Should you just delete all your emails when you get back to work post-vacation?


Deleting emails can help reduce your carbon footprint. — AFP Relaxnews

As email inboxes reach record levels of messages, could the solution, radical though it may be, lie in simply deleting them all? The logic behind the idea being that if someone is really trying to reach you, they will recontact you...

After some weeks of summer holidays, many employees return to their work inboxes to find them overflowing, easily reaching 5,000, 10,000 or sometimes even 15,000 unread emails. It’s enough to make a person feel overwhelmed and even cancel out some of the stress-relieving effects of the vacation.

ALSO READ: Is deleting your emails really all that good for the planet?

A study last year by Klaviyo indicated that the average American had 1,602 unread email messages in their inbox at any given time. Depending on one’s work, it’s a number that can rise into the tens of thousands.

So how can you sort out your emails and make sure you don’t miss anything? Should you delete them? Should you archive them?

First of all, you should be aware that among the 319.6 billion emails that are sent and received every day in the world (according to Statista figures in 2021), most of them are not intended for you personally. They very often consist of advertising offers, newsletters or message threads intended to keep you informed about the progress of some project or other during vacation. So they don’t all have the same importance.

Respond to key contacts

So there’s no need to stress. Take the time to go through your messages and sort out the important ones from the less important ones. For example, a two-week old newsletter from a news site is probably no longer useful. You can easily delete these kinds of emails.

Then, respond to prioritised contacts. In most cases, there is no need to do it all at once. You can answer the most urgent and return to this task in the following days, tidying up your emails to avoid forgetting.

If you do forget to answer someone (it does happen), the person who tried to reach you will most likely get back to you if the subject is urgent.

Emails: to delete or not?

Which brings us to the most radical method, which is to delete all your emails. Indeed it’s drastic and not recommended for everyone, but in some cases it could be worth it for saving time and reducing your carbon footprint a bit.

The logic of those who take such a radical step is that if there really is something important and urgent, the person will try to follow up or contact you by text message or via social networks. – AFP Relaxnews

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