Managing my email without

If you know me, you probably know I've been somewhat obsessed with a new email service called I was an early adopter last year when it launched and I've since forwarded all my older accounts directly into Hey. It's completely changed the way I correspond with people, and the way I manage all the other mail I get on a daily basis. In short, has sparked a new relationship with email that I actually really love!

[UPDATE] I've since moved away from's Hey World newsletter platform as I found it too limiting for what I want to accomplish.

In fact, I'm writing this blog-post-newsletter-thing right inside of It's a super simple way to author a blog or newsletter without really thinking too hard. I'll be writing here most days during the week. If you wanna subscribe, there's a thing at the bottom where you can drop your email and sign up and there's also an RSS feed for those of us that are over 40.

One thing that happened a couple months ago was that I got a new job! I'm now a Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services. It's been an incredible two months so far, and I'll surely be writing about my experience as time goes on. When I first got the offer I found myself imagining/visualizing what my new life was gonna be like. I find I do this with things like upcoming milestones, presentations, conflicts, or whatever else is top of mind. I visualize myself going through the paces and somehow that helps me prepare for what's to come. Oddly, one of the things I found myself visualizing was how I was going to manage my email, my calendar and really, my time at my new job. It's something I've struggled with in the past and I really wanted to put some focus on it in this new role.

It would be wonderful if Amazon used for email, but well, they don't. So, I will have to deal with reading and writing email in good old Outlook. Yay! On my first day, I opened my brand new inbox to find over 50 messages already in there, and since then, on a daily basis I've received about 50 more messages, so I knew right away I'd need a good system. Initially I tried setting up lots of Outlook rules to filter things into folders, but it didn't really work. The messages come from lots of sources, distribution lists (I'm on at least 40 lists already!) and tons of transactional emails about things like benefits or notifications like calendar invites or updates to collaborative work documents.

So, I stole a few ideas from Here's how I roll.

  • Everything just flows into my inbox. No rules or filters.
  • Everything gets dealt with as soon as possible according to the following scheme.
  • Currently, most of the email I get are announcements or internal newsletters. These all go right in a folder called "The Feed"
  • Those transactional emails I mentioned like an acknowledgements for a training I've completed go into "Paper Trail" for safe keeping.
  • I just read and delete notifications for things like "Doug edited the documented you are both working on.."
  • I have a single folder called "Convos" which is where I keep emails from actual people, colleagues, or customers. These are different from conversations happening within a distribution list in that they are meant to be conversations with me and others. Those dist-list messages also go into The Feed because they are typically the kind of email that is just interesting to read through when I have time.
  • I have a folder called "Reply Later" and one called "Set Aside" where I keep things that fit those categories. This makes it easy to keep track of important things I want to come back to quickly or people I need to follow up with. Outlook also has its "Flag" feature which can be used in a similar way, but I kinda like this approach so far.

That's it! No other folders! I don't need them so far. As emails come in I do my best to triage them using the above system as quickly as I can. I pile things up under "Reply Later" and "Set Aside" and then work on those as separate tasks when it makes sense. So far it seems to work, but I'll let ya know if it blows up in my face anytime soon!