Michael On Everything Else

Email Productivity

I use Mac Mail for email and have two add-ons that help me keep track of things.

One add-on is MailTags from Indev. Using MailTags I can tag emails with information that is added to the email as an X-Header. As long as the recipient’s email server doesn’t strip X-headers the recipient could use the same tags or even better, when they reply to your email, your tags return.

For example, let’s say I send an email to someone to ask a question. I can tag the email with a keyword “@Waiting.” This adds the X-Header X-Mailtags: {"mailTagsKeyWords":["@Waiting"]} into the email. Next I set up a smart mailbox that matches any email containing either the keyword “@Waiting” or “@Reply*”.

Now in that smartmailbox I can see the emails I’ve sent, which are awaiting a reply and I can also see any replies I’ve received. Also, when a reply comes in that I’m waiting for, I can readily see it because the smart mailbox will indicate a new email.

Other tags I currently use are:

You can also assign emails to projects using MailTags, which you can then use for email organization using another smart mailbox. Why smart mailboxes instead of folders? A study done by IBM found that searching for emails is more efficient than organizing email. Not only that, but I find it to be more reliable based on the number of times I have failed to properly file an email into its designated folder. When I need that email, I will need to search for it because it isn’t filed properly. Instead, all emails remain in a single inbox and I use search, either ad-hoc or saved searches in the form of smart mailboxes.

I’ve used this system for years and it has served me well.

The other add-on is also from indev and it’s called Mail Act-On. I’ll write about it in another post.