Where did I put it?

It's a lot easier to see that one really important email if it's not competing for space with the other 3674 messages in your inbox. The one with the great new opportunity, or the request for a quote, or the confirmation you've been waiting for from the new client asking "when can we get started?"

It's interesting that for something as ubiquitous as email we know the basics of how to how to create a new email, send it, add an attachment and so on but it's rare that when you start using email you learn about best practices for managing it. 

Even if you don't want to get to an empty inbox once every day or so at least make sure you set aside some time regularly to review what's in there, get rid of the junk, file the stuff that you want to keep and put everything that you do want to do something somewhere else (not in your inbox) where you can find it again easily. 

But don't just scan your email and leave it in your inbox. After all you wouldn't open your post read it and put it back in the letter box. 

Would you?

Every day your post might be something like junk, junk, junk, junk, bank statement, junk, junk, junk, letter from your solicitor, junk, junk.

You'll bin the junk without a second thought, glance through your bank statement to make sure it's ok and file it away. You need to read the letter from your solicitor carefully and you don't have time to do that right now so you'll make a note to come back to it later so that you don't forget to do it. 

That's one way of dealing with it. 

Or you could put it all back in your letter box. And then do the same with tomorrow's post. And the day after. And the day after that. 

At some point there won't be enough room in your post box for anything so it will starting mounting up outside your front door. 

Then the very important thing that you've been waiting for (perhaps it's your new passport that you need before you go on holiday) is going to be much harder to find. 

You use your post box for what it's designed for. Temporarily holding your new mail until you clear it out. You don't use it as a bin for your junk mail. Or for long-term filing for important documents like a bank statement. Or a reminder for things that you need to do. 

So if you're not going to do this with your post, why do you do it with your email?

Chris Beaumont