5. How have you organised the folder structure of your email and why?
There are Searchers, there are Filers and there are Taggers claims Mike Gunderloy (2007). Searches do as little as work as possible in the beginning in the optimistic belief that they can rely on tools to find whatever they have “misplaced” in the future. Filers believe there is a place for everything and that everything must be in its place (Gunderloy, 2007).They, are pessimists at heart, painstakingly and meticulously filing each email in a folder, sometimes keeping many copies of the same email in different folders. Then there are the Taggers who like an each way bet. They are not satisfied that the tools will function unless they pepper their emails with hints, or tags, as aids to search. It doesn’t matter which group you belong to, there are appropriate procedures and tools for your particular style of operation. To date I have been a Searcher, more by default than through conscious choice.
If you opt to convert from a Searcher to a Filer it is important to establish folder structure that reflects the way you think. What are you most likely to remember when looking for a message? If you think it would be the sender, then the folder structure should be built around people. Another option could be job types or projects. Whatever you choose, try to avoid a mix of classifications as this leads to classification quandaries and invariable fails (Gunderloy, 2007).
Tools for the Searchers are many and varied. A few popular tools are Google Desktop (2009) and Windows Search (2009). It pays to experiment with these tools and settle for the one that you are most comfortable with. There are even tools for tools, sometimes called an organiser layer. These programs can add a layer of organisation above the internet program allowing features such as filing of emails in multiple locations. Two popular organiser layer programs are Nelson E-mail Organizer and Omea Pro. When creating folders, do not forget to file sent items as well as received (Gunderloy, 2009).
There are tools for Taggers too. One program, which is designed for Outlook, is Taglocity. The website for this cheeky Canadian software designer claims that it adds Google Gmail style features to Outlook and “puts you back in control” (Taglocity 2008).
Gunderloy (2007) also recommends letting Microsoft’s rules do your walking. These rules, or filters, can automate a lot of functions and save time.
Now, in answer to the question, I have not adopted any of the suggestions for e-mail organisation. I am still flying by a wing and a prayer. I am an extremely disorganised Searcher who promises to become a Filer and a Tagger as soon as time allows.
Google Desktop, 2009, Google Inc., Mountain View CA, retrieved 29 March 2009 from http://desktop.google.com/
Gunderloy, M. 2007, 10 Tips for Organizing Your E-Mail, Web Worker Daily, retrieved 29 March 2009 from http://webworkerdaily.com/2007/02/15/10-tips-for-organizing-your-e-mail/
Microsoft Desktop Search, 2009, Microsoft Corporation, retrieved 29 March 2009 from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/getitnow.mspx
Taglocity, 2008, Terazen Technology Inc., Vancouver, BC, retrieved 29 March 2009 from http://www.taglocity.com/aboutUs.html