Home > Everything Else > Managing the Chaos

Managing the Chaos

August 30, 2006

I have spent a lot of time today (well, while I watch Oracle install… fun times) attempting to find a way to organize the chaos that IS my email box.  I have three key email accounts in my life: work, my personal gmail account, and my university email account.  Between those, I think I get ~400 emails a day.  Sadly, not much of that is spam.  *cries*

So, in light of a couple articles on the “Getting Things Done” that I’ve read in the past few days, I’ve attempted to see if I can apply some of these at work.  I’m pretty organized as it is, but, at least according to the GTD idea, spend more time organizing than I do producing.  I don’t doubt that.  Simon Quest, a PM from the MSFT Architecture Strategy Team, recently wrote about how he manages GTD using Outlook 2007.  My problem?  My LIFE isn’t revolved around one email account and, like most, I can’t take the whole leap into managing things as they recommend.  I need the comfort of my storage (and the C.Y.A. folders I have).

What did I attempt to do?

  1. Create tasks rather than manage emails,
  2. Assign a category(s) to  emails and move them out of the Inbox into Holding,
  3. Move emails out of the Inbox/Holding into Storage.

Like Simon, I’m a keyboard guy, so I created a few VBA scripts (aka: hacked his up to what I wanted them to do).

EmailToTask() – Assign Category and create task object out of mail.  This is great for Outlook 2007’s Taskpad.
(Simon has this MOVE the email, but I’d rather copy it to a task and then move it off to Holding or Storage from here… deleting emails == bad CYA).

Set item = Outlook.Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection.item(1)
item.ShowCategoriesDialog

Set myolApp = CreateObject(“Outlook.Application”)
Set myNamespace = myolApp.GetNamespace(“MAPI”)
Set myTasks = myNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderTasks)
item.Copy myTasks

EmailtoHolding() – Assign Category and copy to a Holding directory under the same context as the Inbox.

fileFolderName = “Holding”
Set item = Outlook.Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection.item(1)
item.ShowCategoriesDialog

Set myolApp = CreateObject(“Outlook.Application”)
Set myNamespace = myolApp.GetNamespace(“MAPI”)
Set myInbox = myNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)
Set rootFolder = myInbox.Parent
Set subFolders = rootFolder.Folders
Set subFolder = subFolders.GetFirst
Do While Not subFolder Is Nothing
If subFolder.Name = fileFolderName Then
 fileEntryID = subFolder.EntryID
 Set fileFolder = myNamespace.GetFolderFromID(fileEntryID)
item.Move fileFolder
Exit Do
End If
Set subFolder = subFolders.GetNext
Loop

EmailToStorage() – Assign Category and move to Storage PST

Set item = Outlook.Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection.item(1)
item.ShowCategoriesDialog
With Application.GetNamespace(“MAPI”)
 Set olFold = .Folders(“Personal Folders”).Folders(“Inbox”)
 For Each iMsg In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
 If TypeName(iMsg) = “MailItem” Then
  iMsg.Move olFold
 End If
 Next
End With

From here, I created a toolbar and added Buttons for them and hotkeys.  Slick as can be!  We’ll go a few weeks and see how it goes!

Categories: Everything Else
%d bloggers like this: