My wife just told me she needs to switch to gmail. A few times recently she has deleted a message from yahoo and then wished she could have it back a couple days later.

The archive button in gmail is great in that you don’t need to delete messages anymore. Instead of deleting, simply archive. 2.XX GB is a lot of space.

However, being able to save messages you don’t know how to categorize isn’t the best thing about the archive button.

The best thing about the archive button is how it changes the mental state of email users.

One of the biggest problems with email is having to decide what to do with each email. It’s so time consuming. It’s also a major brainpower consumer.

Not any more.

The archive button can be used to say:

Get this email out of my face, I don’t want to deal with it.


I don’t know what to do with this email, so just get it out of my inbox so I don’t have to think about it.

Mentally, it allows you to get your inbox back again.

It allows you to get rid of emails, without having to figure out if you should delete, respond, categorize, group, filter, …, …, an email.

It allows you to think about more important things than a stupid email that isn’t going to help you in life.

If you haven’t read Getting Things Done yet, you need to. It will change how you think about what you keep in your head.

Email is a major contributor to thought garbage (the dumb thoughts you keep around in your head, trying to remember stuff or thinking about unproductive things, things that aren’t going to help you in any way) and the archive button helps get rid of it.

I’m not sure google really realized how effective the archive button was going to be. For me, it’s so effective, that I’ve turned my inbox over to someone else to filter my mail before I see it. I can let someone else safely archive all the emails that they think I shouldn’t see.

If they get it right, great. I don’t have to see the emails I didn’t want to see.
If they get it wrong, ok, that’s fine. The emails are still there. I just have to look at “all mail”, or search for the important email (if it’s really important, it’ll get through to you).

If you’re not using an archive button, you should be.

It’ll free up your brainpower to think about more important things.