Emails: Are you letting your PC’s brain take the strain?

It’s always great when someone comes up with some research which proves you were right all along, and this one once again demonstrates that my company colleagues once again need to bow down before my immense intellect. Want to be more productive? Don’t file your email on the Box Free IT site reports that there’s now ample evidence, as if it were needed, that if you file your emails into folders, you’re wasting your time. An IBM Research study says that finding emails by searches is three times as fast as finding the emails by folder, with the likelihood of finding the intended email no greater with the folder approach.

The study ponders why people continue to use folders when it’s not as efficient as throwing emails into a big pile and letting the computer do the work. Its authors conclude that it’s not to make it easier to find those emails later, but a reaction to being overwhelmed by email volume. They conclude that users receiving many messages are more likely to create folders, “possibly because this serves to rationalise their inbox”, allowing them to better use the inbox as a task to-do list, another inefficient practice.

If you still love dragging your emails into an ever-expanding list of folders, just try using the search facility for a while, and you may well never look back. I’m just off to do a triumphant lap of honour around the office.

Thanks to reader Juri Romito for pointing me in the direction of this article.

Read more: Want to be more productive? Don’t file your email on the Box Free IT site