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Putting Emails In Folders Is a Waste of Time, Says IBM Study


"There are two types of office workers in the world those who file their emails in folders, and those who use search. Well, it looks like the searchers are smarter. A 354-user study by IBM research found that users who just searched their inbox found emails slightly faster than users who had filed them by folder. Add the time spent filing and the searchers easily come out on top. Apparently the filers are using their inbox as a to-do list rather than wanting to categorize information to find it more easily."
nope i dont agry
becuase if you have 10 folders you can store mail in each catogary..searching is good when you want to see only single mail, or you dont need to see mails again and again.
i prefer to store in folders
you can't disagree on empirical result. the only way to "disagree" (some people who mind their spelling will call it to disprove) is to conduct another study (don't forget to fix it up) to get a totally different result.
Some email system automatically sort your mails into different folders by serveral rules you set up, and you can still search them Very Happy (e.g. Tencent Mails) No conflicts~
Yeah I have filters that sort all my mail and I use search so, I am not wasting any time sorting my mail :/

I think it is better that way and quicker too but heh I'm wondering what their test subjects were, how many and how rigorous their statistics were but I guess at same time I don't use folders, I use labels in GMail. Very Happy
Yes but what you can do if your work provide crap system, which takes hours to get search result and on top of that you are only allowed 2gb space. IBM don't understand the pain of pubic sector workplace.
I don't think it is a waste of time as it means that you can find things more easily rather than trailing through thousands of e-mails to find the one you are looking for. I mean you can even add several email forwarders that forward the email to the selected folder which makes it easy to select the different types of folders that you need. To add to this many email services use a search bar which would make it easier to search through emails but then again it shows all information related to the search and not just the email address.
It's a waste of time, unless you organize emails for reference purposes. I do this from time to time, rather than searching archives for a message that I received months (or years) ago.

It is good to have different folders to catch each topic related emails
ok tnx
Studies always show what average people do. When reading those I always recall a quote I once heard in a project management class: "You will never meet an 'average' person."

I would describe myself as an organized person, thus I love to keep my in-box empty and organize mails into folders. This, by the way, still allows me to do a search if I can't quickly find a particular mail, but often I find a mail by looking into some folder sorted by date, because usually I remember quiet well when I received an e-mail I am looking for, or that for instance it has been the last mail sent by a particular person.

When having e-mails organized in folders you also have the option to speed up searching in Lotus Notes by limiting your search to one folder. If that doesn't yield anything, you can still search through all folders.

Tagging to me would be a much better means to organize e-mails ( as I expressed also here regarding categorizing blog posts on Frihost ). I would prefer to actually assign multiple tags to an e-mail instead of having to make a decision into what single folder I should put it.
We can put all our files in the root directory and use search function to find them. But we do not do that in our computer hard disk. We try to logically group them into different folders and that is why the directory structure is created. Moreover, logically grouping the things makes search faster as you need to confined your search within certain directories only. Using single or fewer directories tends to give a monolithic structure which is almost obsolete now.


Statistical data does not always prove/reflects the correct picture. The biggest drawback of any statistical method is that it is non-deterministic in nature and heavily depends on the population on which the data is taken (and sometimes become irrelevant for other population). There are mathematical and logical tools which can prove the things equally well without the need of statistical data.
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