Are you wasting time organising email?

This is an article from 2011 that we think is worthwhile mentioning again, now that our old news articles have been retired.

IBM Research has investigated the efficiencies of email organisation and retrieval and have found that those who heavily utilise searching are more efficient than those who have an extensive folder structure.

The study showed that while filing and searching can achieve about the same retrieval speed, the success rate when filing was lower than simple searching. We’ve seen clients go to a folder they “know” they’ve filed an email under, only to find it’s not there, and thus ensues a search through various other folders where the email may be. Searching would find the email almost instantly.

We definitely don’t advocate the use of no folders (Microsoft recommends you keep “frequently used” folders to under 5,000 items, which importantly includes your inbox), the overuse of folders will not necessarily assist you in retrieving information. If you feel inclined to continue your folder-based filing then by all means do so, but don’t forget that searching might give you your results faster than browsing through folders.

Though the study related specifically to IBMs “Bluemail”, we know from experience that Outlook’s searching functionality is extremely powerful and fast (shameless plug; unless you’re on a very old version of Outlook, in which case contact us!), and also know from firsthand experience that searching is often more fruitful than constant filing.

The study can be found here (PDF).