Nader K. Rad

The two methods of managing emails


There are two general methods of managing emails. It's all about how you separate the emails that require some action from the rest:

Method 1: read vs. unread
Method 2: inbox vs. archive

One of them is much better than the other!

Method 1: read vs. unread

In this method, any email that requires action is marked as unread. If you read it (which usually marks it as read automatically) and then decide to come back to it later, you'd mark it as unread again. You probably use a filter to see only the emails marked as unread in the normal view.

I started using email about 26 years ago, and without thinking much about it, I just managed them with the first method. This continued until about 5 years ago when I started using a new email client, and I couldn't use it well with this method. So, I went to their GitHub page, opened an issue and explained the feature I needed. Someone was kind enough to explain that I didn't need that feature if I managed my emails properly, and they explained the second method.

Method 2: inbox vs. archive

In this method, any email that requires action is in "inbox", and when you're done with it and no other action is needed, you move it to "archive".

Here are the advantages of this method:


When I learned it a few years ago, it made sense to me, and I started using it immediately. Now, I can't imagine going back to the first method.

At first, I felt a little silly because it sounded like something everyone should know. However, when I searched, I didn't see much content about it. Moreover, I can see many people around me using the first method. That's why I decided to write this article. I really recommend that you consider switching to the second method.

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