Apr 27 2009
Most of us power user types get a fair amount of email. I don’t know about you but when I sit down to do email, I don’t want to be bothered by having to sort it all out. I have my mail forward to several different mailboxes: MacMerc, Friends, and Work. Anything that doesn’t fit those three and isn’t spam gets sent to a "First Timers" folder. The only problem with this is that the cool red icon in Mail.app doesn’t show up right since your new mail is strewn via a few boxes. Hopefully this will be fixed in the next update (Apple, this is a hint).
The problem with sorting mail is that it’s a pain to set up. Here’s where the tip comes in. In Address Book, set up groups. For instance I have one for Friends, one for MacMerc and one for Work. You can have more, and in fact I do, but at least have ones that match up with your main categories. You can create a new group with the + that is below the first column. You can add contacts to it by dragging them to the group icon. Once you have all your contacts sorted nicely in groups, go back to Mail.app.
This is really powerful if you think about it. When you add someone to your address book and make them a member of a group, suddenly they have been added to a rule that sorts your email in real time!
To create a new mailbox in Mail.app, just go to Mailbox>New Mailbox… and name it something you’ll remember. It shows up in the drawer. You can even nest mailboxes which is really handy if you want to archive off mail. I like to keep my mailboxes under a few hundred messages to keep things really speedy, and put the rest in an archive file that is nested underneath the mailbox.
The hard part about keeping this up is adding people to the right groups. It’s one of those 2 second things that seem to never get done. My advice, suck it up and do it. There is nothing like sitting down and seeing 20 emails all nicely sorted for your reading/replying pleasure.