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Filtered ham

I get a fuckton of email (by my reckoning). When my parents got the mail when I was a kid, FatherSir would ask "Is it someone who loves me, or loves my money?"

I use Gmail, and Gmail is really good about sorting stuff. Of course, that's not much good unless I tell it what to do.

When I get email from someone who loves my money (that is to say, a company who I've done business with in the past who I might want further contact from), I head for the "Filter messages like these" (from the "More" menu). I try different search options until I get something that looks like it'll get all of the messages of that nature from them.

Once I have that, I ask Gmail to tag all incoming messages with my "Coupons & Sales" label, optionally creating a subtag for that specific company. This way if I'm going to be shopping there, I can easily look and see if there's a current promotion before I check out. It also helps me identify what's likely to not be important when I look at my inbox.

I have a separate-but-related process for high-volume, low-importance notifications. Often I can't just dismiss the entire source, because that might blackhole things like "btw your account is on fire" or "hey, we just shipped your package". When I get those, I create a filter search that identifies that particular form of "noise" from that source (sometimes a source emits more than one kind of noise: I get a lot of email from Dreamwidth that I need to know about, but Dreamwidth's poll votes, birthday notifications, and invite code notifications are need to not clog up my day even though I want to know they're happening). Once I have the search honed, I instruct Gmail to tag all of these messages with the label "Probably dismissible". (If I feel like it, I go back and also have them automatically tagged with a label that tells me what it is, often color-coded.) (Most times when I create a "coupons & sales" search, I then go right back and put that same search in for "probably dismissible".)


A few times a day, especially if mail has stacked up, I search my inbox: "In:inbox label:Probably dismissible" which brings up everything that's been automatically tagged. I select-all for that page and look through to make sure that nothing that I actually need to take action on is in there (like if that birthday notification was for someone I need to buy a present for). I uncheck the ones I need to take action on and archive the rest of the page. Then I un-tag the ones that need action so they won't get swept up the next time I do that search.

I am still behind on my e-mail, but it's not the absolute pit it could be if I wasn't doing this.

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Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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