I am taking two weeks off from blogging. Enjoy this article from the archive! This article was originally published on 1 June 2007.
This one is tough to do. It is so easy to file things in email and completely forget about them until your mailbox gets so large that you can’t do anything!
I use Gmail at home and Outlook at work, but the same concepts apply to both.
I have reference folders set up in both instances. At work, the top folder is called Reference, and underneath I have folders for the letters. (At home I combine letters, A-C; at work, each letter has its own folder).
At home, I use the tag “Reference/[tagname]” to classify my emails. That way I know this is reference material and the tag allows me to search on that folder.
When I need to file something, it goes in the appropriate folder — where I would look for it again. If there are multiple places I might look, I file it in all folders.
For each of my current projects, I have a folder. All emails pertaining to that project get placed in there.
These are places where all my email ends up. Either it goes directly via rules/filters or I pop it in after reviewing it. I have an Action, Print, Waiting For and Read.
Going Through Email
I keep my inbox clean. As I go through my mail, I file it in the appropriate working folder, reference, or throw it out. Please note that I only tackle my email box at work twice a day: 10 am and 1 pm. At home I tackle it once per evening.
Going through the Working Folders
When I am set to work on my email, I go through the working folders. Action may need to have another project folder created. @Print is self-explanatory.
WaitingFor gets reviewed weekly and acted upon then.
Cleaning Up Reference and Project Folders
I find it essential to keep on top of my email folders. I review the reference folders once every three months or so, purging them as I do my paper files.
Project folders get purged when the project is closed. I delete out email chains, leaving only one copy of each message.
I hope you have found these simple decluttering instructions helpful.
How do you declutter your workspace?
Photo by girl_named_fred