|Volume 4: No. 24|
There's an old time-management saying: never handle anything twice. For email, act on each message and then discard it. Occasional messages must be saved, but the folders should be few enough that you don't feel overwhelmed. (If the cognitive load is too great, you may be attempting the work of several people. Pick your favorite folder and write that book you've been meaning to do -- to heck with the rest.)
My own archiving solution is to condense messages into notes, then publish the notes as a newsletter. I do save a few files, but seldom refer to them. (There is so much coming at me today, why should I live in the past?)
As an alternative, you might keep a paper notebook or a "hot key" note pad, bibliographic application, or spreadsheet on your computer. Record the point of interest in any message that you save, with one or more retrieval keys. The messages can be saved in topic-based files or in one sequential archive.
Great scientists, writers, and artists have kept notebooks. Perhaps the old solutions still work in the computer age. [KIL, 6/15/94.]