Organising your mail

Started reading dwelle’s site after seeing an interesting post about tags. More on that later. He had a discussion about a post by Jeremy Zawodny on Is your email Inbox a stack or a queue?.

I tried to post a comment in response, but it didn’t like me for some reason.

One method I’ve found useful when using Thunderbird is the “Group By” sort feature. Copied from Outlook, it splits the message view pane into Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week and Older. Can be useful for quickly sorting messages into arrival periods.

Sometimes my Inbox count gets up to 1000+ messages, especially when I might be travelling or very busy. When it gets like that no matter what I constantly miss things. Even when its smaller, in a normal day dealing with 50+ messages, I will likely lose at least one message a week. This has lead me to start thinking about moving of my mail arrival management into an issue-tracker. Roundup say, but with some additional development.

I don’t want a full blown commercial grade system. It would be oriented at a single person, a simple issue/todo list. The main requirement being very quick to use and easy to learn. Some features I’ve been adding to the list in my head are:

* Central entry point for unknown, unclassifiable or new issue/emails.
* Easy method to allocate unknown items in the new list to existing issues being tracked. Or open new issue items.
* Auto linking a continuing email discussions to an issue item.
* Some project management features:
* sub-issues,
* milestone or due-by checking.
* Secure web interface:
* Allow a particularly user to track single issues via this interface.
* Registration mechanism.
* Auto-assign items “opened” by an email account to be viewable via the web interface.
* An email command control language, so you can do everything from a console if need be.
* Archival method.
* Tags.

All mail would still go into my Inbox, and I’d delete most things non-relevant items from the incoming queue. However it would improve workflow and mean I’d stop losing important emails at the back of my Inbox. I’m quite busy at the moment, probably a project for next year at my current rate. Could be a good horse to learn some Python or Rails/Ruby.

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