43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

eMail: lots of accounts, no organisation

My name is Andrew, i'm 24, and i'm a email-account-oholic

My Thunderbird is jammed packed with email accounts, from general day-to-day usage ones, to one shot "i need a email account for this mailing list" accounts, and thats not even counting the 20ish forwarders i have on the server-side, Add to that two gmail accounts and i've got a right royal mess.

Within the next week or so my old server is finally going to be decomissioned and i'm moving my hosting solution to a new provider so this presents a oppertunity to give my email accounts a spring clean.

My question is: how do the people of 43F handle their email accounts, do you have seperate accounts for types of mail (such as personal mail, public email address, mailing lists) or a catch-all solution? Any hints or recomendations would be much appreciated.

TOPICS: Life Hacks
Paul's picture

Not that it's perfect, or...

Not that it's perfect, or even that interesting, but here's my e-mail setup:

1. "Home" e-mail. This is our (myself & my wife's) main personal e-mail address. On MS Outlook running on the home PC. This way, all personal mail related to trip planning, friends visiting, etc. is in one place we both can see.

2. My gmail address. I'm doing more and more correspondence with this address, which violates principle #1, but I keep it to stuff my wife isn't interested in seeing. Gmail is a million times better than the webmail interface of our ISP (the address in #1). This is also where all of my newsletters and other "semi-junk" go.

3. Work e-mail, on Outlook running on my work laptop. In seven years I've probably had only 10-20 personal e-mail discussions on this account. I like to keep work and not-work e-mail separate. This account is a complete nightmare despite Merlin's great advice here at 43F. But at least it's not a mix of personal and work stuff. That's about all it's got going for it.

This works for me. I use Gmail's labels to help keep stuff straight in there. A lot of what I get there is very junk-like, so I star the things that are most important so it shows up. Things like my credit card e-mails go to the "home" address, because I use MS Money on that computer, so the info is in the same context as the action.

I know there are a lot of "techier" solutions but I'm not that savvy. I

I recommend as few e-mail accounts as you can get by with, but as many as you need - yes, I borrowed that wisdom from David's thoughts on contexts, etc.

You can use Gmail features like "+ addressing" to approximate multiple addresses, with only one box to deal with.





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