Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up an email archive folder, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Do you hoard email in your inbox? If so, you're not alone. I've worked with some clients who have kept tens of thousands of emails in their inbox. The good news is we can gain a lot of productivity by removing the little attention switches caused by a full inbox, that are chipping away at your time. To get this time gain, we need to set up a very quick and easy method for filing email. If you get a lot of email, like I do, you'll find the concept of filing email a bit intimidating and time consuming.
There was a day when I would create separate folders and put emails into their separate folders, categorizing things meticulously. However, every popular email program includes powerful and effective search engines. So there's actually no need to subcategorize processed emails. Let's make this as simple as possible. All you need to do is use an email folder called Archive. Gmail includes this automatically. If you're highlighting an email and click the archive button it will move out of your inbox, but still be available for searching.
Other email programs, such as Outlook, require just one additional step. For instance, in Outlook, simply right-click on personal folders, select new folder, and then name it Archive. By the way, this folder is different than Outlook's archive feature which I do not recommend as it may potentially exclude emails from your searches. To make this folder easy to find again, I'll also take that Archive folder and drag it up into the favorite folders window.
Then, whenever I'm done processing an email by walking it through the what, when, where processing system I answer the question, Where is it's home? by dragging and dropping email into the Archive folder. I recommend doing this with every kind of email. Subcategorizing and putting it into separate folders would just duplicate work that's unnecessary. Email search engines allow you to quickly and easily find email with a simple text search or a more advanced search by date sent, sender, or subject.
When it comes to filing your emails, keep it simple. Use a single folder for everything you process. Just throw it into that archive. Then let the search engines do the work.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains