When I talk about email management, I’ve had people ask me, “Are email folders necessary? Can’t you just use search to find what you need and keep everything in the inbox?”
Ask any two organizers, and you’ll probably get two different answers and there’s an argument to be made for both options.
Utilizing search can help you find an email quicker and more efficiently than digging through various folders. Locating everything in the inbox means there’s only one place to look. But…what do you do with action items?
Remember, all email is either an action item, a reference item, or a trash item. If you are keeping all email in your inbox, it’s easy for those action items to get lost among the trash and reference material. And if you get a lot of email, those important items can quickly fall below the scroll and out of sight often equals out of mind.
Which leaves you with utilizing folders to organize your email.
Using folders allows you to get your reference material out of your inbox and away from any action items that may be hidden. It also means that, when you do utilize search, you can do a focused search in one folder, rather than a broad search in all of your email. Having folders can allow for quicker retrieval of that one email you’re looking for.
But it does take time to create a folder structure – even a very general one – and it takes effort to process your email into those folders every day instead of just leaving them in your inbox.
So what’s the right answer? The answer is, it depends on you. I prefer a folder structure. Even a general one is going to help you organize your email and allow you to keep those action emails front and center. Yes, it’s a little bit of effort, but one I feel is worth it in the end.
Need help getting those emails tackled? Let me know and we can figure it out together!