If you’re like many the end of January marks the time when you realize that you haven’t kept up with your New Year’s Resolutions.
You haven’t been to the gym in a couple weeks
You’ve already cheated on the diet
That stack of paperwork is still sitting there
Your inbox is still out of control
While I can’t help with everything, your email inbox I can make a suggestion on – slim it down so it doesn’t look as large of a task.
First, I’m not going to suggest that you declare email bankruptcy and just delete everything. I’m also not going to suggest selecting everything and hitting the ‘mark as read’ and ‘archive’ buttons. I’m going to suggest you create an email DMZ that you can work through as time allows.
If use Gmail for your mail among the many features you have available to you is an outstanding search system (go figure). What we’re going to do is create an email DMZ for the year 2012 and then move everything prior to January 1st of 2013 into it.
First thing you need to do is create a new label for your DMZ, I would suggest 2012 DMZ as we’re looking to create a place for our left over 2012 emails to go. Once you have your label set up you need to then use the powerful search available to you in Gmail and grab all the emails prior to January 1st. As it turns out it’s a single search option with the right data point:
As you can see in the screen capture above the trick is to use the “before” option in the search. When you use this option it’s important to not the way the date is entered – four digit month first, two digit month, and then the two digit day. For a lot of folks that format is not what you’d expect and takes a bit to get use to but once you do it’s a rather powerful way to write the date (more on that in a later post).
Once you get the search results back you can apply your DMZ label and then archive the whole shooting match out of our Inbox.
I can hear you screaming at me now, “you said we wouldn’t archive all that email!” Ok, you got me, yes we did archive it out of your inbox but at this point it’s also all tagged with a label so you can find all of those emails in one place, a listing you can work through. Of course you may just decide to leave them all there and not touch them again – that’s a choice you’ll need to make yourself.
Do you use a DMZ for email or do you just declare bankruptcy and delete everything?
After making that switch I decided that it was time to change my search engine and after considering the various options decided on duckduckgo.com.
One of the biggest reasons I decided to go with duckduckgo.com is that they don’t track you; they don’t save your searches, and they don’t pass along that data to the site you click through to. I also have to admit their results still point me to what I’m looking for and the list includes sites I may not have already seen.
That was something that I had started to notice with Google, my searches had a tendency to hit the same sites over and over. I don’t think it was because they were pushing those sites but instead it was because their search algorithm had, over time, learned that those were the sites I preferred – all the more reasons to shift away from everything in one bucket.
The challenge was on the mobile side of my life as duckduckgo.com can’t be configured to be your default search engine in a mobile browser. So I’ve added it to my list of links on the main page of my mobile browser of choice, Dolphin, and shifted the default browser to bing.com (the lesser of the evils).
Do you use a search engine other than Google? Why not share your choice in the comments below?
If you’re like me you’re always searching for something in your archives, and for me one of the biggest is Evernote which does have a really good search tool but sometimes you just want to shortcut it.