Tip 9: Stop Sorting Emails

by Annie

in Fall Into Productivity

Closeup image of brown leaf edged in frost lying on grass with text overlay reading "#9 - stop sorting emails"

This is a post in Pajama Productivity’s first (hopefully) annual “Fall Into Productivity” month. (Clever wordplay, right? The llamas came up with that.) All month long in October 2016, we’ll be publishing lovely autumnal graphics with a fresh productivity tip each and every day. You can catch all the fall fun right here on the PJP blog, on our PJP Facebook page, or on Twitter @pjproductivity – use the #FallIntoProductivity hashtag to find all posts.

Week two of Fall Into Productivity Month continues with our deep dive into the hell that is email. Yesterday’s tip was all about turning off the interruptions of email notifications. Today is about the division of humanity into two camps: the sorters and the searchers.

A lot of people who are interested in being more productive interpret that goal as requiring organization, which is fair enough, and then impute that need for organization into their email systems, which is a mistake.

Email is one area in which technology’s improved search functions actually lessen the need for organization – i.e., sorting.

The endlessly nested folders, like digital Russian dolls, won’t help you handle your emails any faster or better or more efficiently. They take time to set up, time to maintain, and time to utilize when refinding an old email.

Instead, adopt minimal folders — for instance, one for work, one for personal, and one for things “in progress” — and rely on search when you need to pull up old email threads.


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