The Correct Way to Set-up Electronic Folders and Sub-folders
If you have more than one screen of email messages in your inbox you probably have a problem with your file system. If it takes too long to find a message, you will probably keep it in your inbox. The key is not to have too many main folders and more sub-folders. Try to have no more than 10 main folders with sub-folders under each mail folder. Your file system in email should be the same as the one in your desk or it will simply confuse you. Here are the steps to set-up an accurate filing system:
Do these steps in order:
- Change the “Arrange By” heading in your in-box from “By: Date Received” to “By: From.” This will “batch” your emails by who sent them to you.
- Take out a piece of paper and record the name used for each heading or group.
- Look to group the names as either main folders or sub-folders. The Rule is:
If a heading is related in some way to another heading, what they have in common is the name you choose for the folder. The headings then become sub-folders under the folder. To be a folder without any sub-folders, that heading had nothing in common with any other heading.
Here are some examples of file names or headings:
- Action required (often your leader or customer)
- Projects (set up a separate folder for each project)
- Fingertip reference
By organizing your file system this way, each Friday you simply left click and hold on a heading in your in-box. Next drag and drop the whole group into the corresponding existing folder or sub-folder (to the left). That way you can move multiple messages at one-time.
Before you finish, go back to that folder and check the messages you just moved. Either set a reminder in Outlook or put the action item(s) from each message on your Master List so you don’t forget to do them.
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