Delete your email

Some people keep their email forever, tens of thousands of emails sometimes, with occasionally embarrassing results. A strategy that works for me is to save only the emails that I’m required to keep by law or common sense.

Why you should purge useless emails

It isn’t a day planner

Email is a great communication medium but makes a terrible project management system or reference library. Items to be done belong in a todo list. Appointments belong in a calendar. Design notes and project requirements belong in a project diary or a design document: it doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just a simple text file.

Stepping through hundreds of emails to find your next action item is inefficient.

Can’t subpoena the nonexistent

Viramontes vs. U.S. Bancorp states a company is required to save emails only if litigation is imminent or reasonably forseeable. If you receive a subpoena, that’s considered a triggering event and you’re required to preserve all emails from that time forward. If there’s no triggering event then there’s no duty to save.

Unless you want a jury reading the intimate details of your life, it’s less trouble to hit Delete instead of Archive.

Email you should save