Getting T* Done – Thunderbird settings

There is one thing I need to say about GTD setup based on folders – it’s utterly stupid. At least when it comes to e-mails.

Whenever you get some new e-mails, they are typically organised by threads. These threads provide you with the context. Once discussion spawns, it may happen that e-mail sent few weeks before contains some important info. Once you have moved this e-mail to some other folder, the context is gone unless you find it.

So, you have this new e-mail in the INBOX. You carefully check it and you decide it’s OK to move it to NEXT. Another one is the e-mail with info that everything is OK with this thing you have ask about, so you can remove e-mail or move it to OUTBOX/DONE. And there is this another one, you are answering it quickly and move it to WAITING-FOR. At some point it may happen that part of discussion is inside OUTBOX, some of the e-mails are still waiting for your actions and some of them are waiting for the info from external agents. And then, this new e-mail comes and you need some context. So you are trying to find it inside OUTBOX/NEXT/WAITING-FOR/INBOX as you already have forgotten where did you put e-mail from Suzi, where she was giving you some very important info about some things in this very recent project.

It makes no sense. I definitely prefer to use tags. With tags I can easily filter all the e-mails with a matter of one click. I can mark whole thread as WAITING-FOR while parts of the thread might be already marked as OUTBOX. If it happens I have already archived the whole thread, and suddenly some pure soul tries to get back to this particular conversation I can easily get the whole thread from OUTBOX to INBOX and still preserve the whole conversation and the context.

I tried, I really tried hard to go with folders but it turned out to be a management nightmare.