Inbox Triage

Before I get into the real content of this post I thought I’d briefly address any pedants out there who are not happy by my use of the word “triage”. Apparently some people are awfully inconvenienced when it is used for any purpose other than a hospital’s ER; To those people – “Sorry, it is the right word, I can’t be bothered with the phrase ‘prioritise and allocate the correct resources accordingly’, please get over it, life’s too short”. Alternatively it could have only been the one person who I used to work with who’d really bang on about it 🙂

Inbox Triage


After reading Remy’s post “Yesterbox” on I remembered about a little chart I made ages ago to demonstrate how I’d triaged my inbox as a low level task manager.

Basically at the time I had a fairly complex work flow and almost all of it was confined to me; almost all of it was over email so my task management had to done in the inbox because it was too time consuming to move these tasks into any other task management solution. I’d tried a load of browser plugins, Thunderbird extensions and other software, none of them made it easier or quicker it was all just moving info about for the sake of it, so I stuck with my inbox and the age old: important/urgent rules:


In order to help add context to the emails I use the Thunderbird extension: Message Notes Plus. It’s a simply little thing that lets you add notes to an email.
Early on it allowed you to store the text file where the notes are stored and referred to in a network folder so more than one person could use the same notes, this really helped in the early days when we had a team of people all using the customer services inbox, we moved to Zendesk long ago now and the extension wants money for the networkable version now too.

To an extent I still use it today but for far less important tasks, much of my work flow relies on multiple people etc. so it gets a bit ganty.

At the time it was quite popular with other people with the same workflow, most people tend to have the important/urgent thought process but just don’t realise it.

The only browser plugin that’s ever got close to being useful was ActiveInbox which is a chrome plugin for Gmail, unfortunately it was so unreliable I had to knock it on the head.

Maybe once Google gets around to the promised improvements to Google Tasks something might be useful for me?