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Put down the code. From code monkey to zoo keeper -- becoming a project manager and all the things we were never taught

Since my first UUCP operation in UNIX to deliver and receive an email, I have always been challenged to find the ultimate email organizer. About a year ago, I switched to a very simple process of managing email and have found the ultimate in organization. On the craziest of days with 250+ emails, I keep my inbox empty. Here is how I do it;

First, start with the following folders in your mailbox;



Of course, all inbound emails will start in the Inbox. As you work throughout the day, follow these steps to keep your inbox empty;

  1. Read the email.
  2. Are you responsible for any action? If you are and can do it immediately, then do it. If you need to do it later, move the email to the “FollowUp” folder. When you are done with the task, move it to the Archive folder (Not Outlook archive)
  3. If you are not responsible for any action, move it to the archive folder. Use Outlook’s search to find them when you need them.
  4. If you will need to reference the email later in the week or for a short term (week or two), then move the email to the “Hold” folder
  5. As your day progresses, frequently review the FollowUp folder and accomplish the task


  • If I am waiting for someone to do something for me, I keep it in the FollowUp folder. As I review the folder, I am constantly reminded that there is something I am waiting on – and can send a simple reminder by forwarding the original email.
  • I sometimes send myself a “todo” email and park it in the FollowUp folder

I like to know how many emails are in the folders so I set the “Show total number of items” property on the folder to show the amount of emails.

Number of Items

Posted on Monday, April 12, 2010 7:37 AM | Back to top

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