Email...it's what's for dinner. And lunch. And breakfast.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004Amidst all my playing around with various info management apps, I invariably have to play around with sundry mail clients as well. After all, the deluge of mail that any knowledge worker receives is the source of the most inputs.
While I now have a strong habit of processing my paper inbox every day after two years of GTD, I still struggle with managing email. According to POPFile, which is what I use to tag spam, about 75% of the mail I receive is junk. I actually wouldn't even care about this, except for one thing: sometimes good messages get tagged as spam. Yes, it's exceedingly rare, but I would really hate to miss something important. So I visually scan my spam folder multiple times per day.
Aside from the spam problem, I get a healthy dose of valid mail that needs to be handled. I am currently simply flagging messages that require further action, be it programming that needs to be done, a bug that needs to be squashed or simply a reply or forward that needs to be written. This works to a degree, but the real problem comes with messages that include multiple actions (several task requests, for example). I don't like having to record these separately in another application, but if I don't, there is a possibility that the required actions become fuzzier over time as the message piles up under fifty other messages that require action. Ideally I could mark different lines in a message as "items" that are tagged with additional properties (due date, context, etc.). Unfortunately that requires too much work with current tools (or at least I haven't figured out an easy way to do it). The closest I've ever come to this ability is by pasting the message into Ecco and then splitting the message text into individual outline items.
So, anyway, the point of the post was supposed to be that I'm currently using The Bat!, for several reasons. It's very fast, even with message stores of many thousands upon thousands of messages. It is highly configurable, nearly to the point of absurdity. Thus, it has strong geek appeal. Finally, its message editor is the best I've used for ensuring that your message looks the same regardless of the recipient's client. There is a new version, 3.0, that was released on September 1. Note that IMAP support (which I don't use) is supposedly very buggy.
I'm also a big fan of PocoMail, mostly for the built-in scripting language. It still seems a little sluggish to me, however, so I keep hoping newer versions will correct this. I do think PocoMail is a great client.
Finally, I've been experimenting in the past few days with a seemingly unholy approach to mail: I exit my mail client while I am working on a task - just like I don't answer the phone while I'm focused on a task. The idea is to eliminate distraction, and I must say it seems to work very well. It's a bit frightening, as I don't want to miss a real client emergency, so I still fire it up at least every hour to minimize my paranoia.
Posted by murt at 2:22 AM