you need a “waiting for” folder

If you don’t already have a “waiting for” folder in your email, you need one.

This is the folder I keep in my email where I drag sent messages that I’m waiting for a response on.

I go through it once or twice a week, and it’s fascinating to see how often I haven’t heard back about something and need to follow up on it, and which I otherwise might have forgotten about until the lack of answer popped up as a problem.

I do this not just for work emails, but personal ones too, like the person in my homeowners association who was supposed to get me an answer to a question about dues but didn’t, or any other question that I need the answer to but might otherwise forget that I’m waiting on until months later.

Yes, this does make me the annoying person who will follow up with you when it’s been a week since I emailed you a question and I haven’t heard back. It also makes me the person who gets the answers I need and doesn’t discover weeks later that some crucial bit of info never arrived.

Set yours up right now.

{ 119 comments… read them below }

  1. Adam*

    I had been using the yellow flag in outlook, but once I let my inbox get above 200 messages it’s rather like a tiny sun in a sea of gobbledygook. Maybe I should give this a shot instead…

    1. Kyrielle*

      I use the categories in Outlook for this and have a category of “waiting for response” – and you can search on categories in Outlook. :)

    2. Jennifer*

      Hah, I use Unread E-mails for the same purpose. (My personal e-mail has nearly 8000….) I love this idea! Set it up now.

      1. Kelly O*

        I cannot deal with unread mail.

        I think I may have a problem, however I like the idea of the flag, mainly because you can put it in whatever folder it needs to be in, and still follow up.

    3. Anonymous Power Outlook User*

      I too use Outlook categories – I created custom folders: pending quotes, pricing disputes, contact changes, etc. then I have an additional 4 categories that don’t fit these standard categories problem 1, problem 2, problem3, etc. Then sort Outlook by categories and all your like issues clump together with new emails at the top waiting to be categorized. I also categorize the sent item so it is in the same folder as the initial email and all subsequent pertinent emails are added to the category too.

      1. Treece*

        I’m so sad. I don’t have outlook any more and really miss the categories. We use lotus notes and I can’t figure out a comparable alternative. Really frustrating. Maybe this folder idea will help.

  2. Karyn*

    This. is. amazing.

    How did I never think to do this? I have several people in my life who never respond to things and I have to annoy them to get answers. This will make it much easier to do that.

    Thank you!

  3. LBK*

    How timely – I was just wondering about how many emails I must send that go unanswered and I forget about, so I never end up following up. For most of my follow ups I rely on our CRM to remind me, but there’s a lot of emails I send that don’t feed through it and those just go into a black hole, I suppose.

  4. Cath in Canada*

    I don’t have a folder for this, but I do have the red colour category in Outlook assigned to “with someone else – awaiting response”. I go through my sent messages folder at the end of each day and mark everything I’m waiting for, then on Monday mornings I sort by colour category and send reminders for any items I’ve been waiting a long time for.

    (I’m a huge fan of colour-coding Outlook in general. I have colours assigned to all my projects and use them to mark up my inbox and my calendar – automatically by rule when possible, and manually for all other messages. I even have cardboard folders in matching colours on my desk, for any hard copies related to each project. It really helps me to be able to glance at my calendar and my inbox and see what’s pressing, without having to read the actual text, and also to be able to sort my mail by project).

    1. AMG*

      Yes, I do this too. If I want to see what I’m waiting for, I sort by ‘From’ and look at the ones I sent. Works very well-good tips!

    2. Chassity*

      That’s what I do! I have a “waiting for response” category, and then categories for follow-up for my different areas of responsibility, like payroll, benefits, etc. Makes organization a breeze.

    3. Ama*

      I actually really like the tasks flag in Outlook for “waiting for” — I have to do a lot of follow up in one/two/four weeks, and I like that I can just check my task list to see what’s still outstanding (I track tasks that don’t involve responding to email in a different system, which is one of the reasons this works for me). Outlook lets you tag sent emails once they have actually been sent so it’s a similar process.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I do colors too, but they tend to get lost. I think I’ll do the Waiting folder and reassign some of the colors.

      Colors looks weird without the u…*colours*. I like the u better. ;)

  5. TOC*

    This is what I use Boomerang for! I can set messages to pop back into my mailbox (at the top of the list) at a certain date/time, and can even set it to only do so if I haven’t gotten a response yet. It has made such a difference in my inbox.

    1. EmilyG*

      I looove Boomerang. Before I had it, I used a very complicated series of filters in Outlook that I discovered online in about 2002. At my mid-2000s job, my colleagues thought I was some kind of super-genius because I’d magically remember things from 8 months earlier on exactly the right day.

      Now I work in IT so they know how I’m doing it…the mystery is gone!

    2. qkate*

      Yep, +1 for Boomerang. I use it to remind me of emails that I’m waiting for a response on, as well as emails I’ve promised to get back to later. (E.g. early requirements from a stakeholder for a project that I’m only going to begin planning in a couple months, say.)

        1. Chocolate lover*

          oh bummer it’s only for gmail. I never get any personal email any more, so I don’t have to worry about following up on my gmail account lol.

    3. voluptuousfire*

      Boomerang is great! I use it to send out thank you emails after interviews. Just set it and forget it.

    4. LibrarianJ*

      Does anyone know how secure Boomerang is? I’ve thought about using it for work before, since we use Gmail, but my organization is pretty intense about data /e-mail security and I wasn’t sure if feeding my e-mail through a third-party service would pose security issues.

    5. AllisonMary*

      Haha. I did a ctrl+f just to see if anyone else had already mentioned Boomerang, before I chimed in about it. Boomerang is awesome for all the reasons mentioned above!

    6. Stone Satellite*

      If anyone uses Inbox (the new experience for gmail), there is a “snooze” option so that the email will reappear at whatever date/time you set. So handy! I use it for everything, following up on sent mail, reminders that some deal I was considering is about to expire, appointment reminders, etc. You can also snooze them to a place, so if you snoozed your hotel confirmation to the address of the hotel, it pops up when you get there! Obviously location requires a location-aware device like a smartphone.

  6. Amber*

    I use Gmail so I have a label called “waiting”. I also use the “Multiple Inboxes” Labs app so I have it on my “Inbox” screen at all times.
    I use this at work for professional stuff and in my personal Gmail for spouse reminders and ecommerce shipping receipts. That way I can easily tell what’s yet to arrive from the UPS guy!

    1. Skip2MyLou*

      I also use the multiple inboxes lab on Gmail. I have the “Awaiting Response” inbox for items that are waiting for others and “Action Items” inbox for things that need further follow up from me.

    2. Connie-Lynne*

      Such a huge fan of the Multiple Inboxes lab! It wows everyone who happens to glance casually at my screen!

  7. HR Waiting 4 Reply*

    Done!
    Great suggestion and clears up my inbox with the bcc back to myself that was my former inefficient method.

  8. AdAgencyChick*

    Unless you’re like me and your inbox contains only items that are awaiting some kind of follow-up or resolution. I’m totally OCD about filing or deleting anything that either I or someone else doesn’t need to do something about, so my inbox (both at work and in my personal life) serves the same purpose.

    I am aware that my no-scroll inbox is a complete anomaly, but I can’t live any other way!

    1. Al Lo*

      My inbox is all things that I still have to deal with — once I’ve replied, it gets archived, so my inbox is also a fairly succinct to-do list, but only for me. Boomerang helps greatly with the things I need responses on from others.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Ooh, I had not heard of Boomerang. It looks kind of awesome — something that lets me write now, send later would satisfy my OCD tendency to want to “take care” of a thing immediately, while not annoying the recipient (or simply lessening the likelihood of a response) by actually replying too soon.

        Thank you!

        1. Liz*

          You can use the Delay Delivery option in Outlook, and other programs too. In Outlook 2010 you find it in the toolbar once you click on Options from your message.

    2. Ann*

      I loathe a full/messy inbox. Pretty much anything you find in my inbox is currently unresolved. All done? Into the archive it goes!

      1. Chocolate lover*

        I do delete things, but not as much as I should. However I often have a pretty good memory for who sent me something, or particular keywords, and having it in the email folder means I can search it and find it! That’s come in handy several times.

        Though what I *don’t* have is a good thought process for organizing and grouping those emails, they could go into so many different categories!

    3. Chinook*

      “I am aware that my no-scroll inbox is a complete anomaly, but I can’t live any other way!”

      You are nto an anomaly. I also can’t stand dealing with a full inbox and file everything that is noy waiting for a response (I also do this in my personal email which I have had for 10+ years). Of course, my task list has 20 items with a “waiting for response” status and today’s due date that have to be manually moved to tomorrow at the end of the day, but atleast they aren’t giving me the panic of a full inbox.

      1. Kiwi PM*

        I have a no-scroll inbox too. I use the flags in Outlook to serve this “Waiting for” purpose as well as things I have to do (colour coding for the win!) and maintain inbox zero fairly consistently. It stresses me out seeing other people with screeds of unread emails and for this reason I like to follow up if I need a response. If that’s how their inbox works of course things will get missed!

        And haha, Chinook, I totally do the transferral to tomorrow at the end of the day too – it seems a little bit wrong but also makes me review everything left on the list which I think is good overall.

      2. Ife*

        I’m another anomoly. People are always amazed at how organized I am — it’s not really a special talent or skill for me, it’s a defensive mechanism! If I don’t compulsively organize, I’ll forget or lose it. Some of this may be due to my first job managing disability services for college students. If you didn’t follow up and have all their details, the quiet/nonassertive ones would not get accommodations. Very bad.

        It’s not just a work thing either. When I moved in with my boyfriend, I discovered he had a cardboard BOX full of old bills going back 2 years. And some were unopened! After recovering from my panic, I bought a bunch of hanging files and incorporated them into my file cabinet.

        1. Nashira*

          One, you are amazing for helping your quiet students get their accommodations. I was that kid in my first serious attempt at university, and the hostile disabilities services staffers made it worse, until I stopped trying and promptly flunked my semester and never went back. (My needs were of the “doesn’t bring in grants” variety, so nobody cared. Let us praise online learning and syllabi that list every.single.assignment. for helping me work around them on my own!)

          Two, fistbump for another defensive organizer! I too amaze and astound my coworkers, even though dude no seriously guys, no amazing filter and reminder system means no amazing and effective clerk.

    4. AW*

      A few people I follow on Twitter talk about achieving Zero Inbox. So I’ve heard of it as A Thing but from how they talk about it they made me think it was something difficult to accomplish.

      1. Emily*

        It’s difficult because the struggle never ends. One of my jokes around the office on a particularly email heavy day will be to fake-complain to a coworker, “It’s like these people don’t even care that I’m trying to zero-inbox!”

        Of course, my inbox is never actually “zero” – my projects never ALL finish before ANY new ones start, and projects I’m currently working on are what stays in my inbox. For me, Zero-Inbox means zero unfiled/uncategorized emails in my inbox, not zero emails at all in my inbox.

      2. Anonymous1973*

        I have a zero inbox. Either I take action on an item or I move it to my tasks, which is itself an action. I never have messages in my inbox.

    1. Olive Hornby*

      Yes, me too – I set the ‘due date’ for whenever I’d like to follow up and rename it as “WAITING FOR – Myrtle feedback on teapot report” or whatever. That way, I don’t end up with project-related emails in two different folders.

      1. CrazyCatLady*

        Me too. The only thing I don’t like about this is sometimes I WILL have gotten a response already and it reminds me anyway. I wish there was a way to have it remind me only if I hadn’t had a response by a certain date.

  9. Persephone Mulberry*

    I used the priority inbox setting in Gmail: first tier is Important and Unread, second tier is Starred, third tier is Everything Else. Stuff that is awaiting follow up gets starred and is therefore front and center every time I look at my inbox.

    1. CollegeAdmin*

      I do this too. My supervisor doesn’t understand how I can have read all my messages and keep track of stuff, but it’s so easy that way!

    2. Lore*

      I do exactly this. And also have found Boomerang useful for stuff that I know won’t be followed up on for some time–that way I don’t have to look at it again until I’m ready to think about it. At work, we have Outlook, and there I’m an expert with flags and reminders.

    3. Emily*

      Same here, except my third box is Important and Read, which I use for items that I still need to deal with before I can archive them. The fourth tier, everything else, therefore becomes “emails not flagged as important” AKA “archive all these messages without reading them several times per day.” I star event tickets, hotel reservations, flight itineraries, and shipping notices and then keep the Starred category collapsed so I don’t have to see all those things every time I log in on my desktop, but it makes it super easy to pull those things up quickly from Gmail’s mobile app from either Inbox or Starred view. And the Gmail app only notifies me if I have an Important and Unread message.

  10. Ruth (UK)*

    …how have I never thought of this? I don’t really need it for my work email because where I work, using the phone is the number one way of contacting people (email super isn’t done, I’m not sure why…) and I use a post-it note system in my top drawer to keep track of people I’m waiting to hear back from about stuff.

    However I’m really bogged down trying to keep track of my personal email situation (I hold a couple committee positions in a few groups I’m in). Plus my personal email seems to receive a lot of spam and it’s a nightmare to go through…

    I swear I am literally creating folders right now…

  11. Clever Name*

    Brilliant! I just did this. I have a PM who is much better at following up than I am, and often (although less often now that I’ve gotten more diligent about following up) he will come to me and say something like, “Did you ever hear back from the engineers about…..” and then I’d give him a blank look because I had sent off the email and forgotten about it, and obviously neglected to follow up weeks later. Hopefully this will make me more with-it! :)

  12. Anon369*

    My to-do list has a “Waiting For” column too, next to “Action Item”, where each line is a project. It was life-changing to figure this out!

    1. Elysian*

      Yep! Mine, too. I think I first read this in Getting Things Done and it has been a really great organizational tool for both my inbox and my to-do list.

  13. Blue_eyes*

    Great idea! I often star emails that require action from me, but I don’t really have a system for emails awaiting a response.

  14. Jady*

    OneNote (and probably EverNote) are alternatives as well. OneNote integrates with outlook, so you can right-click on any important emails and send them over, place them in any specific folder or tag them with any specific tags.

    I like doing this cause it gives you a permanent copy of anything important, and then you can add various notes or additional information as things evolve. And you can link to notes from other notes and fun stuff like that.

    Things for me always tend to get lost in outlook. I’m too obsessive with a clean inbox.

  15. AnotherAlison*

    Timely article for me, too. In previous positions, email was easy, but in my current position emails accumulate to several hundred if left unfiled for a week. I know this is peanuts compared to what some people get, but these are probably 90% real emails for my attention. I answer them, but the original emails sit in my inbox, and by the time I get around to filing, I don’t want to open all the emails to see what was important enough to save or figure out which project it should go with. I end up filing half of them and then giving up on the rest and just filing them based on the sender. I think I’m stuck with the half-ass no-system approach I have on current projects, but future ones are getting rules set up ASAP.

    1. Vera*

      My solution to this was to stop filing. I have two folders in Outlook: Archive and “Follow Up” which is basically emails that require my attention but I can’t do it right this second, or emails that I’m wearing on a response for. My email management time has gone down significantly now that I’ve stopped trying to figure out which folder to put emails in.

      Added bonus is that Outlook’s search function is much better when searching in a single folder (Archive) vs the entire mailbox.

  16. Gem*

    This is genius!

    I use Evernote, so I tend to email things to my Evernote, then stick a reminder/note on it to chase up. I’ve not had too many things I’ve had to wait on from other people (though my changing role means this will become an issue soon!), so this idea will almost definitely come in useful!

  17. A Jane*

    I prefer the flag and reminder method in outlook, that way I don’t have to maintain a separate folder.

    What I do is before I send the message, I flag the message as “Follow Up” and also add reminder for the specific time and date to follow up with the email. I’ve noticed that if I don’t put a specific time, I’ll never actually do it. Note that I don’t add the flag for the email recipients. That would be super annoying for them.

    I do this with my emails in the morning as well. On my first pass, I scan all my messages and flag anything that needs a response or more in depth read. On the second pass of emails, if it’s something with an immediate action, I just do it then. Anything that can wait, I put a reminder with a date and time to do it. If I don’t put a date and time, it means it’s either an immediate action, or something I’m not going to do. Requires lots of discipline, but my inbox is very happy.

    1. Meg Murry*

      Yes to flags with date! I learned this from a super efficient person I once worked with – if I sent her a message that said “I’ll have that data to you by the end of the month” and I hadn’t sent it to her, on the 1st of the next month I got a response to my message with a one line “Please update the status of the below message” without fail. And if she didn’t get a response to that in 24 hours, she forwarded it to my boss.

      Annoying, yes, but the woman got results, and you did NOT miss a deadline with her.
      Outlook often annoys me, and I do like the web functionality of gmail – but I really miss Outlook flags.

      1. voluptuousfire*

        I know! The email client at my previous role was Gmail and I sorely missed the Outlook flags.

        What I really miss are the old school MS Office 2003 flags in different colors. I used to use them in my job a few years ago and it helped me organize my inbox to the point that I had the quickest response rate to candidates in my department.

        At this point, I prefer Gmail because I find the functionality of it is much more user friendly. Outlook you need all sorts of rules and crap to organize your inbox. On the other hand with Gmail, you have to turn on a lot of features so that they work. It’s not obviously available to you.

  18. Nicole*

    I do something similar – I have an Outlook rule that creates a copy of every email I send in my inbox. For those I don’t need to worry about, I just immediately delete the copy. For those I want to keep an eye on, I categorize them as “Waiting” and because of the sort-order of my inbox, they stay way at the bottom. I then go through them weekly.

  19. NorthernHospitality82*

    This is a brilliant idea, thanks for sharing! I’m setting mine up right now for my personal and professional mailboxes.

  20. Natalie*

    I’m going to combine this article with the previous article about being distracted and spend the rest of my day overhauling my inbox organization, given that I cannot freakin’ concentrate on anything.

  21. nof*

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Getting Things Done system (unless I missed it). That’s where I got the idea from – Alison, are you a GTD person too?

    I found a lot of the ideas from GTD very practical although I don’t really follow it exactly, I love the idea of zero inbox and having all my ideas/priorities/to-dos etc. stored externally so my mind is free to focus on exactly what I’m doing. The waiting for folder is a big part of that because then follow up becomes automatic instead of something I have to “store” in my brain.

  22. Rebecca*

    Or a category in Outlook. I used to have a “Pending” category, which was the ugliest colour I could find so I would be motivated to clear them as soon as possible.

  23. Ebonarc*

    Half my job is waiting for other people to give me info (I’m literally a data gathering engineer), so I’ll have to try this. I tend to keep the last email from a customer in my inbox even if I’ve replied to it; this could help me clean up my inbox!

  24. Auditoholic*

    I take this a step farther and use the outlook flags to date when I need to follow up again. The flags are a muted tone when not due “today” and a dark red when they are due today. So when the flag goes red, I know it’s time to look at the email and see if I have an answer or need to follow-up again. I am truly that annoying person that follows up routinely and frequently but my position requires that I get the answers or we risk failing audits, being fined, and having employees not paid correctly! I am also a clean inbox person. If it’s in my inbox, then it must be done before I leave. Completed items are filed into folders by client, pending items all go into the “follow-up” folder. I get twitchy when I see people with hundreds of emails in their inbox!!

  25. Mike C.*

    But wait a second… if I’m actively tracking and following up on people who aren’t providing needed information, what excuse will I use in the future to otherwise completely ignore their annoying request? ;)

  26. voluptuousfire*

    I don’t need it in my personal email (I don’t really send out a lot of emails) but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for future work emails! It’s always the simple but genius things that keep you organized.

  27. IT Kat*

    I use something called the 4-D Task System, which was introduced to me by a co-worker. Basically, you categorize each email by one of 4 “D”s: Done, Do, Defer, or Delegate, and flag the email accordingly so you follow up. (The system suggests you use one “Done” folder since Outlook and Gmail has extensive searching capabilities, but I go a step farther and under the Done folder I have subfolders for different projects, topics, clients, etc.)

    I use primarily Outlook for work emails, so have Quick Steps set up for one-click filing, but I also starting using it in Gmail with just folders I manually drag into.

    Blog Post outlining the idea (not my post but gets the idea across):
    http://thinketg.com/reach-inbox-zero-with-4-d-task-management-using-outlook/

  28. Not So NewReader*

    I have similar slot in my paper sorter trays. I make sure I go though it each morning. (This is not hard, there isn’t usually too much in there. But it’s a great place to put the odd stuff that has no other place to be.

  29. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I am so excited to see so many people adopting this! Seriously, it will change your life.

    The key is this, and I should have mentioned it in the original post: You have to get in the habit of going through the “waiting for” folder once or twice a week. Otherwise it’ll all sit there unnoticed. I go through mine whenever I’m bored.

    1. CrazyCatLady*

      If there’s something I’m not in the habit of doing (at work) but need to get in the habit of doing, I set recurring calendar reminders to do it until it eventually becomes habit.

      1. Kitchenalia*

        Awesome idea! I love a good calendar reminder. (I have one to empty the work kitchen scraps into the compost bin!)

  30. Nerd Girl*

    My hero. I have just done this and already have three emails in there. :) No more red flags for me!!! :)

  31. KRFP*

    Alternatively, you make your main inbox your “waiting” folder. When you are checking your inbox, make decisions immediately – I forgot what it’s called, somebody somewhere named this, but basically, anything you can do something with, you should do immediately (so: reply, or delete). Then you end up only have things in your inbox that are “waiting.” My work uses email heavily but I still average less than 20 items in my inbox.

  32. Layla*

    I have a waiting for folder already (gtd like someone mentioned above ) but it has so many items in there

    Whenever someone gets back to me by mail I try to look for all related items ( outlook ) and archive the whole mail thread. But if the subject title is changed – due to multiple mails on the same subject – it stays in there

    I’m trying to be more selective on what I put in waiting for. For example if someone requests something from me & I write back asking for more info – I try not to put that into waiting for – but it’s still piling up and I have no time to clear.

    Any tips ??

  33. Mabel*

    I either leave emails in the Inbox, which I don’t like to do, or drag them to a folder and wonder if I’ll remember to follow up when I don’t get a response. I’m going to create a “_waiting for” folder right now!

  34. Iro*

    I call mine the “follow-up” folder. I drag any email that requires a response to this folder the moment I send it. : )

  35. Cupcake*

    Funny, I am dealing with a crisis today that occurred because I forwarded something to someone (and requested verification that it had been completed) that never moved on from his desk… since November. I’m looking at you, boss.

  36. Chloe*

    we’re considering basic outlook classes as 9/10 people at my company can barely send an email. Two of us routinely bring the office to stand still with the suggestion of things like tasks. I’m an empty inbox person, I hate leaving anything in there. I leave things in there once a month or so if it’s something I have to get a response on urgently and the other person is buried under teapot lids (my current theory). I double certain things up by popping it in my calendar and if necessary the team calendar. My teapot inventory system lets me schedule reminders by category as well.

    I twitch looking at the 1200+ emails my team feel necessary to keep in their inboxes. If you have 30+ folders it doesn’t need to be in the inbox.

  37. periwinkle*

    Simple yet brilliant. Love it. We’re in the home-buying process which means waiting to hear back from the bank, our agent, inspectors, cleaning services, the moving guys, etc. Now I’ve just discovered that the cleaning service I’ve been trying to hire for the move-in cleaning hasn’t gotten back to me after ten days. Thanks to Alison, I just hired someone else in a few minutes. :)

    My personal Gmail isn’t too bad. Now to implement this on my work Inbox from Hell…

  38. harryv*

    I manage 120 network engineer handling 3 completely separate business units. Everyone including their grandma feels the need to cc me on emails. What I do is I set Outlook rules and it is on steroids. What seems to help in the order I review my emails is as follows:

    1) Messages from my boss, VP are flagged
    2) Set a category for all email where I am in the ‘to’ field and no one else.
    3) Set a category for all email where I am in the ‘to’ field
    4) Filter and file according to the business, reports, customers, systems requests, holiday requests, regions, as required.
    5) File all emails where I am copied to another folder. (Make sure you sort my inbox by conversation and check the ‘show conversation messages from other folders’ flag in the conversations settings.

    I wouldn’t necessarily create more work by having a ‘follow up’ folder. I would use the reminder flag for the recipient of my email. If someone ignored you once, changes are they will ignore you the 2nd time.

    Even with this, I get about 80-120 that makes it to my INBOX.

  39. Chris from Boomerang (Baydin)*

    Thanks for all of the Boomerang comments and love, we really appreciate it!

    Alison – have you ever tried out Boomerang? Our founders were having the same frustrations and created Boomerang to help just for that, full story here: http://lifehacker.com/behind-the-app-the-story-of-boomerang-1582614577

    Happy to answer any questions any of you have. Either way, happy Boomeranging!

    Disclosure: I work for Baydin, we make Boomerang and other productivity products.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      So I know about Boomerang and know that people love it, but … I’m afraid to use it. I have an irrational fear that it won’t send when it’s supposed to. I realize that’s no more likely to happen than it is to happen with a regular old email, but for some reason it makes me feel like I have less control over the process, and then I’m filled with anxiety.

      Do you have a product for easing irrational anxiety? That might be what I need…

      1. Chris from Boomerang (Baydin)*

        Thanks for sharing that, Alison. I can definitely understand where you’re coming from.

        Maybe a good place to start is to write some emails to yourself and use our Send Later feature and Boomerang (snooze) emails to come back in your inbox until you start feeling more comfortable and can trust it. Also, you’ll always be able to see if a message is sent by going to your ‘Sent’ folder in Gmail. Or if you’ve Boomeranged (snoozed) a message out of your inbox to come later, you can always find it in the ‘Boomerang’ folder and move it back to your inbox at any time. You’re always in control of all of your messages.

        What if you try out Boomerang for a month while continuing to use the ‘waiting for’ folder to make sure everything you Boomerang returns correctly. If it does, you could eliminate all the work of having to drag emails back and forth between folders and instead just check the Boomerang button and be reminded exactly when you need to follow up.

        As for the product for easing anxiety… I’ll have to get back to you on that one, might take a while for us to build haha. Maybe you could send a Boomerang reminder email to ask me about it in a few months? :)

        Hopefully you’ll be willing to give Boomerang a go. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

  40. EE*

    Since we’re talking about sent item folders – does anybody know how to set up a rule in Outlook that immediately reassigns a sent e-mail? I have an inbox folder for e-mails from my husband but I’d like to be able to automatically banish the other half of the correspondence to a subfolder as well.

    1. harryv*

      Just set up a rule for all messages sent by you and ‘to’ your husband’s address to another folder. But you should also set a rule so that a copy will not be stored in your sent folder. Alternatively, set a rule to move that email from the sent folder to another folder. Lots of ways to do this!

  41. Matt*

    I would not at all find a person “annoying” who is following up by email … as the phone hater I am I’d be thankful for emailing and not calling :)

  42. Victoria, Please*

    I have a Waiting For folder but I’m not very good about using it.

    I also have a WTF folder for messages that I think are probably important but are from people I don’t work with much and I have no idea what to do with at the moment they come in.

  43. Colleen*

    I have one for my work email and it’s been so incredibly helpful to me! I usually review it on Fridays and send follow up emails on whatever have been languishing. I work as an administrative assistant for a boss who’s very disorganized with her email so I also use it to make lists of topics that have been languishing in her inbox so we can discuss them on our daily check in calls. She’s been grateful a number of times to have me bring something she’d completely forgotten about back to her attention.

  44. M-C*

    I have a column for this in my trello boards, even the simple mostly-kanban ones. An essential addition imho. Keeps so many things from falling through the cracks..

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