Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5 Reasons Why It's Stupid to Keep Every Email

Once we moved from paper to electrons, people became pack rats. People that wouldn't keep anything physical suddenly started storing and saving everything digital. Here are 5 reasons why this is enormously stupid.

  1. Legal Discovery
    All it takes is a judge's signature on a subpoena and every email you have ever written or received could suddenly be in the hands of your competitors. All it takes is one frivolous lawsuit and a poorly worded judge's order and you are cooked. Just think of the Goldman Sachs' email nightmare and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

    Now, you may be as pure as new fallen snow, but the issue here is context. Have you ever shared an email joke that could be construed as racist? Have you ever sent an angry email including threats? Taken out of context, this can make you look like the biggest scumbag since Al Capone.

  2. Space usage
    Email itself is relatively small but attachments add up fast. Now think of all those times you have sent the same file to multiple people at different times and that starts to really pile on the gigabytes. Chances are you can delete every email older than 1 year old and it won't effect you at all.

  3. Slower searches
    The more data you have to comb through, the slower your searches will be. This is just a simple fact of physics. I've known executives who kept every email since the beginning of time (using the lame excuse "I might need it later.") and then complain that their laptop is too slow. It's not the laptop, buster. It's the 38 gigabytes of email!

  4. Easier to lose
    Have you ever tried to find something in a messy, disorganized room? I go through this with my children all the time. Because there is so much clutter, it's impossible to find anything when you need it.

  5. Time sink
    Some people believe that having lots of unread email means they are important. Frankly, it just means you are overloaded with information you cannot process. Don't let email accumulate in the inbox until it's completely unmanageable! I know executives who work on email every day until 2am to then be in the office at 8am. That's not a productive use of your time. How well do you make decisions when you're exhausted? 

Do yourself a favor and dump all those old emails. They aren't helping you and it could hurt you.

Click for your free 2 hour consultation with R-Squared Computing and get a grip on excessive email. You'll be glad you did.

Louis Rosas-Guyon's FREE 5-week e-Course for Eliminating Tech CostsR-Squared Computing - Business Technology Experts
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