Workflow: Email as Index

Here’s a workflow I’ve been using this year to make my inbox even more productive.

Some emails don’t require immediate action and yet you know you will need to reference them at a later date.

Instead of pulling data out of these emails, reformatting them in a different application, or putting them in a  folder, try this:

Open the email message.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 11.59.49 AM.png

Then, forward the message to yourself, giving it a new subject line to help you retrieve it, via search, when you need it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.02.10 PM.png

Then, and this is the crucial step, log the category (in this case, Student Conference) in a place you can find it.  I use a TextEdit file, stored on my desktop, to keep track of any new category I add.  For some reason, this process works for me.  When an event occurs (like Clubs or a Student Conference, or a Reimbursement) and I have created a category for it, I generally remember to run a quick search, see every “tagged” email related to it, and then retrieve the right email at the precise moment I need it.

I’m sure there are better, more sophisticated ways to generate the same result — but this one works for me.


Obligatory note of caution: If you’re going to make use of this workflow, please remember the wise words of Dr. Reshan Richards:

Automation and efficiency are worthy goals, but once you have achieved one or the o

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