Posted by: kerrywills | August 19, 2011

Email organization

Those of you who read my blogs or know me, know that I have OCD around piles. This includes keeping my inbox empty at all times. Emails either get deleted or stored in folders. I am always intrigued by ways that people manage their messages. Here are some themes that I have seen.

Keep It All

These are people who keep everything in their inbox. They don’t store items in folders and their inbox usually shows hundreds of unread emails. I always wonder how they can find anything since it is one massive pile of messages. But I guess these people are like the Hoarders I see on TV who somehow know where everything is.

File It By Name

Some people file all messages by the name of the person who sent them. Not sure how this is much better than keeping the big pile, since you can just sort the pile by name. Given that the same person could send messages on different topics, or a lot of times there are threads of messages that span many people, I am not sure how effective this is.


These are people who, like myself, have a multi-level taxonomy for messages. I use numbering to sort and group things by Organization, Project, Admin, etc. Then I have sub folders – for example project work is organized by phase.

What are other methods that people use to manage their messages?

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