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Proper email management

Note: These opinions only apply to email accounts which receive lots of emails per day. I don’t apply them to my personal, at home account, but I do to my work email account.

I personally think that many people go crazy with the number of folders which they have for the email accounts. The folders tend to be based on either two sent the email or the alias the email was sent to. Then there’s a bunch of rules which they have to maintain to direct emails to the different folders. This inevitably leads to them missing emails because “I forgot the check that folder”, which then results in people sending out emails with everyone on a DL (distribution list) being specified instead of being sent to the DL to make sure that everyone reads the email.

Here’s what I do, and it works great. If the email is a status email sent out to a DL I’m on and it tends to send out status more than once a day, those emails go to a folder. If the email is sent to an DL I’m on, and the DL has nothing to do with my role at work (for example I’m on the Nikon Users DL at work and that’s just because I personally own a Nikon camera) those emails go to a folder. Everything else goes to my inbox.

Doing this does create a really large inbox. The key is to rarely use the inbox directly. My primary view is a search folder that contains emails from the last two days from my inbox, and one other folder. This “Latest” folder then contains a manageable number of emails in it, and any sort of search or sorting operation I do on it is computationally quick. The last step is to make the Latest folder a Favorite.

To assist in finding specific emails I have created search folders for people on my team. Generally if I’m looking for an email that’s older than two days I generally remember who sent it and most of the time that person is on my team. So having the search result for all emails sent from people on my team is handy.

The only thing to ensure is enabled on top of that is to make sure that the retention policies are properly configured to cleanup old emails which if I haven’t decided to save off in over a year, I probably won’t ever need to save off.

  1. March 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    that’s where mailbox intellgence kicks in, right?

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