Tag Archives: productivity

Quick Tip: Thunderbird Tags + Trusted Trio = Quick Inbox Processing

I get a lot of email and so do you. Gina Trapani’s Trusted Trio system of email folders is really helpful for sorting and storing whatever comes in. Every email you get either goes into the “Follow Up”, “Archive” or “Hold” folders (or is deleted).

Gina says her system is an adaptation of a Merlin Mann system, and to my eyes it looks similar to Gina’s cooked-down general approach to Getting Things Done.

The idea is we need to sort our email, but an overly-complicated system of folders yields diminishing returns since it takes time and effort just to decide where an email is supposed to go.

Reducing the number of folders to three helps, but it still takes…well…effort to drag those messages (with “Holds” and “Follow-Ups” and “Archives” all mixed up with each other) over to the different folders, and when processing a backlog of messages that can be a pain. And if your IMAP email is on a slow connection it can take a while for each folder to update.

My little contribution to this system, for Thunderbird users, is to use the numeric hotkeys for Thunderbird’s built-in tags for sorting. In my case I use “1” for Follow Up, “2” for Archive and “3” for Hold. These tags will instantaneously markup your email headers, with a neat color code to boot.

Then just use the “View” drop-down button on your toolbar to filter the Inbox by a tag. Then highlight all those “Archives” or “Holds” or whatnot and drag to the appropriate folder in one stroke. Voila! Now it takes only three drags to empty your Inbox, no matter how many messages are waiting.

If the View dropdown is not already there, right-click on your toolbar near the top of the window and click “Customize.” Drag the button to an empty space on the toolbar and you’re ready to go. Tag titles can be customized under Edit -> Preferences -> Display, and then clicking the Tag tab. Happy sorting!

On The Pareto Principle, 80s and 20s

Best explanation of the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) I’ve come across:

The point of the Pareto principle is to recognize that most things in life are not distributed evenly. Make decisions on allocating time, resources and effort based on this:

  • Instead of 1 hour on a rough draft for an article you may write, spend 10 minutes on 6 outlines for a paper / blog article and pick the best topic.
  • Instead of investing 3 hours on a website, spend 30 minutes and create 6 different template layouts.
  • Rather than spending 3 hours to read 3 articles in detail which may not be relevant to you, spend 5 minutes glancing through 12 articles 1 hour and then spend an hour each on the two best ones 2 hours.

These techniques may or may not make sense – the point is to realize you have the option to focus on the important 20%.

Lastly, don’t think the Pareto Principle means only do 80% of the work needed. It may be true that 80% of a bridge is built in the first 20% of the time, but you still need the rest of the bridge in order for it to work. It may be true that 80% of the Mona Lisa was painted in the first 20% of the time, but it wouldn’t be the masterpiece it is without all the details. The Pareto Principle is an observation, not a law of nature

via Understanding the Pareto Principle The 80/20 Rule | BetterExplained.