. Notifications are the usual day-to-day bits and pieces that I receive, again from external tools - reminding me to fill in my iDoneThis or notifying me of any GitHub deployments.

The acid test is when I wake up tomorrow morning and see the deluge that occurs overnight. I'm excited to see if my new filtering strategy works. There could be some odd cases I have missed, but this seems very manageable so far.

Long may it last!

[Image credit: Will Lion]