A couple years ago, I switched over to Gmail as my primary email account. I honestly can’t remember who told me about Gmail or what attracted me to the site initially, but I think a big part of it was the unlimited storage.
Instead of deleting my emails, I send them to archives, that way if I ever need to go back to that email, it’s not gone, but it is still out of the way and not showing up in my inbox. As I played around with it, I discovered that instead of folders, I could tag each conversation with multiple labels, which makes organizing it even easier.
These are all great, but I think my feature of Gmail is the search feature. I love that I can search my emails by any keyword or contact name or just about anything. It makes it so easy to find emails that I might not have labeled or that I don’t remember the senders email address. Or sometimes there are people who I receive a LOT of emails from, and rather than click through all of the emails from that particular person, I can search for a particular email by keyword.
The search feature is simply fantastic! Unfortunately, it is so fantastic and so easy and convenient to use, that it allows me to be very disorganized and still be able to find things for the most part.
Typically, when I open an email, if it is from Facebook or is obviously unimportant, I simply archive it. If it is from a professor or friends or classmates or something else important, I open it, read it, then move on. I have a bad habit of not actually labeling and archiving my emails. (In fact, I currently have 649 emails in my inbox!)
For example, I’ve been working on a big group project about social media for my marketing class. Instead of labeling the emails my group has been sending as “marketing”, I simply leave them in my inbox. Later when I need to refer back to one of those emails, I just search by the name of the person who I think sent it… but sometimes I don’t remember who exactly sent the email, so then I try searching “social media” but then I get a lot of extra emails that aren’t for the project. I always find the email I’m looking for eventually, but it’s a little more time consuming than it needs to be.
So I guess that sometimes, the technology that we think makes our lives easier actually makes things a little more complicated.