Be honest... How many emails are in your Outlook inbox?
If you carefully look at the bottom left it tells you.
The term INBOX is derived from the office language IN-TRAY.
Would you use your IN-TRAY as your filing cabinet? Hopefully not :)
Why Bother clearing your INBOX?
All of your Emails, Folders, Attachments, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks are stored in one PST file. To keep your Outlook happy and healthy it is important to keep this file from getting too large. Every time you open Outlook the first folder it opens is your INBOX - ensuring this only has a handful of emails in it means it runs faster and can significantly help your email not to lock, crash or at worst corrupt your PST file. (If it gets corrupted the worst case scenario is that you would lose everything)
Here is a quick tip I use for paper work which could also be applied to your INBOX.
Urgent = High, Important = High
If the email is Urgent and Important (for your role) DO IT – Deal with it right away
Urgent = Low, Important = High
If the email is not Urgent but Important (for your role) FILE IT – File it in folder (either a folder that’s appropriate for that matter or just create one folder called To Do)
Urgent = High, Important = Low
If the email is Urgent but not Important (for your role) FWD IT – Forward the email to someone else (i.e. delegate the matter to somebody else)
Urgent = Low, Important = Low
If the email is not Urgent and definitely not Important (e.g. SPAM) - BIN IT – Delete the email immediately. If you’re really not sure you could archive it.
Archive your Email
In outlook all of your emails, email attachments, folders, contacts, calendar and tasks are stored in one file called a PST file. Setting up an Archive ensures that old emails you still wish to keep are moved from the live PST file into a second one (usually called archive.pst) Here is how to set it up.
- Open Outlook and navigate to Tools / Options and click the Other tab.
- Click the AutoArchive button and a new window will pop up.
- Tick the top box entitled Run AutoArchive every 14 days (you can change this to be more frequent if you prefer)
- Select how many months you wish to keep (Clean out items older than…)
- Now click the button entitled Apply these settings to all folders now
- Click OK and OK again
- Now go to Tools / Mailbox cleanup and click the AutoArchive button. This will begin archiving your emails immediately. (This will automatically happen every 14 days from now on)
Notice the new folder icon called Archive. You can still access and search for emails in the Archive.
NB for Outlook 2010 Users
If you are using Outlook 2010 - you can access the AutoArchive by clicking the File tab - then Options then AutoArchive button