Furrygoat says RSS is NOT e-mail, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't live in Outlook.

The fact is, Outlook is an application for consuming information. The mindset may be a bit different, but both my subscriptions and my e-mail are information that I consume in similar ways. Weblog posts may be actionable in the same way an e-mail is. By bringing my subscriptions into Outlook, I can apply the same workflow I use for e-mail. I immediately decide whether an item is actionable, valuable as reference, or trash. If actionable, I then apply a particular colored flag based on the nature of the action.

The key here is extensive use of search folders, which I discussed a bit in the past. Search folders are effectively views of the underlying information over different axes.

  • To combine similar subscriptions. I have a folder for "Technology Weblogs", "General Legal Weblogs", "IP Legal Weblogs", "Deals", "Security" and so on. This is the axis I use most often to read. My categories are fairly granular.
  • To view actionable items. As discussed, I use a different flag for the type of action that I need to perform. If it's something I need to reply to, it gets a red flag. Something to buy gets a green flag. Something to download gets a yellow flag. Something to write about gets a purple flag. And so on.
  • To handle older e-mails. I also have two views for older items. One is for old and unflagged items; I usually just give this a cursory lookover and delete everything in it. The other view is for old items with a flag. I use this to revisit things and make sure no actionable items fall through the crack. (I include only the "short-term" flag categories here, like things I need to reply to).
  • To have a folder for a particular topic. Sometimes, I'll create a view for a particular hot topic. For example, I may have

As an added bonus, because I'm leveraging the underlying power of the Exchange platform, my subscriptions are synchronized across machines and even available via Outlook Web Access.

By the way, I'm also a "clean inbox junkie", which is why I have my subscriptions delivered to a separate folder.


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