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Archiving Emails

Cleaning out Your Inbox

How many email messages are sitting in your inbox? If your email system is slow to send, receive, and open emails the answer is likely too many.

To speed up your email performance and save valuable space on your server or hard drive, you’ll need to do some purging and some printing.

Purging emails

Scrutinize all of your saved emails and aggressively delete old messages. Establish some rules. For example, delete any messages that have been sitting in your inbox for more than a month.

Ideally, your inbox should only contain new, unread emails and those to which you still need to respond. Remember, "the majority of your email doesn't need to be saved. Whenever possible, read each email once, then delete. If you do this regularly, you'll have far less email clutter," says Jan Jaspar, author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, and Technology.

Printing emails

No doubt you will have emails that you want and need to save. To prevent piles of unorganized, printed emails from piling up on your desk, start an email binder. Divide your binder by topic, project, department, or sender using binder indexes. This way you can print important emails, archive them in a binder, and still free up inbox space.

Consider printing:

  • Emails regarding projects where most of the other information is in a printed format;
  • Vacation requests or approvals and other pertinent HR information;
  • Meeting notes;
  • Account statements that are now emailed to you instead of mailed;
  • Attachments you will refer to often, such as project or employee schedules, operating or emergency policies, and contact lists;
  • Large attachments that take up a lot of memory. Many email programs automatically tell you how much memory an email has consumed. If your program does not, try opening the email, then going to the file dropdown menu on the toolbar. Click properties and you should see the file size. Consider printing any attachments that you want to save that weigh in at 3MB or more.
Be sure to purge and print at least once a month, if not weekly. Remember: keeping fewer messages in your inbox will make your email easier to navigate and will likely speed up processing times.


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