Filing Reference Emails

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by sesteph6, Apr 16, 2018.


How are you Filing your Reference Email?

  1. I use 1 folder that everything goes into.

  2. I use many topic folders.

  1. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Registered

    Dec 20, 2016
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    I have tried every variation of this, both personally and with clients, over the past 20 years. What I have found works best is a blended solution: use folders, but no more than about 20 -- specifically, no more than you can have fully expanded in the left sidebar of your email client. With this approach, you can still file them in the appropriate folder in about 2 seconds each (I agree that hunting through a collapsed tree is incredibly inefficient), but you can also organize around whatever key concepts work for you: clients, projects, reference, etc. I have found far too often that I couldn't find that one email because I couldn't figure out exactly how to look for it.

    My current personal organization, in addition to the GTD workflow folders, includes about 15 folders for active projects, a Reference folder with 3 subfolders, and one large archive. When the project finishes, everything in that folder gets dumped into the archive.

    Tl;dr: use folders, but no more than will fit on your screen.
    SherriLB likes this.
  2. AFG

    AFG Registered

    Sep 12, 2018
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    I very much understand this.

    Unfortunately, this number changes constantly for me.

    On my PC, on my 30" monitor, or on my laptop, circa 23 folders in the left sidebar.

    On my iPhone - far less screenspace.

    On Outlook Web Access from other machines - depends on the size of the display.

    I use some nested folders - in part because they are legacy. But I use Outlook Favorites to keep just the most important (sub)folders in a flat list of less than 20. Occasionally I rearrange the favorites, as priorities change.

    I use Outlook Search folders to quickly find important classes of items - e.g. all Calendar items that I need to accept or decline, email from VIPs like my boss and up the chain of command. I move the search folders into my favorites.

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