Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Great 2012 Email Purge


That's the very best I could do. After a top to bottom culling of email the best I could manage was seventy emails.

I have a fairly decent email management regiment. At the end of every day I try to go home with an empty inbox. I've got a "ToDo" folder and a "FollowUp" folder. Before being filed pretty much anything that can't be solved immediately winds up in one of those. Over time some other folders have popped up. There's a "reference" folder and "things to buy."

It makes for a fairly good system. Most of the time I don't lose things I need and don't have too much to wade through in order to get my job done.

Every now and then I'll dump the entire "to do" folder into my inbox and re-triage. I find that there's some real satisfaction to being able to delete or file a message without ever doing anything aside from setting it aside. About a week ago I supersized this effort. With the end of the year I took every message in every holding folder and replaced them in the inbox.

It was hundreds of messages. Some still needed action, some had been mooted, and some needed another solution. I have this questionable habit of emailing myself things. I keep sites that look like they have use for classes, items that might make good personal projects, things I just think are cool, whatever. This has always made for a lot of email chaff. This time around I decided that instead of archiving these things with email I would try to use Evernote and Pinterest.

Of course now my Evernote and Pinterest are a disorganized mess. But you can't have everything I suppose.

Just like the work emails that had been mooted, many of the things I was saving turned out to not be there either. Either the sites had been reorganized or the merchandise had been discontinued or who knows why. One of the tools I used to use to email myself was an option through the StunmbleUpon toolbar. The folks there must have changed how their software works because most of those links were dead. I wound up having to infer what I had saved and search for it. It wasn't the most successful project.

Of course there was another problem trying to deal with all the email: it kept coming. Every time I thought I had a shot at completing the chore Outlook would beep again.

Still, 70 isn't so bad. More than half that number are emails from active projects, probably half of those are part of that unfortunate trickle that just... wouldn't... stop. There's still some pretty fossilized stuff in there like a half dozen messages from iTunes explaining how to unlock files I bought ages ago. The oldest email is from 2009. I guess maybe I ought to do those things or be done with them.

Maybe next spring.

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