Ask most people what the top two or three challenges in their day-to-day work lives is and it is likely that somewhere on that list will be: “I just get SO MANY emails. I really do not know how to deal with all of them!” As an individual that averages between 150 – 200 emails a day, I can certainly understand this feeling (of course, my iPhone 4 checks three different accounts: H2U, Lipscomb and Gmail) but, do be honest, I rarely ever get to the exasperation stage.
One reason for this is that I set a personal goal that, at the end of any given day, I will have fewer than 20 emails in any given inbox (that would be a total of 60 between the three that I actively manage, for those of you counting at home). How do you do that, you ask? It is simple: I do not use my inbox as a filing cabinet.
Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird or whatever your desktop email solution of choice is simply was not designed to be used in this manner. Most people, however, try to manage their email this way. They keep hundreds (or thousands) of emails in their inbox and then try to remember who sent what when if they need to find a particular email.
You actually become less productive when you keep all of your emails in one place instead of creating folders (Outlook) or using tags (Gmail). You may think that you will do better with everything in one place but it is simply not true. You just have to take a peak in your home junk drawer to understand how true this is.