A recent study by the University of California found that email technologies are now so good that filing emails into folders may actually make them harder to find! It also wastes more of your time both filing and finding emails.
I moved my own email organization system to a non-folder based system some time ago. I was a little apprehensive when I first made the move but the results have been well worth it.
How/why do I use an Archive folder?
Although I don’t use project/client based folders for emails anymore, I don’t use my Inbox to hold everything. Instead I have created an Archive folder inside Outlook.
Once I have finished with an email, I either DELETE it or ARCHIVE it. This way my Inbox only contains emails that I still need to work on.
You can Archive your email simply by dragging and dropping it into the Archive folder.
You can also use the categories feature of Outlook to tag your emails with keywords (project names, client names etc) so that they are easier to find.
A large part of my day is spent in Outlook and I use Email Tags for Outlook to automate the archiving and finding process.
Finding Emails in the Archive folder
In the “old” days, folders were used so that we could find emails later. Under this new system, all your old emails are in the one Archive folder.
I find that Outlook’s own built-in Search is now good enough to quickly find emails for me. You can go to the Archive folder and use Outlook’s Search box.
You will see in the image above that I have also added the Archive folder to Favorites (inside Outlook) to make it even easier for me to jump to that folder when I want to.
As mentioned earlier, I also use Email Tags for Outlook to tag my emails with Project Names etc. Email Tags also has a special search function which makes my emails even more findable( and groupable… I can see all emails in a project as if they were in a folder… without the effort and time of filing in folders)
All you need is Outlook… but Email Tags can save you a lot of time
The archiving system described above works with nothing but what comes built into Outlook. However if you spend a lot of time writing and responding to emails, Email Tags will pay for itself in a few days.
Here’s what one customer said…
” … One of the most useful software applications we own … No more lost e-mails, no more trying to figure out which folder I put it in, no time wasted searching for an e-mail.”
– Justin Henderson