It is OK to delete an email.
It is Ok and I know for many of us it goes against everything we feel in our bones, to delete an email. That email with the Kohl’s sale from last Christmas or dad jokes from Uncle Tommy from 2008, I think we can live without permanent record of. Sure, important client and vendor communication should be retained for an acceptable period but not every email needs to be retained. In our business we daily run into clients with 100,000 emails or more. This is usually the result of email hoarding. When we talk to the users about why they have so much email, most of them respond with “I need to clean that up” or “I can probably delete some”. While I am not recommending that everyone get to inbox 0, we should make an effort to create some guidelines for email. Here are 4 steps you can use to help reduce your email:
- Delete unimportant, marketing, or automated emails. If you get marketing emails from vendors that are off topic or not interesting, delete them. Automated emails from vendors with purchasing activity can be auto delivered to a folder that can then be purged after a period.
- Unsubscribe from retails, industry lists, or other vendors you don’t want email from. Don’t spend 5 minutes everyday deleting emails when you could spend 20 minutes every 6 months unsubscribing from lists you don’t want to be on.
- Organize your email. Use folders and rules to keep automated or vendor emails out of your inbox. Setup rules to have automated emails delivered to the appropriate folder.
- Use automated archiving or even deletion after a period.
We should all be using our “Inbox” as the area where things we need to do are listed. This is where you keep emails until they are responded to or emails that contain action items you must complete. The more clutter we allow to live in our Inbox the more things we miss.