Email is an essential part of business management: it forms the basis of most communication within the office as well as with clients, contractors and pretty much everyone else.
This means that filing and archiving your emails properly is the very best way to keep on top of your inbox and ensure that nothing is ever lost. While you might think that archiving is a waste of time, this blog will show you why you should have been doing it all along.
The truth is that if you have not been archiving all this time, you are either a genius who has found a better way to manage their emails or you are swamped with emails all the time and only just managing to keep up. If the former then please get in touch – we are always looking for genius new methods! But if the latter, then you really need to hear me out on archiving. In fact, may I present my top tips for email archiving plus my method for achieving “Inbox Zero”?
But first, let me just explain why archiving is so important.
Importance of archiving business emails
Archiving emails is the best way to ensure that you still have all your emails in their original format in case you ever need to refer back to them at any point. It is also very useful for day to day organisation and for keeping track of who has said what in a project context.
If you do it correctly, utilising an email archiving process will help you manage your inbox effectively and you won’t miss anything important that comes in.
Depending on how your archiving is set up in Outlook 365, it could also save you space, for example, if you have enabled online archiving.
Top 5 tips for email archiving
So now that you understand why you need to archive your emails, here are 5 of the best tips to make archiving easy and painless to do every single time.
- Switch on auto-archiving. If you haven’t been archiving and you are worried about losing things by accident, auto-archiving is the tool you need. This way, you can be certain that old emails won’t get lost and you don’t have to trawl all the way through your inbox saving them.
- Delete junk mail before it gets archived. Our inboxes are practically under siege from junk mail and you don’t want the same to happen to your archive. The point here isn’t to save everything, but to save everything that might be useful later so an email about the latest deals on sunglasses can go straight to trash and bypass archiving altogether.
- Archive emails as you process them. If you don’t need to take an action you can archive an email immediately. If it really isn’t important to keep it, it is better to delete the email. Once you have dealt with an email, archiving it will help you achieve inbox zero and a more organised way of working. Archiving as you are going along means that your inbox will never be overwhelmed with unnecessary ‘noise’, and you are better able to focus on the important stuff.
- Use smart archiving rules and policies. Some of your employees and co-workers may occasionally send personal emails with their work address and not want to archive them. This is fine as long as you are clear about what does need to be archived and what is acceptable to send via work email. It is best to agree this with colleagues and produce rules before you start archiving, or new employees start emailing. Your HR department will be able to help you write this new policy.
- Easily access your archived email. Simply look on the left-hand side of your outlook viewing pane and you will see where you can access your archived emails. They’re no longer taking up space in your inbox, but they are there in case you need to refer to them at any point.
With these archiving tips, you should be able to get straight into your archiving routine without a hitch. Just make sure that everyone in the office knows what they are supposed to be doing and has a clear guide to ensure that they do so.
Inbox management and how to achieve inbox zero
Managing your inbox is one of the most important ways to stay on top of communication in your job. Just think about all the times that you couldn’t find something or missed a message because your inbox was in chaos – you will surely agree that there must be a better way!
Well, there is.
Inbox management comes down to triaging your emails and returning to them as and when it is necessary.
Here are my 3 simple rules:
- If you don’t need to take an action – archive immediately.
- If the response is simple or needs to happen right away – respond right now
- If you need to think about your response – Set yourself a follow up reminder to deal with the email at a set time.
Following these rules, your inbox should be empty most of the time, giving you the freedom to carry on with your day without having to add endless responses to your to-do list and worry about what you have probably forgotten.
For further tips of managing your inbox read our blog 7 Top Tips for Ultimate Email Productivity.
Email archiving is a great technique for helping you manage your everyday emails as well as ensuring that everything is in order. Though you might never look at an email again (highly unlikely!), knowing that it is there and easy to search for should be a great reassurance. And if you are like the rest of us and constantly going back to see what was said, you will quickly notice a big difference to your day as it is so much more efficient.
If you want to learn more about how to get the most out of your IT get in touch with us.
For the ultimate guide to email management download our Email Management Guide here.