1. Decide what to call your GTD flags
Mail gives you 7 flags and by default these are named after their colours as follows:
Decide what GTD contexts you want to use for each of the 7 flags.
The GTD flags I use are:
2. Rename the flags
Take 7 emails in your Inbox and give each one a different coloured flag. It doesn’t matter which emails – you just need all 7 flags in use to rename them.
To do this click on the right-pointing triangle against the Flagged mailbox and you should see each of the 7 flags listed in the sidebar under Flagged.
Click on the Red flag subfolder twice and type in the new name Action. Do the same with the Orange subfolder and rename it to Agendas.
Then do the same with the Yellow flag and the Green flag. Rename these flags’ subfolders to Waiting For and Calendar.
Then change the Blue and Purple flags to Read and Someday/Maybe.
Finally change the Grey flag and rename this flag’s subfolder to File
So now, if you move your mouse over the down arrow next to the Flag box on the toolbar you should see this:
You can now clear the flags on the 7 emails you have used (or you can change them to the appropriate flag).
3. Clarify what needs to happen to your emails by marking them with the correct flag
As each email comes into your Inbox, mark it with the appropriate flag.
Do the same with all the existing emails in your Inbox.
4. Set up Smart Mailboxes as Next Action lists for each flag
Using the Mailbox menu scroll down and select New Smart Mailbox and set up Smart Mailboxes for each of your GTD contexts as follows:
The default name of Smart Mailbox 1 has been replaced by Action and the condition has been set to Message has flag and the Action flag.
Do this for all your GTD contexts.
Make sure your Smart Mailboxes are visible – click Show – and you should see something similar to this:
Note that I have started each Mailbox name with an @ symbol as I wanted them to stand out from the other Smart Mailboxes I have set up.
You will need to order them by dragging them up or down – they don’t order themselves!
5. Action your emails
Process each email according to the context.
Change the flag to File when done or delete the email if you don’t need it.
Now if someone knows an easy way to print off the list of emails in a Smart Mailbox, then please let me know!