Don’t be afraid to delete


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I recently saw this Tweet, from @EverythingMom, “Good point. RT @WhenIGroUpCoach (Michelle Ward): If an email is over 2 days over, you’ll probably never look at it again #sxswgetalife.” It made the rounds during South by Southwest and then again in the last couple of days.


At first, I thought the suggestion was crazy, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this it’s true. It’s rare that you need to re-vist an email more than two days later and if it’s important enough to view again, then you probably flagged it and saved it somewhere safe. Leaving old email in your inbox just creates electronic clutter and can stress some people out.

Many offices are trying to reduce electronic clutter by moving to a 120 day (or similar) policy. Meaning, if an email is older than 120 days and you haven’t moved it to a folder off the email server, it will be automatically deleted.

At first this unnerved me, but then after the first round of deletions I realized just how freeing it was!

Does your office have an auto delete policy? How do you feel about it?

4 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid to delete

  1. Hi Aurora,

    Ah, the inbox! Big fan of the purge button and cleaning out the inbox — including folders. Think the inbox becomes a file archive when no clear alternatives exist (e.g., group folders, project management/file-sharing platform). -Chris

    1. Chris,
      You are so right! With nearly five email addresses to manage (I have no idea how those with more do it!), I’m slowly getting over my everything needs to be read mentality. Now, I try to delete or at least move to folders right away. No more languishing in the inbox!

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