BRUTAL BUT PRACTICAL: Managing E-Mail Using ‘Delete’ Button

Written by William Pauwels on August 5, 2014

A lot of people with computers, especially older people, complain about all the stuff they receive via the Internet.  “Don’t send me any more emails is there cry.  I’m already swamped.  I can’t read it all.”

This always amazes me.  I ask them if they receive a newspaper or magazine.  Most, obviously, do.  I ask them if they read their newspaper front to back, top to bottom.  “Of course not” is their answer.  “I read some of the headlines and some of the opinions and many of the ads.  I know where to look for the things I like to read.”

I then ask why they don’t do the same thing with information flowing in over the Internet. It is simply a new delivery system.  Read the headlines – and then go deeper if you’re interested.  Or to be more selective, look for the senders that you like and simply read their stuff.  Or learn use the search function for subjects of particular interest to you. 

Make aggressive use of the delete button, which will send items of no interest to the delete folder.  And if by chance you delete something by mistake, you can always find it later.

I get 200 to 300 emails a day and I handle them in this manner.  I sort first.  It takes only a few minutes to reduce the list to topics, individuals and organizations that interest me most.  And if I mistakenly delete something that later I should read, I’ve always got my trash folder to fall back on.  It’s like that stack of newspapers that you keep around, just in case.  So if a friend tells you about this technique – this message – you’ll find it in your deleted items folder.
Having said all that, hopefully this column won’t end up as one more “no interest” item for your trash file!



William Pauwels
William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.