Getting to Zero

Outlinker is evolving quickly as it gets some use and the suggestions trickle in. I used it to successfully drain my Gmail inbox to zero for the first time using Microsoft Outlook this morning and made several edits along the way.

The macro now lets you select the messages you want to process and then opens them one by one so you can read them while you are deciding what to do with them. It will also recognize several keywords:

  • skip: I'm sorry David — I just had to add this one :-)
  • archive : move message to folder without adding task in MindManager
  • delete : delete message (will be archived if you are using Gmail)
  • reply, stop, or cancel : stop the macro
  • help : not so much
  • gdelete : move Gmail messages to trash (required customization)

Here is an screen show showing the macro dialog box asking for a next action and keywords for an email message from Google new MindManager posts:

Using OutLinker to process your Microsoft OutLook inbox messages into MindManager

After hitting enter, the macro moves the message to an archive pst folder and creates an action item in in my MindManager MindManager "Blog" project map (below). Note that MindReader placed the activity on my "Blog" project map based on the "blog keyword and based on the rest of the text entered added…

  • Activity icon
  • "Someday" icon based on the "someday" keyword
  • hyper-link back to the original message in the archive folder
  • Body of the message as a note underneath the topic for backup/quick reference
  • "letter" icon to remind user there is a message behind the hyperlink
  • @web context based on "research" verb
  • Idea icon based on idea keyword
  • Start date of today

Email message processed into MindManager using MindReader

If you have already gone through the OutLinker Installation, be sure to grab the latest macro code from the wiki.

Once you start actively using OutLinker, keeping your ResultsManager dashboards refreshed daily will become more important. Now might be a good time to have a look at the "Putting it in front of the door" script and/or "You've got Mail from ResultsManager?".

7 Comments »

  1. Mal said,

    December 23, 2007 @ 2:43 am

    I have this working to archive directly to my local pst file but ideally now I am using imap on Gmail I would like to archive back into Gmail. I cant figure out how to specify the 'All Mail' folder in Gmail as the destination for archiving.

  2. ActivityOwner said,

    December 24, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

    When you archive to the pst file I believe a copy of the message is left in "All Mail". I'm away from my home system for the holidays so I can't experiment with this.

    If you past the "listfolder.bas" macro in underneath the rest of the macro code you can run that macro and get a sense of what the naming is of various folders.

    I'm not sure that outlook will be smart enough to hyperlink out to gmail messages.

  3. ActivityOwner said,

    December 29, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

    I made a few big improvements to the outlinker macro today.

    • It now stores its configuration settings in a notes folder so it is easier to upgrade/configure without editing code. It will also prompt user for archive store/folder if it doesn’t find them.
    • For fun it counts the number of messages you have processed with the macro and displays it each time (also lets user know when macro is done).
    • I added three leading “keywords” (olio, olwf, olca) to let macro automatically assign sender/addressee as a waiting-for, I-owe, or contact-about. I’m not sure what the right keywords should be – could just use io/wf/ca but some might want to reserve those for use in mindreader as resource verbs.
    • I’ve also added short codes for “d” “a” “s” for deleting, archiving, and skipping messages.

    Documentation will lag, so post a comment or send an email if you run into trouble.

  4. Chuck said,

    December 30, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

    I installed the new macro code, although I did not locate anywhere in it to indicate my .pst folders like was used in the prior code. When I run the macro, I am prompted for an archive store, which I don't have. I entered a name thinking it would help me create one, but that didn't work. I'm not familiar with an "archive store" or "note" and I can't see anywhere in the wiki or elsewhere on how to configure the new version. Any help or suggestions? Thanks – I look forward to using the new improvements.

  5. ActivityOwner said,

    December 30, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

    Like I said — documentation is lagging :-)

    I still need to get all the terminology right, but "Archive Store" is name associated with the pst file or exchange server (e.g. "Personal Folders" or "Mailbox – Activity, Owner"). Referring to this as "pstfile" was confusing as folks were trying to enter path names.

    When you enter the the store name, it will be stored in a notes folder in your default "store" for future use.

    There is a separate macro (listfolders) that I need to incorporate into the code so that it provides you with a list of valid choices.

  6. Chuck said,

    December 30, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

    OK – I went ahead and restored the prior working version, and will try again when you've got documentation and/or your listfolders macro integrated. Keep up the great work – the last 2 weeks have been the first in a long time that I've been able to clear out my inbox.

  7. ActivityOwner said,

    December 30, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

    OK — I merged listfolders into code so that it now will open notepad with a list of stores or stores and folders. You need to find the one you want to use and then enter at the prompt.

    Someday I'd like to make it a drop-down list but don't have the know-how right now.

    Give it a try:
    http://wiki.activityowner.com/index.php?title=Outlinker.bas

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