email boxes

One thing I have learned in my short time in IT is email boxes are not really a valid storage area, especially for those of us in the infrastructure side of IT. Since I switched jobs last year, I was able to start out with a fresh email box at the new company. I was able to put into action what I had learned late in my last job about not bothering with keeping a huge email store. One of my favorite managers at my last job had almost a zero-sized mail store because of this approach, and I agree with it. There’s little reason in saving everything, especially from a business standpoint in my role. Emails:

1) Get read and deleted.
2) Get read and acted upon.
3) Get read and saved out of band, for instance on a backed up file server folder structure. (e.g. licensing codes, personally important stuff…)
4) Get read and then printed out and deleted. They then go into my “desk queue” which goes through the same process as I don’t let things linger on my desk either. (Of note, with dual-monitors, I print out less…think about that in your next debate discussion on dual-monitor adoption…)

I do keep a certain amount of monitoring email alerts from my company’s monitoring systems just so I can do quick trend analysis by eyeballing the alerts. Those usually are small and I purge huge chunks of them every so often so that I only have a few months’ worth.

Sometimes emails build up waiting to be read, but I work hard on keeping the level managable and regularly purged if need be. The only real emails I keep around are sometimes informational or pending projects that can be done down the road. It sucks to get behind with keeping the mailbox cleaned up, and 99% of those emails that slowly build up are really not needed to be kept. Besides, I’m cognizant of storage needs in an organization, and much like reducing my waste and power usage at home to do my part to save the environment, so too do I attempt my part in saving storage space.

Does this work for people in all business roles? Nope. Does this work for me at home? Sadly, no. I tend to be the opposite and not delete much of anything other than the complete crap I get. Thankfully, I don’t really get all that much email anyway. I even have a zip of emails from 1996-2002 that I started getting when I started college. If nothing else, they are not many, they make for great memory-goads, and can help me get in touch with old buddies sometimes.