Unless your email is completely brand new, your work inbox is probably a mess. If your email has been around for a while and if you’re also an email hoarder, you are bound to have a ridiculous number of emails archived.
Emails can be a pain to organize. A study by the software company, Lotus Development Corporation, about email overload points out that the mean number of emails for a working professional is 2482 while the average number of archived emails is only 858.
Well, what could the other hundreds of emails be?
1. Previous to-do emails and reminder emails
The to-do email about chatting with a prior client dated back from 2012 probably won’t be of much use right now. Unless they still hold importance, any kind of action-oriented email should have been cleaned out or archived a while ago.
2. Outdated announcements
The announcement about the new water cooler from a year ago is not worth saving and neither is the outdated announcement about the new employee. That water cooler isn’t new anymore, the employee isn’t new anymore, and most of the announcement emails aren’t important anymore either.
3. Subscription emails to things you stopped caring about
Some of your subscription emails that were meant for work might be interesting. However, if you’re still subscribed to something you no longer follow or a product you no longer use, there is no reason for it to clog your inbox.
4. Social emails
What are they still doing in your inbox – let alone your professional email?
5. Chain emails
Unless the chain email is still relevant and important to this day, they’ll just tally up your inbox count. They're also difficult to read and follow, by the way.
6. Off-topic emails
What does this email have anything to do with work? Why is it still in your inbox? Wait. Why was it in your inbox in the first place?
7. The most obvious one – Spam
Spam is a recurrent issue that is bound to happen if you have an email address. According a study done by The Radicati Group, the average number of spam emails received a day is 11. Multiply that across multiple work days and multiple years and thats how you end up with an overloaded email archive.
On the whole, most emails that aren't part of a current conversation or current project are irrelevant. If the emails contained key information that needed to be referenced later, then there was probably was a better place to store that info, such as a CRM, or note apps like Evernote, or OneNote. It can be helpful to organize and archive the more important emails as you go along but at the same time, constantly preening through your work inbox does cost time too. What is certain is that most people are still spending a lot of time in email, and properly organizing it requires additional effort. Is managing email really the best use of everyone's time?