Sunday, April 19, 2009

eProductivity: Automating a Mess gives you an Automated Mess

I run three email accounts:
  • a personal hotmail account that I've had since the Dawn of Email.
  • a business hotmail account that I ran for a while until I started ...
  • ... a business Notes email account running off my own Lotus Foundations Server.
In my last post about eProductivity I pointed out the difficulty of setting up meaningful Projects when I was working from a disorganized email environment. My attempt to straighten out my business Notes email account led me inexorably to my other email accounts and the painful realization that my lack of email organization included a lack of boundaries between my personal and business email accounts.

So after deleting well over a thousand obsolete emails and sending out a mailstorm of "Please use my other email address" missives I am almost back to Square One of evaluating eProductivity. The setback was painful to fix but a real eye-opener at the same time. This time round I should be able to build on a more solid Foundation (pun intended).

So when was the last time you flushed out your mail file?


Roland said...

Hi Graham,

Glad to see you're shoring up the "Foundations" of your workflow. When I started using GTD principals a couple years ago (just using standard vanilla Notes), I did the purge of my work email file. I don't remember the statistics, but from what I recall, I didn't bother with email older than 6 months unless they were marked unread which was my (and others) stupid way of marking emails that needed further attention. Since then I've fallen off the GTD wagon a number of times and when I got suitably overwhelmed jumped back on the wagon and purged to zero emails in my inbox.
Like you I am now evaluating (and blogging) about eProductivity so have purged yet again. I am probably a week or so ahead of you in my evaluation and one thing I am finding so far is that eProd. automation makes it easy and efficient to move actionable emails quickly and efficiently out of the inbox and into a Next Action document. Depending on the time-sensitivity of the task I may have it appear on my calendar (and therefore my blackberry too) or just remain in the context lists.
There's not always a one-to-one correspondence between an email and task of course so I am finding the linking feature great which makes it easy to group related emails together under a Project or Next Action document.
I'll be watching your blog for tips n' tricks. I've got about 5 posts tagged with GTD here:

Gavin Bollard said...

One of the nice things about Gmail is that you can give it your logons for your other mail systems (POP accounts etc) and it can gather (and delete mail out of those accounts). Then it can sort them into labels (folders) according to their original destination address - effectively giving you multiple inboxes in one app.

I'm sure that Domino could do the same, though you might find yourself writing a few agents.

After all, if you receive any business email to your personal account and then get a subpoena, you'll still have to expose both accounts.

Eric Mack said...

Hi Graham, I'm enjoying learning from your experience as you implement eProductivity. There are two features you may want to know about that may make your job easier. The first exists in your present installation and that is the ability to seamlessly integrate your eProductivty-enabled mail file with external databases so that you can quickly move reference email into your reference (Journal) or archive (other email) databases. I built this feature to make it easy to process and catch up on extreme backlogs while grooming my mail file size. Seamless. Just drag and drop. The second feature is not yet in the public release; that is the ability to maintain multiple identities (e,g. mail addresses and signatures) in your Notes, 6.x, 7.x or 8.x mail file. This way, you can have all email come to one Notes mailbox and yet maintain separate identities when sending. - Ericmetrus