What If There Is No Action? It's likely that a portion of your in-basket will require no action.
There will be three types of things in this category:
• Items to incubate
• Reference material
Ever since I read Getting Things Done, my productivity has gone way up, and my stress has almost disappeared. By combining OmniFocus to collect future actions, Evernote as a Reference material folder, I've fallen into a system that nicely combines efficiency and reliability.
OmniFocus is my main storage area for everything I need or plan to do. By using MacSparky's Do Stuff idea, where you never use Due dates, but rely heavily on Defer dates, I push content forward, and have a daily forecast with things I can do that day, with deadlines only there to show me things I need to do, and cant possibly push forward when something urgent shows up. Since my job is 50% emergency support when something breaks, my schedule is always on the move, so I can't really decide what to do today, since today can be filled with repairing a broken server.
I've gotten into the good habit to put everything I need to do in OmniFocus, and immediately get rid of the item that triggered the action. If it's an email, I archive it, if it's an email with info I need, I store it in Evernote. But sometimes you need to act on that email or document when you finally do the action or tasks contained in the item. I mostly copy all the necessary info into a note in OmniFocus, but sometimes it's easier to just take the original item.
So for email I've fallen back on flagged items. I flag items I need to complete a tasks, and store the item in its ultimate location. Once done, I unflag, and the item is invisible, but stored somewhere I know I can retrieve it. Archive, Clients, Office, or another email folder.
Within Evernote I do the same. Everything is stored in its proper notebook (and trust me, I've got plenty), and I tag the item with a tag Action, so I can easily retrieve it. When I acted upon it, I remove the tag, and the item's still stored in its proper place.
Both Email and Evernote also have an inbox. I use them for what they are, temporary holding places for things I didn't act upon, being it archiving, turning it into an action or cataloging it in its correct folder.
But there's one place where I can't use this methodology. The Finder. I can't flag a document, store it in it's right folder, but easily retrieve it like I do with mails or notes. So I currently have an Inbox folder. It contains two folders: Inbox, and Actions (I really should rename the folder GTD, but since I've got plenty of Hazel, Keyboard Maestro script watching that folder, it's not easily renameable).
The first is for items I haven't organized yet, like downloads & attachment, and the latter is for stuff I need to do a task, but that I don't want to go looking for when I finally need them.
Spotlight and friends, are really nice and all, but sometimes knowing these files are in one place, is just easier.
But I don't really like my current solution. I can't quickly unflag items when I'm done, I happen to need a file that I already have stored in a folder, so I'm not going to retrieve it,…
Not a good system. But it syncs across machines, so that's a plus.
When Apple announced Tags as an update for the Finder, I found it to be a nice trick, but didn't really think of an immediate use for it.
Until last night. Some pieces clicked and I discovered that Tags are the Finder version of the same tags I've been using in Evernote, or Flags in mail.
With Tags, I can store every file in it's right folder, and just tag them as Actionable, whenever I need them, or think I need them.
So, ever since last night, I'm in doubt. Install Mavericks and stat using the tags, or keep my system clean and stable, and wait for this solution until Mavericks is finally released as a stable build. Maybe I should make a mirror of my system, update it and tests it for a day or two.. who knows..