Sort or search your email?

So, my inbox has 294 messages in it right now. When it gets to around 500 or so I usually go on a crusade to bring it to under 100. This involves throwing messages into folders and deleting lots and lots of no longer important ones that I won’t need.

So, this concept of not using folders to organize email is intriguing to me. I do this already within the folders, like if I’m only looking for messages from an individual, or sometimes I’ll do a subject or body search within folders if I have a sense of what I’m looking for. Why wouldn’t I just do that all the time, in one huge inbox?

Here’s a big old discussion about searching through email archives.

2 responses to “Sort or search your email?”

  1. David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” has a quite sensible approach to the In Box. He suggest a similar approach for your physical inbox.

    Using folders you seperate reference materials from project pieces from action items, etc. I have the following general folder categories set up in Apple Mail. @Actions, @Waiting For, @Reference, and @Someday Maybe. I have subfolders under each of these. I’ve only been using his approach for about 3 weeks and I need to refine my organization but so far I think it makes a TON of sense. (You can still search across all of your folders if you want or need to.)

    To fully appreciate this approach you need to hear more. If you want to we can discuss it off-line or you can read the book. I got the book at the East Lansing Public Library but I think I will buy a copy to keep for reference.

  2. Interesting. I’m afraid of that idea of setting up folders like that (Waiting, Actions, etc.).

    My folders in Apple Mail right now go something like:
    – Business
    – Clients (with a subfolder for each)
    – Lists (mailing list I subscribe to)
    – People
    – Personal
    – Prospects
    – Vendors

    All of those have various sub folders. So, it looks like they are more category-oriented than action-oriented.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *