So, like most people in service industry, the vast majority of my significant correspondance is managed via an email client. Like the majority of the world, this happens on Windows platform, using Microsoft Outlook. Again, like most of the waking world, this results in a tediously large inbox.

Most days, this isn’t too much of a problem. Whatever else can be said about my work ethic, I generally clear things quite quickly, and am so able to respond to / deal with enough of the mails such that I end the day with a manageable inbox – the ‘actioned’ emails get filed neatly somewhere for Google Desktop to retrieve when I need them. Recently – and at various points in my career – the inflow far exceeds the outflow, and today my inbox swelled to 140 emails – a lot of pending actions! I’m aware that there are clever ways to tie tasks to emails, set reminders and flags, and have the whole lot integrate nicely with your Outlook calendar. I’m also aware that the vast majority of people – myself included – just click snooze to get the annoying reminder bubbles out of the way and then get on with our days. Clearly this is not ideal… but there’s another useful feature in Outlook: categories.

Have never used these before, but, especially as I have clearly defined projects (multiple clients as a basis for demarcation, if nothing else) – it was pretty swift for me to set up categories, and indeed to categorise my inbox. This now doubles as a ‘to-do’ list, sparing me the tedium of managing a separate tasks list or, indeed, writing a new one from scratch on whatever scrap of paper is at hand. So am quite liking it; if anyone has any thoughts on improving the system, let me know… but it definitely helps me juggle the multi-tasking. Now, if I can combine this with reminder flags, I may never miss a deadline again… or not. We’ll see.

One thing I don’t quite understand: having 14,000 emails in your inbox and counting. That’s fine if you’re using Google Mail, but given how mediocre the native search functions in Outlook are…