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Do You Organize Your Emails With Labels, Folders, or Search? [Reader Feedback]

email organization

We’ve written a good bit about email overload, and given a few tips on how to deal with it. These tips include using Gmail to manage all of your accounts (and even how to avoid Gmail’s infamous delay in checking external accounts), and how to turn the managing of your inbox into a game. When it gets down to the nuts and bolts, how do you manage your account?

There are a few schools of thought out there:

  • Use labels, such as those offered by Gmail, to tag every message with one or more labels;
  • Use folders, as offered by traditional email clients and providers, to place each message into a single, distinct folder;
  • Archive all of your messages into one place, and just use the search functionality of your email client to find your messages; or
  • A combination of the above methods.

I’ve used labels ever since switching to Gmail years ago, and have several filters set up to automatically label a large percentage of incoming messages. Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if it is really necessary. Gmail’s search capabilities are very powerful, and taking the time to label every message can be time consuming. At the very least, I think I can slim my labels down to a few broad categories.

What method do you use to organize your email? Is it one of the methods listed above, or do you have your own way of doing things?