I just read a terrific post by the Time Managmenet Ninja titled 5 Swft Tips To Help Empty Your Inbox. Each of these simple recommendations can make managing your e-mail easier. I added one suggestion to the post and thought it worthy of posting here too!
The suggestion was to save e-mails as files outside of your e-mail application. Here is the how-to:
Let’s say you are a professional service provider, so you have clients and matters for each client. Thus, your filing system for all things related to your work are set up as a folder for the client and subfolders for each matter. (Note, you may also use numerous subfolders under each matter to further divide up the things you need to save – e.g., correspondence, etc.).
We’re going to use this same system for storing your e-mails. However, these folders are best created on your hard drive or network drive, not in the e-mail application itself. The reasons are (1) you can overload your e-mail application causing it to slow down or, worse, become corrupt, and (2) you are now storing all information relating to that client/matter in one place – on your hard drive – instead of two – in your e-mail application and on your hard drive for other electronic files that you collect during the pendency of this matter.
Whenever you get an e-mail that relates to the client/matter in question, simply click File > Save As in the menu bar for the e-mail. I prefer to save everything as Save As Type: XXX-Unicode. (Note, I use Microsoft Outlook, so the file type is Outlook Message Format – Unicode). This creates a saved file in my client/matter file for that message, including all the attachments. You can also re-title the new file before clicking Save to make it easier to find in the future.
If you just want to save the attachment in an e-mail, you can click File > Save Attachment and save just the attachment. (Alternatively, you can right click on the attachment and do the same).
Once the e-mail is saved as a “document” in your on-board filing system, you can delete it from your e-mail client. This lightens up both your Inbox and your e-mail application!