I wish that archiving in Gmail worked better for me. It’s an awesome concept and it shows up all over the UI. Only being able to find archived mail in All Mail, though, has become a problem.
My own All Mail view is dominated by public mailing lists, notifications, and my inbox:
|Mailing lists and notifications|
Work is similar:
Finding a recent, relevant email in All Mail is super hard! Writing searches gets tiring fast.
It turns out that there’s a big difference between my mail with at least one label (Inbox, Feedback, Alerts, NYC OKWS User Group, etc.) and mail that’s archived with no labels at all. Archived mail is personal and has a low enough volume that it’s useful for searching and browsing in a way that the firehose of All Mail is not. Unfortunately, Gmail doesn’t provide a way to search or see only archived mail.
I want a view of archived mail
So I made a label called Archive and stopped archiving messages in the Gmail sense. I move them to the archive when they have nowhere else to be. It makes me feel dirty but in it, baby, I can find things! Both browsing and searching are a pleasure because I never run into mail that skipped my inbox in the first place.
The system works with a couple of pitfalls: It’s possible for a message to be orphaned in All Mail (where I won’t look for it), and it makes Google’s Gmail clients harder to use since they have more and easier ways to archive conversations than than to move them to a label (though it plays nicely with the Archive button and keyboard shortcut in newer versions of Apple Mail).
I would love a proper Archive view in Gmail which showed only unlabeled messages. I’d also love it if it were visible to IMAP — it would be super pleasant to have that view exposed instead of All Mail, which overlaps with everything else.
If I’m misusing something or you have any thoughts or ideas, email me.