I am sitting here with the UVLC Thunderbird Guide open to the section on organizing, prioritizing email. I have Thunderbird open on my screen and I’m looking at my email, reading the guide, looking, reading, looking …. ahh! Where do I start? I see that Thunderbird has pulled in my 30+ folders from gmail that I mainly use to archive – if the email passes the harsh deletion cuts. This process isn’t working for me, I just feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin.
I have found when its comes to situations like these the best solution is to turn off my computer, close the guide and clear I nice uncluttered space on my desk. Now, I’m not saying kick up your feet up and relax. No, there is still work that needs to be done, but it can be done with a simple pen and paper.
Right now I’m just focusing on the big picture. What email is really important to me and how do I want to ‘see’ it arrive each day?
I started by jotting down possible names of new file folders that I would want to organize my email as it comes in. You are probably thinking, but you already have 30 folders why not just use those? Because I haven’t been using them to start with and I don’t need 30 that’s just excessive categorizing. I got that way by just making a new folder for each email in an attempt to organize my mail.
Next question, why don’t I keep Thunderbird open in front of me to see what kind of mail I get to help me build my new folders. You know what email is important to you – you don’t need to look at your email to list off the top of your head names or categories of those whom you communicate with regularly. If you have it open – you will be ‘confined’ and limited to the Thunderbird ‘structure.’
Right now all I’m doing is creating the process as to how I want to my email arrive in my mail box. Do I want it to automatically go to a specific folder? Do I want the emails to be sorted into folders by Name or Category? Should I have a parent folder and a few (3 or less) child folders? If I use a priority folder, what will be my process after reading that email?
I love to open emails and then mark them with flags/stars/colors/unread to remind me that action is still pending – kind of like a To Do List – but now even this type of system is becoming unmanageable. I would love to get away from this email To Do List and create a system where I would know what items I still need to attend to. I love my google calendar but would like to integrate a calendar and contacts all in Thunderbird so that everything is in one place.
WOW!!! That’s a pretty good wish list there. You can, of course, create and add anything you feel would make your email life better.
My next post I’ll layout my dream email life. 😉 Following that I attempt to bring my dream to reality.