Evolution to simplicity

I think I have been through enough evolutions of my email system for this week.

Things have boiled down nicely and there are (at last!) some basic laws that it obeys.

  1. Anything that mentions me gets starred
  2. Any alert is starred and labelled as "Alert"
  3. Anything else coming from inside Buffer is labelled "Chatter"
  4. Anything else is labelled "Notification"
  5. Everything that matches a filter skips the inbox
  6. Importance markers are not used and are hidden

Additionally, I have set my inbox to only show starred items - meaning any starred item, not just starred items in the inbox.

As a result my inbox now contains a to-do list of emails that are meant for me to read (and likely respond to) as well as import alerts. I also take the liberty of starring anything else that I want to come back to.

Ideally there should be nothing else in the inbox. If there is something present, that means that an incoming email managed to miss all filters and I need to add something to catch that case!

This is the beauty of making every filter result in the message skipping the inbox - I can make absolutely certain that I amn't missing any email.

Now I can see at a glance what there is to do. Alerts are the first priority and they get coloured bright red to stand out even among the starred items in the inbox.

The number of unread Chatter and Notifications I can see at a glance in the sidebar and can read at my leisure - confident that anything addressed to me will be starred and be in the inbox already.

Because I only have 4 labels in total and I hide any that have no unread items, I can quickly see if there is something new, even though it won't appear in my inbox.

I've been able to get rid of the Multiple Inboxes labs feature as a result of the various refinements in this method which feels good. While the Multiple Inboxes were fun, I did find a whole heap of strange behaviour occurring that hasn't happened since I got rid of it.

Hopefully next week I can move on from email!

[Image credit: fixedgear]