Linking to Mailboxes from OmniFocus

Keeping an eye on spam

As part of my daily routine, which is based on Daily Morning Review Routine with OmniFocus, at Simplicity Is Bliss by Sven Fechner, I check my spam folders for false positives — messages that got mistakenly flagged as spam.

Because I use C-Command Software’s excellent SpamSieve Mail plug-in on my MacBook, I don’t spend much time worrying about spam, but every once in a while something from a client gets caught in its filters. To keep this from turning into a big deal, I give my spam folder a cursory glance every day or so.

At least I used to.

Spam got out-of-hand

Today I discovered 404 messages in my SpamSieve folder. Been a while since I took a peek in there, apparently.

OmniFocus to the rescue

Since I already have OmniFocus tasks for each workday to remind myself to check email at 10 am and 4pm, I decided to add a reminder to check the spam folder once a day, too.

Tasks’ notes fields — not just for text

That’s a good start, but I want to make this as foolproof as possible, for obvious reasons (not just because I have 2 spam folders), so I was hopping to be able to add a link directly to the mailbox, rather than just the link to Mail.app that I have in my regular daily email tasks.

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You probably know that you can enter notes, URLs and aliases to documents and individual email messages in your OmniFocus tasks’ notes field, but did you know you can drag applications in, too, making clickable aliases? It’s very handy.

It turns out that you can drag .mbox files in, too, and instead of revealing them in the Finder, it switches to Mail.app and opens the mailbox. This is very cool.

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How to set this up

You can find your mailboxes’ .mbox files in ~/Library/Mail/V2/IMAP-@your-email-account-@your-email-host/, which you can get to under Mac OS X 10.7 Lion by choosing Go to Folder… from the Finder’s Go menu (Command-Shift-G).

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Then typing ~/Library/Mail/V2/ into the sheet that drops down:

Library Mail

Double-click your email account folder. You should see a bunch of files like these:

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After creating a “check the spam folders for false positives” task in my Monday daily routine project, I simply dragged my SpamSieve.mbox file into its notes field:

Weekday review 334x194

And, since I have 2 spam boxes — 1 for SpamSieve and 1 “On My Mac” — I dragged the other one in, too. (Purists might want to create a separate task for that. I didn’t: life is short.)

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Spam isn’t a one-time thing, so…

The next step is to make it a repeating task with a 5-minute window just before the end of the workday:

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Then set it to repeat every week (until OmniFocus understands weekends, I have 5 nearly-identical weekday projects, which isn’t all that bad, since Mondays and Fridays have extra tasks associated with them anyway), duplicate it and move copies into each day’s routine.

Set it and forget it

Now I won’t have to remember to check for false posititive in my spam box any more, and fewer things will slip through the cracks.

The more of these things that can be triggered without having to remember them, the better.

Happy GTDing.