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I give up, here's a poll.

edit Answer for personal emails... sorry I was not clear. :) Work email, for most people I guess, is not processed the same way personal email is.

I keep talking to people who say they just get emails and leave them in their inbox. I cannot fathom how this works, I need a complex manual email filing system that forces me to look at every email I recieve and 'bin' it, making my inbox sort of like an elaborate to-do list. I get anxious when the inbox is up over 20 messages because it means I'm not functioning properly. (I think I'm becoming a serious ESTJ or something.) So I'm curious if I'm the weird one, as usual.

Poll #884301 Personal Email Habits


My inbox is full of every message I've ever recieved, barring things like spam or easily deletables.
I have some autofilters that put things like mailing lists in certain folders, other than that it sits in the inbox.
I only keep things in the inbox that I need to answer or take action on, everything else I file or delete.
Other, explained in comments.


I have fewer than 5 folders for mail.
I have 5-15 folders for mail.
I have 16-30 folders for mail.
I have 30+ folders! What can I say, I like fine distinctions.
None of the above make sense. Explanation in comments.

How far back could you track down a single email you've recieved or sent?

1 year
2 years
3 years
4 years
5 or more years


( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 8th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
Personal emails or work?
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:19 am (UTC)
personal. sorry, the poll title is not prominent enough :)
Dec. 8th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
I am anal to a fault about work email -- let more than 2 or 3 things slip past my mighty filters and land in my inbox and I get agitated. Less anal about personal email, where I have no filters and prefer to sort things manually in the inbox, but I, uh, er, still have 22 gmail labels into which things get sorted once they've been dealt with. But I hate mail lingering, so unless it's terribly important or has sentimental value, I don't tend to keep any mail longer than six months or so.
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)
I have no filters at work! I hand filter everything. Same with personal mail.
(no subject) - summer_queen - Dec. 8th, 2006 12:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC)
My work inbox only has about 20 things in it, on a good day -- just stuff I need to deal with. But my Yahoo inbox has about 300 things in it, and the pruning is a very haphazard thing.
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)
300! I'll probably say this a bunch but I just don't understand how you know which ones need replying to without looking through all of them!
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
I'm close to "My inbox is full of every message I've ever recieved, barring things like spam or easily deletables." Except that every now and then, I get in a fit, and jump back to some random point in the past, and delete a whole passel of things I really don't need anymore. Yes, three years ago I thought I'd go back and laugh at such and such LJ thread, but now, three years later, it's just clogging up my inbox, which is always pushing 8,000-9,000 messages.

I'm a pack rat in the virtual world as well as the real.
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC)
I so don't get how that works. At least if I want to know about something I talked to someone about in 2004, I know I can look up that category! So... how do you know which emails are important? I don't even know how to phrase the question. I guess for me if there are any emails in that box that are not action items, I can't "see" the ones I need to do something about, and stuff falls through the cracks.
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cheetahmaster - Dec. 8th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cheetahmaster - Dec. 8th, 2006 12:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rshackleford - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cheetahmaster - Dec. 8th, 2006 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
I use (and love!) gmail, so I don't feel like some of the answers really apply. I search for whatever emails I need to find and use a few auto labels to make it quicker for browsing. I have almost 100 emails in my inbox currently. Generally things I haven't decided if I want to archive or delete. I usually clean it out when I have some free time, but that hasn't happened since I started school. I generally just star important emails so they are quick to find. Despite my Virgo organizational tendencies, I can't imagine sorting out my email with folders. I would get completely lost.
Dec. 8th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
I have recently started emailing people from my gmail account for things I know require immediate attention, since I don't get any extraneous mail there, only personal mail. It is good! The "conversation" format is a little weird.
(no subject) - angela_la_la - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Dec. 8th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angela_la_la - Dec. 8th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tartedelune - Dec. 8th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
My Outlook inbox currently has a dozen folders where email is auto-sorted; four more if you count sent mail folders too. I tend to sort out everything that is automatically generated (like LJ comment mail, Amazon sales, and bug reports from work) and what is left in my inbox is just personal mail from individuals. Works pretty well. I also employ a complex filtering system whereby anything from my father with "fwd" or "prayer" in the subject line is auto-deleted. :)

Right now, my saved email dates back only about three years. On an old, busted hard drive in a box under the desk lies another four years worth, much of which is actually backed up on floppies, ha ha. Finally, I bet I could dig up old email from the first computer I ever had, which I'm pretty sure is still at my parents' house. I can think of only one occasion where I have ever needed to reference an email more than a couple years old, though, and in that case I couldn't find what I needed anyway.
Dec. 8th, 2006 05:04 am (UTC)
i am always terrified i'll forget to look at an autofiltered email that says something like "your credit card didn't work at amazon!" or something, so i have to look at every email. i forget to look at other folders if things automatically go to them!
Dec. 8th, 2006 05:11 am (UTC)
I keep everything - it gets sorted automatically into folders based on certain mailing lists, and then once a year, I move my inbox to inbox-yyyy and some_list to some_list-yyyy. This makes loading my email much slower in December than January.
Dec. 8th, 2006 05:12 am (UTC)
Finding stuff is not a problem when I know what I'm looking for, however finding stuff I'm not looking for but should be seeing, I'm not so good at.
(no subject) - bizarrojack - Dec. 8th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)
I have Eudora, which downloads my e-mail from the server... then I can file within Eudora any which way I like. & I do! :-)
Dec. 8th, 2006 02:16 pm (UTC)
So everything comes into your inbox and you then put it into folders if you want to save it?
(no subject) - maroonmd - Dec. 8th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
I also freak out if I have more than 20 in my inbox. And right now I have like 70, because my computer is sort of down & I've been using my ISP's web mail. (I think it needs a new fan. It makes an odd noise when I turn it on. I just haven't had the motivation to deal with it! Isn't that sad?)
Dec. 8th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
Phew!! I am not alone! I was beginning to worry!
Dec. 8th, 2006 09:37 am (UTC)
Thank goodness I'm not a freak! NO one I know that I've EVER worked with uses this system. Emails stay in my inbox until they've been responded to, the issue has been researched, or I've created a task (and attached the email). I love the tasks feature.

If an email is related to some bigger project I have a task created and attach all related emails/documents as well as document my progress and next steps.

That way my inbox stays as clean as possible and 99% of the time it's empty when I go home.
Dec. 8th, 2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
what is this create a task of which you speak? i am not familiar.
(no subject) - crystalrowan - Dec. 8th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC)
I wouldn't say I keep EVERY email I ever received, but I keep a hell of a lot of them. Gmail has like 500 and hotmail has 200 or something.
Dec. 8th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC)
I'm in the category of "most everything sits in my inbox" (42000+ messages right now). I have filters to file (or, since it's gmail, "label") messages from lists and a few people I regularly get email from, but the rest is in the inbox forever. I just get too much volume -- I'll go away for a long weekend and have 500+ messages in my inbox (after spam filters!). I'll skim through them and read through those that are most important, but rest just hang-out in the event I have more time or need to go looking for something specific. Fortunately gmail has a pretty good, fast search system so it's not too hard to find a email from the pile.
Dec. 8th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
you huge inbox people are making me cringe! i cannot imagine! i had no idea this was so widespread.
Dec. 8th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
I keep between 200-500+ emails in my box and try to get to the urgent ones as they come in, but once a month or two I go through and reply to all the ones I haven't and delete ones I'm done with - and always find some suprise ones I wished I had seen earlier. No folders... I'd never look in them!
Dec. 8th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
I have a bunch of autofilters -- the big ones are fic, lists (like bookclub and neighborhood assn, etc), shopping (for spam from retailers), and financial (for bills). Most everything else I delete within a few days; a few things I save in folders that are named things like reference, contact info, temp, and misc. Inbox is rarely more than 20 items.

I only said that I keep emails less than a year because my hard drive just got blown away and I have NO emails saved, haw haw. Going to have to spam LJ for contact info again.

I do not. DO NOT. save outgoing mail.
Dec. 8th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
the one thing i can't do is track, except sometimes at work. i don't save outgoing email, and i don't save all incoming email. this is all probably for the best ...
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( 56 comments — Leave a comment )


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