I deal with a lot of email at work, and per the GTD method I like to keep a clean inbox as best as possible. I used the tips located here: http://lifehacker.com/5175347/add-a-gmail+like-archive-button-to-microsoft-outlook to give me 4 shortcut keys to rapidly sort my email. I simply press Alt plus 1, 2, 3, or 4 to organize my email, this way I can filter out the wheat from the chaff and never lose an important email in the fray.

My categories:

  1. Archive – Just like in gmail, this is a general catchall for removing email from the inbox, without deleting it.
  2. Requires Action – This would be analogous to “next action”; it’s for emails that need me to make a decision or handle a request, generally these are time sensitive.
  3. Review – All emails that go here are ones that I would like to review but don’t require a specific action, for example a coworker emailing me documentation on a database.
  4. Future Reference – Here I’ll put all the emails that I may need in the future, once I review the details of the example database email, I might shift it to this folder for later reference. 

By using the outlook setting to “Show total number if items” on the folder properties, I can see how many outstanding items are in my review or action folders.

Here is the VB code, be sure to follow the steps in the above linked article as well.

Sub Archive()
Set ArchiveFolder = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI").GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox).Folders("Archive")
For Each Msg In ActiveExplorer.Selection
Msg.UnRead (False)
Msg.Move ArchiveFolder
Next Msg
End Sub
Sub RequiresAction()
Set ArchiveFolder = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI").GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox).Folders("Requires Action")
For Each Msg In ActiveExplorer.Selection
Msg.UnRead (False)
Msg.Move ArchiveFolder
Next Msg
End Sub
Sub Review()
Set ArchiveFolder = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI").GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox).Folders("Review")
For Each Msg In ActiveExplorer.Selection
Msg.UnRead (False)
Msg.Move ArchiveFolder
Next Msg
End Sub
Sub FutureReference()
Set ArchiveFolder = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI").GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox).Folders("Future Reference")
For Each Msg In ActiveExplorer.Selection
Msg.UnRead (False)
Msg.Move ArchiveFolder
Next Msg
End Sub
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