email workflow

10 years of gmail

For 10+ years I was a gmail user. – and the horror stories of users being locked out of their gmail accounts – convinced me that I wanted a paid email provider. I spent ~2 years with Hey. I have moved off hey because I want to own my email address.

I picked fastmail. This post covers my workflow. I’ve omitted some of the details, as this post covers them much better than I can here:


My fastmail workflow is made up of 3 parts:

  1. Accounts
  2. Folders
  3. Rules


accounts (or addresses)

I want to manage email in 1 place, so first this meant setting my hey and gmail email addresses to forward all mail to my fastmail account.

sending as an external account

Ideally I’d be able to send from fastmail too. This is possible for gmail, as it implements an SMTP server that fastmail can use to send. Hey doesn’t.

wildcard address

I also setup a ‘catchall’ address in fastmail, this means that I can make up and account + sub-domain combination and it’ll be routed to the same fastmail account.

I use a custom email for each service that I sign up to. So I might have;

  • github@<sub>.domain.tld
  • gitlab@<sub>.domain.tld
  • etc..

This helps me manage where emails are coming from.


I use folders to manage:

  1. the importance of email – important mails go straight to the inbox, unimportant transactional or notification emails might go to the “Paper Trail”
  2. the source of email
  3. the type of email

To do this I have a bunch of folders:

InboxImportant email – usually from humans – that I should respond to
The FeedMarketing and promotional mail
Paper TrailTransactional mail, and notifications. Usually computer generated.
ScreenerFor senders that I’ve never seen before (uses my contact list to check for ‘seen before’)
Fwd:GmailMail that’s come from my gmail address. I can reply to these using my gmail address.
Fwd:HeyMail that’s come from my hey address. I have to log into hey to reply to these.
ArchiveFor mail I don’t want to delete, but shouldn’t be in “The Feed” or “Paper Trail”.


The last part of my email workflow is the rules that decide where a mail should go;

  1. If from gmail send to Fwd:Gmail
  2. If from hey send to Fwd:Hey
  3. If not in contacts send to Screener
  4. If in ’the feed’ contact group send to The Feed
  5. If in ‘paper trail’ contact group send to Paper Trail
  6. If in contacts and doesn’t match previous rules send to Inbox

I use show/hide rules on the folders for a cleaner sidebar, I prefer to permanently see only Inbox, The Feed, and Paper Trail. For Fwd:X to appear only with unread, and Screener to appear if there’s mail in the folder.


I would recommend fastmail. It’s a good, and quick email solution. The wildcard addresses and subdomains is a powerful feature. Fastmail satisfies my desire to own my email and my email address.

I expect to be able to close my hey account, and not receive email in my gmail account, soon.