Sorting email is a waste of time

I like to follow The Unclutterer….to me uncluttering is akin to process development. Last week, David Caolo on the Unclutterer ask whether organizing email is a waste of time…..The answer is “yes”. My personal email system is an inbox, a processed box, a hold box (for emails in immediate use), and occasionally a backlog box (typically I put everything that comes in over a vacation or while I’m traveling into the backlog to clear out the inbox).


Is organizing email into folders a waste of time?

Recent research conducted by IBM Research [PDF] suggests that people who searched their inboxes found emails slightly faster than those who had filed them by folder. Email management is something I struggle with every day, so this study grabbed my attention. Even after reading it, I don’t know how to feel.

Many years ago I was meeting with a supervisor who wanted me to see an email she had received. “Just a minute,” she said, and opened up her email software. For the next few minutes, I watched as she scrolled through thousands of messages, looking for the one I needed to see. It was frustrating for both of us, and at that moment I swore I’d never be in that position. In the very first post I ever wrote for Unclutterer, I described my reasoning for never storing messages in my email software. But was that the right move?……