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The best way to organize your emails: just archive them

  E-mail inbox on a laptop
one photo / Shutterstock.com

We recommend that you use OHIO (process once only) to search your e-mails. An integral part of OHIO is the archiving of e-mails that you need to keep ̵

1; get them out of your inbox! Here is the reason why archiving is important – and why you should not deal with folders.

Why You Need to Archive Your Emails

A quick summary from our OHIO article: Your inbox is not an archive, a trash, a filing cabinet, or a garbage dump. It's an inbox!

If you have hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox, they'll quickly be buried. Out of sight is out of mind. It's much harder to find specific emails, and your email client is slower to work with (even if you access your emails through a browser like Gmail). If you use Outlook or Apple Mail on your phone, the storage space may be used up. Conclusion: There is no point in keeping all your emails in your inbox, and there are many good reasons not to.

In this sense, you need to edit an email (answer / redirect, convert to a meeting) and then either delete the email or archive it. Do the following:

RELATED: Forget Inbox Zero: Use OHIO to sort your emails.

Where to archive your emails.

Your emails should be stored in an archive folder. They should not be placed in one of several hundred carefully organized folders. They should be moved to an archive folder.

 A single archive folder

This is a bold statement, so a little explanation is needed.

First, it takes some time to set a folder hierarchy time that would be better for editing your emails. Secondly, it can take some effort to decide where to send an e-mail – will your colleague's e-mail about why he might miss a project date be moved to the folder for this project? The folder for this person? A lesson learned folder? – and decision making is both time consuming and exhausting. After all, finding emails at a later date can be very difficult if they are in one of several folders and each folder contains hundreds of emails.

A single archive makes it easy to move your emails out of your inbox because you do not have to use thought or decision-making resources. You simply edit the mail and move it to your archive. It's that easy. If you're trying to keep track of an endless stream of e-mail, you want your process to be as simple and straightforward as possible. Any difficulty or annoyance will be magnified over time, so that something that is a small hassle or loss of time for an e-mail is a great hassle and waste of time for hundreds of emails.

For some people this is a welcome relief for the torture of a folder structure, but some other people have to breathe in a paper bag if they have the thought of their carefully-designed, complicated, logical, beautiful folder structure to lose. Unfortunately, if you are, it will be hard to swallow. We recognize your pain, although we are sure that the long-term benefits of a single archive will more than offset the short-term pain of changing your system.

How To Archive Your Emails In Bulk

It Seems Likely To archive your emails, you obviously only need to move them to your archive folder, and you're right. However, if you have hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox, it will be quite daunting to move them one by one. Ideally, you have to find a way to move it in large quantities.

Using a client such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail makes it easy to move selected emails in bulk. Click an email in your Inbox, scroll down, press the SHIFT key on your keyboard, and select another email. All emails between the first and the second will be selected. You can drag and drop it into your archive folder or use the archive button. Like the floppy disk icon used for "Save," there is a standard archive icon that looks like a traditional archive box. This applies to the Archive button for both Outlook and Apple Mail (for both client applications and mobile apps).

 The   button

If you use the Outlook client, you can also create a quick-action action that marks all selected emails as read and a click of a button (or Keyboard shortcuts) to the archive folder.

If If you've decided to start over, you can always select all emails in your Inbox by using and archiving the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + A (Command + A on a Mac). We can not tell you if this is the right thing to do, but you will quickly receive an empty inbox.

In a web interface like Gmail, you can select a page at once by clicking the check box in the top of the page.


check box If you selected the emails, click Archive to move them.

 [19659006] There is no keyboard shortcut to select all emails in your Gmail Inbox (although * + a selects all emails on the page). However, if you have selected all the emails on the page, a message bar will appear over the emails that allow you to select all the emails in your Inbox.

 The link to selecting all emails in your Gmail Inbox

Click this link to select all emails in your Inbox. The message bar changes to allow you to deselect.

 The link to deselect all emails in your Gmail Inbox

How many emails should you archive?

The number The number of e-mails you want to archive at the same time is up to you. As we said earlier, an empty inbox is temporary at best and almost impossible at worst. You have no control over what goes into your inbox because anyone with your address can send you something. Even if you manage to empty your inbox, it will not stay empty. Nevertheless, it is not a bad goal to aim at, because an empty inbox will definitely relieve your shoulders for a short time. But does not leave it empty which is why managing your email is not a goal but a process. And of course, you do not have to archive an email if you do not need to keep it. You can also delete them. This is an excellent option to save storage space.

Instead of focusing all your efforts on archiving (or deleting every single email in your inbox, you focus on achievable goals that reduce your email stress.) Only you know what your e-mail is about. Mail stress decreases, but examples of goals are:

  • No high priority emails more than two working days in your inbox
  • No emails from your employee / manager / client (delete as appropriate) at the end of the week

Determine which e-mail puts the most strain on you. Handle and archive (or delete) these e-mails as a priority.

RELATED: What is Inbox Zero and how can you achieve this ?

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