Using the Junk E-mail folder to your advantage

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So, when I said that I don’t use folders to manage email, that was a small fib. Truth be told, I do use the Junk E-mail folder. Here’s why:

Even with all my filters and categories (a.k.a. tags), I still receive more email than I care to triage. For example, now that I’m working with my new team, I get email about all of the support tickets that are sent to the team – even though I’m not capable of responding to any of them.

When I first joined the team, these messages were appearing in my “Important” category because all mail sent to the team DL was flagged as important. I soon realized that some of the mail was not as important to me as it might be to the rest of the team. So…

I tried demoting that mail (mostly from bots) to “Interesting.” This gave me better visibility into my “Important” mail, but simultaneously clouded my view of my “Interesting” mail – mail from executives and my favorite distribution lists. So…

I demoted these messages again, to “Neither Important nor Interesting.” This allowed me to focus on the really important and interesting things. But, it still meant that I had to either flag them as complete, or delete them to get them out of my Triage folder so I could experience that tiny little peacefulness that comes over you when you reach Inbox Zero. So…

I made the decision that I should just delete these messages when they arrive since I never read them anyway. But, since I’m always afraid that a rule will delete something I don’t want deleted, I chose to send these messages to my Junk E-mail folder, instead of deleting them.

This has worked out incredibly well. As the messages arrive, they are automatically triaged out of my triage folder. So, I can completely ignore them until the number on that handy little icon gets uncomfortable, at which point I quickly check the folder to make sure there’s nothing important, then delete my Junk E-mail. (Usually, around 30 messages hits my personal threshold.)

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