I’m hoping you can help me. I have an organizational problem. This affects many areas of my life but today I would like to talk about my electronic organization issue.

This problem is in my email inboxes. I have 2 emails and neither is organized. My primary email inbox currently has 11,397 unread emails. That means the total emails in my inbox is way more. I don’t know how to fix it.

This problem is in my files on my computer. All of the photos are all together and so I have to scroll through hundreds of photos to find one that I want to use.

This problem is in every part of my electronic life.

Do any of you have a way to organize your stuff? And what about going back through years of stuff and organizing it after the fact or is it better just to start from today?

Any help is appreciated.


13 thoughts on “Organization”

  1. Bex Hopkins

    I would start with organising such things from today, as well as perhaps if you go looking for something when you find it, file it correctly while you are there.

    I use a lot of keyword filters and from address filters to sort my email into folders when it arrives. So I know which things I have to deal with today and which I can leave in their folder and look at later as they aren’t urgent. This made a massive difference to my productivity with regard to email.

    Photos I find hard too, sorting them feels very time consuming to me, and I often feel too time poor to do it. All I do I create folders by date quarterly for photos. But I’d love to hear what others come up with!!

    1. Beth

      One thing is I’m slowly switching over to using Gmail as my primary email address. I think need to learn to use it and its capabilities. I think the filters you’re talking about are built in there somehow. Thank you.

  2. Becca

    Yikes! That’s a lot of stuff to organize. In my experience it is better to start from today, develop a framework of folders to put things in. Then as you have the headspace, take time to do little chunks of your backlog working from most recent into the past.

    Do you have anyone who could be your assistant in this? Outsourcing some of it can also be a way to deal with the overwhelm. But for me, just getting started is the best way to deal with a big pile of work. Otherwise I just sink under the weight of it all and don’t want to do anything.

    This setup for organization of photos really helped me when I was starting to figure out what to do with it all. https://clickitupanotch.com/2011/05/organizing-your-photos/

    Good luck!

  3. Rachel

    I use Thunderbird for email. It has an archive option which I use to keep old email I think important. I use tags for tracking things, tags are customizeable. In my secondary account that gets newsletters and mailing lists I will frequently sort by sender and then do a mass delete. That account doesn’t have a tag option so I use folders and ‘rules’ to sort out emails that I really want to see or have high volume mailings (making them faster to delete). I don’t have a great photo sorting really. I keep photos in folders by month and try to rename photos with content of the photo. (plus delete unuseable ones as soon as possible)

  4. My photos were entirely unmanageable until this year. I am now sorting them by month and year. It is super easy to go back to see a photo now!

  5. hit the delete button.emails are forever in a temporary zone. i get over two hundred, i dont read them all, i scan and hit the-all time delete . everything goes, then get in a good cleansing yoga class. delete

  6. Start from today – and then as you have time tackle a little bit at a time of the old ones.

    My phone is a mess but on my computer everything is arranged in files. Some photos I copy and paste into multiple files if they’re needed in different files.

    ie – Famile is the main file and all pics can be dropped there for later sorting. Further sorting might be Siblings, parents, extended family, kids. etc.

    I do a similar thing with say the articles I write. The main file is articles and I keep the ones I’m working on in that file but I have organized them by magazine or organization that the articles eventually were published in.

    You should call me.

  7. ruth goldenberg

    Gmail does have filters. Start by opening 1 email you want to filter. At the Reply button on the top right, click on More to bring up a menu and then click on the menu option: Filter messages like this.

    Gmail responds with a box to describe the filtering options. It fills in the From part based on the mail msg. you selected, and you can ignore the rest of the criteria in that box if you want. Click on “Create filter with this search” to get to the next box. You can check the actions you want (from deleting the mail immediately to archiving the mail in the folder you specify with Apply the label. You can create a new folder name then if you want.

    Gmail will find all the messages that meet your criteria and offer the option of applying the filter to all those messages. You can filter messages with different senders into the same folder. I have one called “Ads”, for example.

    Even with all this and 25 folders, I have a fair amount of mail in my inbox, some of it unread. I think it’s largely because I run out of decision-making energy and just leave stuff there til it’s too late to do anything about it.

    If you really have that a lot of emails in your inbox, you could just get to the oldest in the list by repeatedly clicking on > at the top of the display and then at the end, select everything in that display with the select menu at the top left of the display and delete them.

    I don’t know a way to make it delete all emails in the inbox earlier than this date. You might be able to create a filter with a blank From and then specify date.

    Just in case you’re new to Gmail, you might not know you can enter a search term in the box to the right of Google to search for all the msgs. with that search term. Then you could select them all and delete them en masse or move them to a particular folder.

    hope this helps,

    1. Beth

      That is super helpful! Thank you so much.

    1. Beth

      Thanks Ted! I’ll look at that.

      1. Ted

        So how’s it going?

        Are the unread emails dealt with? Getting dealt with?

        You have a strategy in place to deal with the incoming mail?

        1. Beth

          Sadly I got no further. 3 days after I wrote that post I went to spend almost 2 weeks in PA to be with my parents. While I was there I just helped them and did the work that was pressing.
          My plan is to hop on getting the email in order right after Christmas.
          But I appreciate you checking in. It helps.

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