Managing the social information flow

@chrisbrogan raises some interesting questions in his blog “I want now not new” about how to manage the amount of noise that hits our inboxes, Twitter and other places. I mentioned my admiration for Outlook and how I use it to manage multiple inboxes in my previous blog entry. (however I am also very frustrated with Outlook, but that is for another story).

Here are some other ideas for making the email information flow more manageable with Outlook. DISCLAIMER copy my work methods at your own risk :-)

  1. Create a parallel inbox where you only move emails meeting certain criteria.
    For many years now I have had an Inbox_HakanS that only receives emails from a set of rules on the main inbox. Rules include email from my management chain, select other individuals, if certain keywords are in the subject line or if it is sent as high importance. This has cut the emails I need to address in the next couple of hours in half. This may seem backwards but it actually makes it much easier to keep the less important emails for later.
    Secret shared: some of the keywords that make it important are “RFP”, “Quote”, and “Proposal”.
  2. Turn off automatic synchronization of emails.
    When I need “thinking time” I turn off Outlook’s automatic syncing, and do manual syncs only when I am ready to take care of new emails. This removes a lot of the distraction of the “You’ve Got Mail” syndrome.
  3. Turn on the Conversations (Thread) feature to get all related emails in one thread together.
    The Conversation feature makes it a lot easier to quickly scan and delete an active thread. It also works really well with the above method of doing manual syncs since you don’t have to deal with every single response on the thread as they come in.
  4. Use the Ignore feature.
    By clicking “Ignore” on a message, that message and all future messages in the thread will go directly to the Deleted Items folder. A really useful feature when you don’t want to follow a topic. Have you ever seen threads getting out of hand with a lot of “Stop replying ALL”? Well now you don’t have to be upset about never ending threads. You just make them disappear.

What tips do you have?