Ryan Irelan

is building Mijingo and doing limited consulting.

Multiple Sorting Options in Apple Mail

I like to think I’m pretty good at managing my email and how often I check it. I’ve written about this before at the Happy Cog Cognition blog and I’m still using most of those techniques and ideas. But in the last few months my email load has increased dramatically and if I have a busy day (or travel) I can quickly get buried. This has caused me to get behind and have a backlog of unread messages. That’s a bummer, so I’m trying to fix it.

To help me process my email I now have two different sorting settings depending on which view I’m using in Apple Mail:

  • For my Unified Inbox, I sort by date, so the newest messages are always on top.
  • When I select an individual email account inbox (e.g. “Happy Cog”), the messages are sorted by unread, so the unread messages are at the top.

How does this help?

The Unified Inbox is where I first go when I’m checking my email, so I always want to see the newest messages at the top. This is my “I’m just checking” inbox.

The individual mail account inboxes (I have up to five, depending on the computer), are where I go to triage my email backlog or to manage unread messages that have gotten buried. If you’re into Getting Things Done™ and OmniFocus then this view is like my weekly review perspective. I use it to ensure I’m not missing or forgetting something.

With the addition of the Favorites Bar in Apple Mail, I can easily toggle between different inboxes and« the sorting choice is preserved.

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