Why You Need to Archive Your Emails

A quick recap from our OHIO article: your inbox is not an archive, a bin, a filing cabinet, or a dumping ground. It’s an inbox!

When you have hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox, they quickly get buried. Out of sight is out of mind. It’s much harder to find specific emails, it makes your mail client work more slowly (even if you access your email through a browser like Gmail), and it can use up your storage if you use the Outlook or Apple Mail on your phone.

The bottom line: There’s no point keeping all of your emails in your inbox and plenty of good reasons not to.

With that in mind, you need to handle an email (reply to/forward it, turn it into a task, set up a meeting) and then either delete the email or archive it. Here’s how you should do it.

Where You Should Archive Your Emails

Your emails should go into an Archive folder. They shouldn’t go into one of several hundred carefully organized folders; they should go into one Archive folder.

That’s quite a bold statement, so a little justification is needed.

Firstly, a hierarchy of folders takes time to set up and maintain, time that would be better spent handling your emails. Secondly, it can take quite a bit of effort to decide where an email should go—does an email from your colleague about why they might miss a project deadline go into the folder for that project? The folder for that person? A lessons-learned folder?—and decision making is both time-consuming and draining. Lastly, it can be maddeningly hard to find emails at a later date when they could be in any one of several folders, and each folder has hundreds of emails.

A single archive makes it easy to move your emails from your inbox because you don’t have to employ any thinking or decision-making resources. You just handle the mail and move it into your archive. It couldn’t be simpler, and when you’re trying to stay on top of a never-ending flow of email, you want your process to be as simple and easy as possible. Every difficulty or irritation is magnified at scale, so something that’s a minor annoyance or time suck for one email will be a huge annoyance and time suck for hundreds of emails.

For some people, this will be a welcome relief to the torture of a folder structure, but some other people will need to breathe into a paper bag at the very thought of losing their painstakingly designed, intricate, logical, beautiful folder structure. If that’s you, then, unfortunately, this is going to be hard to swallow. We recognize your pain, even while we’re sure the long-term benefits of a single archive will more than compensate for the short-term pain of changing your system

How to Archive Your Emails In Bulk

It probably seems evident that to archive your emails you just need to move them into your Archive folder, and you’re right about that. But if you’ve got hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox then moving them individually will seem pretty daunting. Ideally, you need to find a way to move them in bulk.

If you’re using a client like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, it’s easy to bulk select mail. Click on an email in your inbox, scroll down, press the SHIFT key on your keyboard and select another email. All emails between the first one and the second one will be selected. You can drag and drop them into your archive folder, or use the Archive button. Like the floppy disk icon that’s used to represent Save, there is a standard Archive icon that looks like a traditional cardboard archive box. This is in both Outlook and Apple Mail (both the client applications and the mobile apps) for the Archive button.

Read more: https://www.howtogeek.com/415390/the-best-way-to-organize-your-emails-just-archive-them/

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