Why do we keep other people’s stuff (emails)?

In coaching an Outlook student this was a question I asked. We were discussing email that he was holding onto…

I asked him “why do you have a folder entitled ‘Fred’, is he your boss or direct staff?”

“No”, he replied.

“Is this communication concerning work you are responsible for?”

“No, it’s emails that Fred sends me (or I am copied on from Fred), but it is about what Fred is responsible for…” he replied.

Finally I ask, “Why do you need to keep Fred’s emails?”

“I guess I don’t. I never thought about it that way…” he replied.

Does the Email pertain to you?

My students constantly hear me say “Delete it if you don’t need it. Don’t delete it if YOU NEED IT”. 

Needing it (the email) should mean that you are responsible for this information.

If you are responsible for information that also means you should be able to find it when you need it.

Keeping everything in your email program may not be the best solution.  Organizing of data is whole other story…