Email workflow outline

email_flow1.pngI’ve finally finished organizing my email workflow.The diagram above illustrates my new email workflow.1. Two accounts (well, many actually) allow me to keep work and home emails separate.2. Each account accepts mail and is IMAP enabled.3. Filters:

  • Each account forwards all emails to an archive account.
  • Select mailing lists have filters that: skip the inbox, forward to the archive, and delete. This keeps my mobile email to only the most critical things.
  • Mail that is FROM me is also sent to the archive address. This ensures that my sent mail is archived, too.

4. The archive account is POP3 enabled.Mail clients are configured to leave mail on the server. Since the account is essentially read only, it’s MUCH faster than archiving all email in Google’s “All Mail” folder when using IMAP.5. Emails can be deleted with impunity from the home or personal accounts, knowing that they have already been archived. I delete everything that doesn’t have an actionable item. This keeps the inbox small and manageable. Beautiful.By pushing filtering, forwarding, and archiving tasks onto the server, I gain the following advantages:

  1. Mail is available and synchronized from multiple devices: phone, client, web.
  2. All incoming and sent mail is archived automatically
  3. Mobile mail is kept thin and light; high traffic lists are available in the archive time permitting
  4. Read-only archive is also stored on the client. Since no synchronization is required, it’s very fast.

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