The Death Star was a moon-sized battle station constructed by the Galactic Empire… It boasted a primary weapon, a superlaser, with sufficient firepower to destroy an entire planet with a single shot. 8 giant kyber crystals powered the superlaser. – Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
I’ll be giving you 8 WorkFlowy kyber crystals to superfocus your superlaser – to once and for all decimate your email inbox. Join me on the WorkFlowy side of the force.
It’s true. All of it.
What if immediately is not the opportune time to respond to all incoming emails? We know exactly what happens: Email inbox and anxiety levels start increasing proportionately. Tension mounts.
There are nice little apps which help in our pursuit of inbox zero (or annihilation)… but exist only as sub-plots. I make good use of Gmail’s “Inbox“ app, which lets me snooze emails and have them reappear in my inbox at a later time. You should also try it. But. There are a couple of challenges I face when using this as my primary Modus Operandi: I find myself hitting the “snooze button” several times as specific snoozed emails sneak up on me again and again. Also, When you snooze an email on mobile, all of the emails in the conversation reappear individually in your inbox on desktop. Aaaargh!! I know you know what I’m talking about.
With that out of the way, let’s focus on what WorkFlowy can do for us:
iv – A New Hope (Email URL’s to WorkFlowy)
Okay, so here’s the WorkFlowy backstory: You do know that email URL’s exist and that each of them is unique, right? If WorkFlowy can organize your brain, why not also your email workflow? Simple use case: copy an email URL (in your web browser) to WorkFlowy… and click on it when the time is right. It will bring up the email you need.
So we’re going to take a look at why you should be clipping your email URL’s to WorkFlowy – en masse.
v – The Empire Strikes Back (Clip & Archive)
It’s time to crush your inbox. Once you’ve clipped an email URL to WorkFlowy, you can go ahead and archive (not delete) it. That will take it out of your inbox… however, it will still be reachable when you click on the link in WorkFlowy. Your email will open in a new tab.
The whole thrust of this effort is getting emails out of your inbox – especially if you want to deal with them later – and into the WorkFlowy contexts/ lists you need them in. When it comes to email links, WorkFlowy, as an outliner, is your new playground.
vi – Return of the Jedi (Clipping tools)
Every Jedi (or Sith) has Jedi-like powers. They’ve got some tricks up those long sleeves of theirs. So how do we clip both an email URL and the subject title of your email in one fell swoop? You’ll want to install Rawbytz’s Clip to WorkFlowy Chrome extension. Rawbytz wrote a post on it here. Just click on the Clip to Workflowy icon in your browser… and what you paste into WorkFlowy will look something like this:
You get the email subject in the list title and the email URL in the note.
i – The Phantom Menace (Get the whole conversation)
If there’s more to an email conversation than just one email – and you’d like to see everything in context; instead of clipping an individual email URL, go ahead and search for a contact in your email search utility and clip the URL of the search results. That will give you all emails in the conversation, including ones you’ve sent – in chronological order – with the most recent email on top. That way you won’t have to keep clipping the most recent email URL of a conversation to WorkFlowy, especially for collaborative projects.
ii – Attack of the clones (Copy project links to a WorkFlowy calendar)
Clones are useful when aiming for total dominion… or when plotting project-related email links in a WorkFlowy calendar/ tickler file. To better coordinate your email plan of attack, you could include the link to your email conversation within a project outline, like so:
Above you can see that I’m going to get in touch with Chandler via email on January 4th. But what I also want to do to make my strategy all the more incisive is to use the Clip to WorkFlowy extension yet again – to clip the WorkFlowy list URL of whatever project (by first zooming into the project list) and then pasting that into what I like to call my Kanban Calendar, which is really a tickler file of sorts:
You will see that when you clip a WorkFlowy URL, Clip to WorkFlowy does us the courtesy of adding “See…” to the WorkFlowy list title and italicizes it for us. Very nifty. You just know that you have to follow the internal link… which in my case takes me to the original project list – which in turn contains the email link I need to get the ball rolling.
iii – Revenge of the Sith (Overthrow your inbox)
You feel like taking revenge on your email inbox for all those years of overwhelming anxiety – for working against you and not with you?
You can take any email link you please and pop it into WorkFlowy. Of course, if the email you need to take action on is not part of a project, you can go directly to your WorkFlowy calendar (if you have one) or WorkFlowy context (perhaps with date tags) and pop in your email URL. If, for instance, you ever get emailed bills for specific expenses, clip the email URL and get it into a WorkFlowy tickler file. Here’s an email link to my cell phone bill in my calendar/ “tickler file”:
I’ve written about my GTD-esque “ticker file” and much else about handling date-specific tasks, in my WorkFlowy book. I also write about the Japanese Kanban principles of visualizing your workflow and limiting your work in progress – which is all the more relevant when it comes to emails that you can’t deal with all at once because you have too much on your plate. In that sense, if you’ve scheduled an email response for a time that is still not convenient when the time arrives, you can “push” your email link further down the road in your calendar.
Take a look at the nature of the emails you get. Delete/ archive those that demand no action. Clip to WorkFlowy those that might be useful. Do some head-scratching and figure it out… but get things out of your inbox. If, say, you subscribe to a couple of good blogs (like the WorkFlowy blog) – but you don’t have the time to read the content just yet – clip those email URL’s to a WorkFlowy reading list or schedule them on a WorkFlowy calendar. You could also grab the actual URL of the blog post/ article and get that into WorkFlowy.
vii – The Force Awakens (Tags and search)
How about those emails that are neither urgent nor have any time frame within which to be tackled – yet you don’t want to archive them without representing them in WorkFlowy? You could get your GTD on and either include those email URL’s in “Someday”/ “Maybe” lists… or tag them as such. Get creative with your tags and make sure you have a system.
You could liken WorkFlowy tags to The Force. They are (or can be) everywhere. Wield them wisely and you’ll be able to find your email links wherever they are, whether or not they are part of a WorkFlowy date system. Similarly, if, say, you are using Gmail, you could do a global search for “mail.google.com” – that should reveal all email URL’s wherever they might be. The Force is there for the using.
viii – Find your own workflow
The end goal here is that your email inbox is brought into submission and your email finds its way into the niches and contexts it deserve to be in – the way only an outliner can achieve. This takes us way beyond the traditional dynamics we’re confined to within an email account or even a 3rd-party email app. You may also want to nest your email conversation URL’s, together with twitter and LinkedIn profiles, site URL’s, etc:
When it comes to inbox zero, fortune favors the ruthless. It requires some bold moves and decision making to keep this thing under your thumb. You’ve got to bring down an iron fist on your email inbox. Moving into 2016, use your WorkFlowy Death Star to squelch your email inbox as it rises up against you – so that all might be right with the galaxy.
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