Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
There are a few things that we do with email: we either need to take action, or save it for informational purposes. Today we are going to look on saving email to make it practical, and simple.
The Whole Point
Let’s just point out here that the whole point to filing email is so that you can find it later. It doesn’t matter if everything is tucked away somewhere and your email inbox is empty if you can’t find what you need later. That would be like saying, “My office is clean” when in fact everything has been jammed into a closet, floor to ceiling packed.
The key to filing email, like filing paper, is to keep up with it. If you file email as it comes in you will find that the task is easy, rather than overwhelming.
As I talked about in The Three-Step Process for Simple Email Processing, using labels and filters can help automate your filing.
If you routinely get email that must be saved from a regular source, consider setting up an automatic action to put these emails away, based on the from address or the subject.
Example: My blog emails me the database backups from the night before. Since I only need these should there be a problem, I have GMail label these as WordPress Backups, mark them as read, and skip the inbox.
File To Find
The main point of filing email is to be able to find it again. How you file it will depend on how you are going to look for it. If you deal with multiple people, consider filing the emails under names. If you are dealing with multiple clients, file it under client names. If you work with projects, file under project names. Or file under client, then project.
Example: At work, my work comes in tied to a project number. All correspondence gets filed under that project number, as do my notes. At home, I have three main divisions: Blog, General and Girl Scouts. Things get filed under one of those three, using sub-folders to put them into projects.
Note: with some email packages you can file in multiple places by adding labels. In GMail I could label something as being attached to the blog, as well as attached to my reference files for taxes. One email shows up in multiple places, without actually duplicating the email.
Find By Search
Most email clients will allow you to search by keyword. But this does you no good if the email doesn’t actually contain the key words.
(I know you’ve seen emails like this – they come in from people in response to another issue, but have completely different information in the body)
My trick is to forward the email back to myself with the appropriate keywords and descriptions added to the bottom of the email. That way I have a better chance of finding it.
Do you have any tricks when it comes to filing email so you can find it? Share below.
Photo by jaqian