This is just a short post about a general way to deal with mail that many time management philosophies espouse:
1. If it isn’t important, delete it.
2. If it can be done in 2 minutes or less, do it.
3. If it isn’t for you or if you can, delegate it.
4. If you need to do it, but it takes longer than 2 minutes (including reading), defer it.
If you need it as reference (even if you have decided to defer it), move it into a reference folder. [Note that this philosophy is particularly well described by Sally McGhee in the following article: http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/manageinfo/email.mspx]
For task management, the hard things have been:
A) How do I defer it?
B) What do I do with it once I defer it?
Whole time management systems are built around answering these two questions. In Outlook 12, we introduced date based flagging (alternatively known as task flagging) to help customers easily defer dealing with mail. The rest of the Outlook 12 task management system is designed to answer the second question, which is really: how do I manage all of these tasks that I have deferred?