Lately we’ve seen a trend amongst higher level employees at companies – they keep every e-mail in their inbox! When we ask them why, their response most of the time was “I need to access old e-mails frequently”. This theory is quickly disproved by showing them they have e-mails from 2005 sitting in their inbox that they never read.
So why is a full inbox a bad thing? Both Apple’s Mail.app and Microsoft’s Outlook (née Entourage) both launch into your inbox. If you have a lot of mail there, all that mail has to load each time you launch the app. When you have 35,000 messages, each of those messages loads when the inbox is loaded. Which means each time you launch your email all 35,000 messages have load – attachments and all. Now let’s say you wanted to find an email you sent. Whether you search for it, or go into the sent messages folder, going back into the inbox causes, you guessed it, your entire inbox to load!!!
Ok so we’ve established keeping all your emails in your inbox is a bad thing – so what do you do?
One thing to do is make folders. Here’s where most people go – but if I make a folder I won’t have that mail on my phone! Well stop POP’ing mail.
Interlude: The difference between POP and IMAP. POP essentially means you pull the messages off the server. So your computer has the only copy. IMAP means you are looking at the server, so if you mark it read on your computer it’s marked read on your server. Folders also sync with IMAP. End interlude
If you use IMAP you can have folders in your mail application and they will show up on your phone. If you file something on your phone, it will be filed automatically when you look at your computer next time. Amazing!
Another thing to do is use the Rules. Any good mail application has the ability to apply rules to mail. A rule would be if this mail is from a specific person move it from my inbox into my folder for that person. For the computer that would be:
if mail is from firstname.lastname@example.org move to FOLDER:FamilyMail
Mail app would look like this:
Using rules and folders still allows you to search for emails, and allows for quick loading of your inbox. Doing it this way makes you more efficient that waiting for your inbox to load.
Next time, use a folder
Leave us your stories in the comments about how you use mail rules.