QuickTip: Saving E-mails As Files

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!

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