Five Days to Inbox Zero: Day 2

Empty Inbox

Day 2: Process for 30 minutes

Day 2 has revealed the #1 sore-point for me. I’ve adopted this 4 pronged solution to email for a while now. The big category I can’t seem to master is what to do with Reference emails I simply want to keep. Due to my indecision, there they pile up Starred in my Inbox waiting to be actioned, after the more important emails that actually need timely action taken, and in turn continues makes the pile more and more overwhelming.

What are the options?

Evernote (iOS|Mac)

I’ve never been very keen on Evernote; however I see how it could be a smooth repository to fire off emails to. Problem is I’m not going to use it for any other note taking so it would be this lone bucket of emails.

Apple Notes

This is shaping up as a satisfactory contender to basic Evernote functions…but it’s not there yet. The best I could come up with out-of-the-box was:

  1. In Apple Mail I could select the text and it would append to an existing note or create a new one using the Share contextual menu option (Mac/iOS). Cons include: no attached metadata on where/when the text came from.
  2. Using a third party mail app like AirMail I was able to use the Send to… (Mac) or regular Share extension (iOS) which only saves a link back to the email ( this might be sufficient if you just Archive it as well).

I might look into creating a Service or Applescript (Mac) to save contents or selection and add to a Note prepended with Sender/Title/Data & Time stamp. On iOS you could probably pull off similar with a Workflow app extension.

Make a dedicated Label/Folder called Reference

For me personally this would entail replicating on 8 different accounts though. And then I’d have these in 8 different places. If you’re email setup is saner and limited to one account this would be the most frictionless approach.

Plain Text Export

I do love plain text! Maybe some other Service/Workflow that saves it automatically to a new note in NVAlt (Mac) or Editorial (iOS), either way ending up in my Dropbox Text folder. There might be times where images or other formatting information gets lost here though and you don’t want to be caught considering this every time you save an email for Reference. Still, if that’s not a concern this would be a valid option with the most longevity and guaranteed lightning fast ability to search it later.

Print and and save a PDF copy to a set folder.

On Mac I use the MacSparky? trick to assign CMD+P to the Save as PDF option in Print Preview. You could expand on this idea by adding a new Print Action, choosing a folder you want to save PDF copy references to. Then assign a Keyboard Shortcut (say CMD+R) to that action.

Once setup this would be a rapid CMD+P, CMD+R and it’s archived to a folder, text scanned immediately by Spotlight (Mac).

On iOS there would be a few options depending on your mail client. Across all your could use the Workflow app (create a PDF, save to a set folder). on iPhone 6s you could Print, use force touch on the Print Preview to save a PDF (have to choose destination each time). On AirMail app and others you can use the built-in action to Create a PDF, then again choose a destination each time. For this I like how the ‘Save to Dropbox’ share action remembers recently used folder locations.

STATS: Inboxes=488 | Unread=246 | Flagged=2693

Jason Shanks

Jason is a Musician, UX Designer/Web Developer, Apple Consultant, Mac Genius in a past life and all around Apple Freak for 25+ years now. His first reaction to himself when conceiving of starting FWAP was, "ON,NAAB!" Which was later revealed to mean Oh No, Not Another Apple Blog!