Email is continuing to be a fascinating topic. My post a couple of weeks back triggered quite a few responses. One of them being: if you don’t believe in archiving, do you keep all your email in your inbox?

I can tell you, there are a lot of emails in my inbox. Not because I don’t archive them but because I still have to do something about them.

My tactics:

  • I’m reviewing my mailbox a couple of times per day, to see if I need to star emails. I'm not feeling guily of the emails that are still there, because I make a daily plan of my most important work. Apparently those emails were not part of this today.
  • Starred emails stick to the top and I want to have those finished the same day.
  • The other emails stay in the inbox until I archive them. I want archiving to be a manual action. I don’t believe in a “read = archive” setting. Yes, it forces you to handle an email right away and in an ideal situation you only read the same email once. I found that reading and not responding to email is a really hard habit to kill, but in the process a lot of stuff fell between the cracks because I forgot to mark them as unread again.
  • As I shared before, my third section in Gmail is the “unimportant email”. All notifications and other stuff collects there.
  • I don’t archive in folders or labels. Gmails search feature is really powerful, I never felt the need to archive into folders since I switched from Apple Mail to Gmail.
  • I’m using Boomerang to be able to defer email to another day and let emails come back to me if people do not respond to my questions. It is an absolute life saver.

As we all spend a lot of time on email, I'm curious: what is your strategy for dealing with this continuous stream of information and work coming your way?