Gmail’s archive feature is likely the least understood button found on Gmail’s navigation. What exactly does archive mean?
Archive does not mean “backup” or some other form off off-site storage. It also doesn’t mean that it files things away in hard to reach areas.
What Archive does to: It moves email out of your inbox. That’s it.
Archived email is still immediately available using Gmail’s search function or by clicking the All Mail button. The beauty of Archive is that it hides emails that you have processed. Once you’re read an email, or read & responded to an email, clicking the archive button will save the email (or conversation) OUTSIDE of your inbox.
Once you’re done with emails, stop looking at them. Turn your inbox into a place for pending issues ONLY.
My persona workflow: Read, Reply, Archive. Process, then hide.