After reading a blog by Scott Hanselman on the topic of email organization with Outlook, as well as one of my co-workers tips for Outlook 2007, I was curious to find out how other folks organize their life. This includes anything from emails, to tasks, calendaring, IMs, communication in general. Also, what tools and programs are you using to keep yourself organized? Do you use a plan like the GTD (Get Things Done) or Franklin Covey’s?
So to start off….here is my so called “system”:
Well….it’s morphing a little since I’ve started using categories and search folders in Outlook 2007. But before, when I used Outlook 2003, I set up multiple subfolders under my Inbox (including one for distribution list emails, travel, and lodging, as well as Admin stuff). Then, using multiple rules, I would automatically have them moved to these folders as they arrived.
I confess my Inbox is a dumping ground for old messages. I usually archive items that are about 4-6mos old…..but anything else that isn’t picked up by rules stays in my inbox. I use the search feature to find messages. However it looks like I am starting to go the “google” way to do emails…tagging them by using the categories feature, and combining indexed search with search folders.
I try to color code appointments and things on my calendar by using the category selection, but to this day I don’t have a single view of my client calendar (since I have an exchange account at my client and use their Outlook) merged with my work calendar. That would be a nice thing to get working but I am not sure I can do that yet, like the blog post mentioned earlier. I am, however interested in syncing my personal Yahoo calendar, and my wife’s Google calendar up so I can see them using Outlook, and so I can overlay them. If you’ve done that, please share your story.
I have a Windows Mobile phone, so I can get my emails and calendar synced, and I have only my Inbox and a couple of the distribution list folders synced up to my phone (no need to see other messages on the mobile).
Finally, I have several IM accounts (Yahoo, MSN, GTalk, and I think I even had an ICQ acct at some point…though haven’t used that in years), but honestly, I generally stay on MSN/Windows Live Messenger. When I am the client, since they block IMs, I use Meebo (http://www.meebo.com/), which uses the Internet protocol (HTTP) to transport your messages, so it doesn’t get blocked by firewalls. Also, they allow you to connect to multiple IM services using one ID (VERY NICE)…and it runs from the web browser (which is good and bad). I heard that the Google Talk client allowed you to connect to other IM services besides Google’s, but I’ve yet to try it.
I’d be interested in finding out what other ways are being used to stay organized with your communications, so post your comments, dear readers!