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3 Steps for More Efficient Email

We see a lot of overflowing email accounts, and do notice three common habits that make email inefficient. These inefficiencies bog down the mail system for everyone, and require more storage space than is necessary. You can avoid these pretty easily by avoiding the following practices:

  1. Sending large attachments to several people. We see this all the time, including within the IT department! Yes, it's easy; you just attach your 10-page PDF that you want your 15 co-workers to review and send it off to them. But think about that: say it's a 1.5 megabyte document; you've just multiplied that 1.5 times 15 people, and sent out more than 22 megabytes of data!

    The workaround is to move the file to a mutually accessible place:
    • If it's within your department, perhaps you can copy it to a folder on your newmisserver share.
    • If it's to people in different departments on campus, and not confidential within the campus, newmisserver's public folder is a good place.
    • If it's to be shared with people off campus, you can put it in your public_html folder on the staffhome or fachome server. The servers staffhome and fachome are provided to faculty and staff for backups and other data. You are allocated approximately 2 GB of storage space, but your webmail is included in that storage. For information on mounting servers see Connect to Servers. Anything you put in your public_html folder is accessible from the web by using the address, follwed by your HampNet ID and another slash(/); my public_html folder is at, for instance.
  2. CC'ing yourself on all messages. This might seem like a way to make sure that you have a copy of each message, but it's really a way to make sure you have two copies of each message. 

    All mail systems manage a folder containing messages you send out, so why duplicate it? You can move things from the sent mail folder to another folder if you have a structured filing system. If you find it too difficult to change your cc'ing habits, then you need to frequently delete your sent messages, remembering to empty the trash and compact the folders if applicable.
  3. Keeping copies of attachments in your sent mail. As mentioned above, every time you send a message a copy is saved in a sent mail folder. If you send out attachments, the attachment is also in your sent mail folder. Since attachments are generally much larger than the email itself, this grows your mail footprint very quickly.

    We recommend that you delete sent mail that has attachments, since you already have a copy of the original attachment (otherwise, how could you have attached it?). Also, remember that if you cc yourself, you now have two copies of the attachment in your mailbox, plus the original!

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