Killing the Email Action Folder

For years now I’ve kept an “action” folder with all of my email accounts. This was particularly useful before I started deferring email with services like SaneBox. However, as of late, the “action” folder has turned into some sort of email purgatory for me. I haven’t been cleaning it out regularly and instead find myself letting things linger in there much too long.

A few weeks ago I was reminding myself to do a better job of clearing out the action folder when I got thinking about whether I even needed it any longer. My email is already filtered to put MacSparky “feedback” email into a particular folder and stuff that’s not quite as important into a “later” folder. Why do I need another place to put email?

Add to this the fact that I have pretty granular deferred email folders and it occurred to me that my new “action” folder is deferring email three hours or until tomorrow. In hindsight, that’s probably why I’ve been doing such a lousy job of cleaning out the action folder.

Anyway, as of a few weeks ago I removed all of the action folders from all of my email accounts. For the MacSparky email account, I’ve now got the following:


This is the place were the most important stuff arrives every day. This is the one I check several times a day.


This is a SaneBox automated folder. SaneBox puts email in there that it doesn’t think is as important as other email that is inbox worthy.


This is another SaneBox automated folder that takes feedback from the podcast, books, and this blog. It’s spooky how good the service is at figuring this out.


This is another filtered SaneBox folder that yanks catalog sales and other marketing email out of my inbox.

Deferred Folders

I’ve got deferred folders for three hours, tomorrow, two days, and seven days.

Spam and Blackhole

I’ve got folders that capture spam and the SaneBox blackhole for spam that gets through.


The place or email goes to sleep, a long time.

The interesting thing about all of this is that except for the archive, none of my email folders are manually sorted. Email arrives and gets automatically sorted. While I may occasionally reclassify an email to a different folder or defer it, there is no longer a process where I must open the inbox and manually file email to different places.

It’s probably too early to tell if I have deleted my action folder for good but after two weeks I can tell you that I’m not missing it. It feels as if I’m doing better at keeping up and it’s nice having one less place to routinely clean. I’ll check back in on this in a month or two.

(I've made references to SaneBox, an occasional sponsor of this blog, in this post because that's the service I use. There are others and even some apps that can also defer email.)