January 17, 2003

Log Jam in the Sent Items folder

I completely agree with this posting from Chris Anderson about dealing with e-mail :

Email Responsiveness

I'm not sure if this is a universal truth or not, but I suspect it is.

People can't manage their email.
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[ Chris Anderson - Email Responsiveness ]

I have been a member of the "aim for an empty Inbox" brigade for some time now, and I have the extensive hierarchy of mails filed into folders to prove it! It sure helps me see the wood for the trees, but of course causes some big headaches after returning from a 2-week vacation.

One of the biggest problems I find though is applying the same "aim-for-empty" policy to the Sent Items folder. I have the "In folders other than Inbox, save replies with original message" option activated in Outlook, but sometimes it just doesn't seem to work right when I expect it to. (it does work sometime, so I haven't quite worked out the exact causes yet) Add to that if you reply to a mail from the Inbox, the reply stays in the Sent Items box even if you file the original into a folder after replying, and you can see how the Sent Item folder can get very full and unstructured.

The idea of filing the mail, switch to the folder, re-open the mail and reply from there just does not work reliably for me. Apart from being a long way to do a simple task, it is also not an atomic action - a few times now I have had an interruption in mid-sequence and the reply never happens (oops). Just like with software, intermittent failures are always worse than predictable problems, so maybe the log jam in the Sent Items folder is the price I have to pay at the moment.

If anyone on the Outlook team at Microsoft is listening to this (or indeed anyone else using Outlook for that matter), I would be interested to hear your comments.

Entry categories: General
Posted by Jorgen Thelin at January 17, 2003 05:00 PM - [PermaLink]
 
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Same here. This problem proliferates throughout all e-mail applications. I manually move messages from my Sent Items to Inbox every couple of days. Unlike you, I do not bother with the mail hierarchy anymore. For some reason, I have far less difficulty in finding messages when they all live in the Inbox, having totally given up on filing messages in a hierarchy on a regular basis. Posted by: Ankush on February 1, 2003 08:18 AM