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I organize mine much the same way, with the following difference. I treat my InBox as the 'hot list' and at least look at messages as soon as they arrive.
I've found the key to keeping my InBox small is to deal with the nonsense, ego spam, and worthless crap as quickly as possible. Those from outside companies can usually be deleted based on the subject line alone. In-house messages sent to the entire company can be skimmed and deleted after a few seconds. Only messages from the bug system and my direct coworkers get significant attention. Messages for issues that will take significant time get moved to my 'to-do' list and then archived. All others, once I deal with a message and respond to it, it gets moved to a folder and archived.
The end result is that my InBox usually has less than a dozen messages in it.
Currently only ~110. And that's with absolutely no active cleaning up. For 12 years.
Of course, our IT team has an extremely aggressive delete policy that can't be altered except with director approval. Us peons are only allowed 60 days worth of email. Anything older is auto-deleted. Not archived. Deleted.
The reason for such draconian policies? Lawsuits. If you can walk up to a judge and say "You honor, we've had this policy for ten years. So no, I can't comply with your order to recover an email from 6 months ago", they tend to let it slide.
Try the program in my sign. It let you dynamically classify your e-mails by constructing persistable filter expressions of any complexity and sort them as you need. Give it a try, you may like it if you have such a problem ...
Having way too many emails to deal with? Try our SQLized solution: Email Aggregation Manager[^] which gets your email sorted, found and organized beyond known precision.
I have 9,900 in the Inbox at the moment. Spam gets a Block Sender designation immediately; other stuff gets categorized and assigned a rule if it's something related to an interesting subject and I care enough to make a folder. Everything else accumulates until 1) Outlook crashes, or 2) I get a new computer. I expect either to happen sometime soon.
I always keep the Inbox empty and move the mails to sub-folders based on sender and subject.
And once a year, I will move the work emails from exchange to local pst so that it does'nt exceed the limit.
This is my personal choice and I am sure everyone will have their own ways of maintaining personal & official mailboxes.
I have used Chrome as my work-horse browser, for some years now.
Like other people commenting on this thread, I set-up a fairly complex source/topic folder hierarchy, for which I set up Chrome Filters to automatically label incoming e-mail, and I also set up Filters to label mail from myself to the same domain, or person(s). So, I can open one folder, and see all mail from, and to, a certain person, group of persons, or a specific domain (like CP).
My InBox has been on a crash-diet, ever since I analyzed what was "transient," and really didn't need to be kept for more than seven days.
This is the crash-diet:
1. for every recurring source (domain) of e-mail I considered transient, I constructed a Chrome filter that automatically labels the e-mail from that domain (or some particular sub-domain within that domain) with the label: "Delete Me."
2. Then, I set-up a simple Chrome script titled "cleanUp:" that goes through all InBox messages, and moves ones with the "Delete Me" label to the Trash, if they are move than seven-days old. See footnote  below for where I got the Script, and learned how to use it within Google Chrome.
3. Then, I set a "trigger" in the Chrome scripting facility to run "Clean Up" once every seven days.
Initially, I had to manually run the script many times from the Chrome Script window: evidently Google's servers allow a user's GMail script to run for only so long, until they time-it out. After about thirty runs of the Script, some 4000 messages had been moved to the Trash, and I deleted them.
I feel so much lighter now that my InBox weighs a little under 3000 items
 I posted the link to the resource that showed me how to use Google Scripts here on CP in the "Free Tools" section on February 23: [^]. And, that link gave me the sample code I modified only slightly in my "cleanUp" script.
"Good people can be induced, seduced, and initiated into behaving in evil ways. They can also be led to act in irrational, stupid, antisocial, mindless, and self-destructive, ways when they are immersed in 'total situations' that impact human nature in ways that challenge our sense of the stability and consistency of individual personality, of character, and of morality."Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo, in "The Lucifer Effect" 2008: ISBN-10: 08129744
My job title account is bombarded constantly and requires serious ruthless deletion to stay manageable, despite this it is sitting at 4.5 GB, god know how many actual mail items that is across the hundres(/thousands??) of sub folders.
My personal work account isn't quite as bad, and despite giving it a good clear out and deleting tons of stuff from years agon that I no longer have any dealing with, it is still sitting at aroung 1.1 GB.
As for my home accounts, no idea as I am not near them to check. I think the last time I culled and cleaned out then compressed was aroung 1GB pst file.
26,000 + in my gmail in box. 10 years or so in there. HAve never ever deleted anything. Love the search function. alittle over 2000 in my work inbox after 2 years. Again I don't delete anything. I use the search functionality to find stuff
To err is human to really mess up you need a computer
I have a holding inbox where I rake everything into it that the rules don't hit. Thru the day, the fires will come in again, but as I get time, I go to the holding inbox, check flags for follow-ups or attachments. I have pst folders back to 2000 and have named everything with the same naming conventions each year. Some years I have 2 or 3 pst's because they throw up after they get to be over a gig. I reply to all customer requests within 24 hrs, even if I can't help them yet, and follow up prior day fires. We need more people!
First, immediately delete the crap like "we made a new sale" etc.
I have a series of folders for each change I'm working on, tied to our tracking software--so a "Bugs" folder with sub-folders of Bug n, Bug n + 1, etc. Same for user stories, etc.
Then, I'm (reasonably pretty) diligent about moving things from Inbox into the proper folder upon sending the ticket for QA. Pretty easy since the ticket # is in the subject.
For more random emails from people which don't mention the ticket number (whether I'm the author or the recipient), I endeavor to move them to the appropriate folder immediately.
Then, every [once in a while, usually when I need a little break], I review Inbox and Sent and see if there's anything which needs to be addressed.
I'm in a pretty fortunate position though, as I and the product owner have a sterling relationship, and neither of us has to worry about the petty politics. If something comes up, we review how we missed it, and move on to fix the problem and address the system so that doesn't recur without needing to get others involved and point fingers.
So, maybe my appraoch isn't the best for you, as it sounds as if you're in a situation where you feel you need to have that arsenal of documentation behind you.
Wow, I have only about half a dozen new emails a day. I delete immediately anything that isn't important, and delete project-related emails as soon as they are not relevant. I archive a few emails that seem to have long-lasting interest. This archive gets flushed every couple of years in hard disk crashes, and I've never missed it. I don't get all that much true spam (1-2 a week). The commercial emails I do get respond to their "unsubscribe" requests.
If I ever find I've deleted something important, the organization always seems to contain an email hoarder who I can ask.
I moved over my domain email to Gmail five years ago and have never looked back.
My current stats are Inbox (39,745) and Spam (2,399) where I receive on average about 325 emails/day with 25 of these being automatically filtered as important and the remaining 300 designated as spam which are automatically deleted after 30 days.
In the past I managed my own email server which I accessed through my Outlook client which took about an hour out of my day to manage and wade through all the emails especially since I had to keep refining my junk email rules to keep out all of the spam which for the most part is automatically done by Google when using Gmail.
In the five years since, I manage everything remotely through my Google Dashboard with nothing downloaded locally and with Google's powerful search capabilities I am able to quickly find any email I have ever sent or received without having to necessarily set-up the folder infrastructure to keep everything neat and tidy like I use to have to do with Outlook and instead just use various labels and such and sometimes not even these as their search works so great.
I literally have gained back an hour to my schedule for everyday of the week which is some 365 hours/year or 9.13 forty hour weeks/year or one full 52 week year every 5.70 years if my quick off the head arithmetic is correct and I still never have ever deleted an email except for spam of course, but the pain of managing it all rest Google's more than capable hands and all for free at that leaving me to do other more productive and less mundane pursuits.
I delete most of my inbox but keep all of my sent items. Maybe it's part of the role of being a 'software expert' at the company I work at, but I find what I send is far more valuable than what I receive. Usually similar issues may come up in future and I need to track down an explanation I came up with last time. I hope that doesn't make me sound egotistical.
As much fun there can be while collaborating with external companies... there are also some moments of total frustruation...
A simple issue:
External company provides an SSH server. And our company should connect to this server...
We got the connection details (ip, username, etc.) about a month ago. And it's still not working.
After double-checking our firewall that the problem is at our company I informed them about the issues.
It looks like they have a "Network partner" who configures their firewall (ip restriction, NAT configuration).
Communication is mainly over email. I've got now about 3 or 4 mails in my inbox about "Our network partner has found an error and fixed it. Please try again." After each so called "fix": nothing has changed...
If I'm not mistaken the whole system should have gone into the site acceptance test end of last week...
No; partners are responsible for their shizzle, I don't care whether they subcontract or what their subcontractor does. I don't wanna hear about "internal problems", either they deliver, or they don't.
If they're overdue for a month, find someone else.
Bastard Programmer from Hell
If you can't read my code, try converting it here[^]