I was reading a great article today about large email attachment services. This prompted me to want to write and share with you my secret tips on how to prevent your email inbox from getting full.
Ok, so raise your hand if this has ever happened to you:
- Your mailbox got so full at home, you weren’t able to send or receive any more emails to your personal account.
- Your mailbox got so full at work, your IT people locked your email account AND posted your picture in the break room with darts stuck all over it.
- The people you send all those videos, jokes, and slide shows to have filed a virtual restraining order against you (blocked you).
If none of these have happened to you, I think you’re either not being honest, or perhaps you truly are handling your business and deserve major kudos! For the rest of us, read on.
Sure, the sheer number or emails you get can cause a full mailbox, but what I’m getting at here are large attachments in your emails. They’re bad. They can clog your email box faster than a double-chesseburger from Five Guys. Mmm… Five Guys!
Not the types of attachments that don’t cause any strain on your email, like a YouTube link, or a link to a website. That’s because THOSE types of things aren’t really attachments… those are “links”, which are short for hyperlinks.
Those don’t strain your email servers (the big computers that you never see, but store and transfer all your email)… links simply strain your network connection; thus causing another reason for your IT guy to pull his hair out.
But, I digress.
What I’m Really Talking ‘Bout Is…
I’m talking FILE attachments. You know, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, even the occasional video file (WMV, AVI, MOV). Attachments are the biggest source of strain for an email server. It can also be a huge pain for you even if you happen to not store all your email on a server and download it via POP3 instead.
Let’s talk about this for a second.
1. Email attachments can vary in size from just a few kilobytes (KBs) in size to several gigabytes (GBs) in size.
2. Email attachments have to travel through the same Internet connection the rest of your company or home uses. That can slow down your overall Internet experience significantly. Think basketball through garden hose and you’ll get what I mean.
3. Email attachments have to get stored somewhere. That can be either by staying attached to your email message, or “saved as” somewhere on your hard drive, or even both. Think about that. If you’re saving an attachment to your hard drive, but not deleting the email it came from, you have the same huge file twice. Even if that email is stored on a server, or you download email to your computer via POP3, that is twice the storage for one single attachment.
4. Email attachments that aren’t cleaned up can fill up your email and your hard drive (or your company’s server hard drives) very, very quickly.
5. Attachments aren’t only a problem for your inbox… how many of these behemoth attachments do you send out? Guess where they get stored. In your Sent Items. Yeah, how often do you look in there?
Stop the madness!
So, all in all, you have network connection implications as well as storage capacity issues that all come from email attachments. How many times have you spent a Friday at work, or even a Saturday at home just cleaning up your old emails?
Now, how many of them had attachments? And, finally, how many of them were really for work? Or even really for anything useful? If you subscribe to the 80/20 rule, I think you’ll have your answer.
There’s a way to stop this altogether. Again, emailing links aren’t a problem, except for the bandwidth they suck up when they’re clicked and take you to the site or the streaming video on the other side of that link. However, how many times did someone send you a funny commercial, and it was a .WMV file attached the email?
Here are three tips to help keep you from filling up your inbox:
1. If your attachment you’re sending is over 1MB in size, don’t attach it. Instead, use a free service that specializes in sending large attachments. What’s that, you say? A service that handles large attachments? Why yes, dear reader, there are services that specialize in handling large attachments.
These services vary in the maximum size of your attachment you can send, but some go as big a 1GB in size! That’s a lot of Word documents… or shall we really say, cats barking like dogs videos? Here’s 8 ways you can send butt-large email attachments.
Basically, these big file services allow you to upload your big-arsed attachment to their servers. Because you specify who should get your attachment at the time you upload, your recipient gets an email with a link to be able to download the big file from service’s servers instead.
This takes the strain off your mail server or company mail system from having to work to push that big attachment through their systems. Instead, the big file service takes on the transferring and the storage.
It’s important to note that for a free service, it would be wise to not expect them to hold on to your file forever (as you aren’t paying for the service, right?). Usually files stored on their servers will be deleted after a certain amount of days. But, let’s face it, if someone hasn’t downloaded your file within 48 hours, they probably never will.
Oh, and if you’re all about security and simply refuse to send your important work file without some kind of security, you can relax. I don’t know of a single service out there that doesn’t offer at least the minimum standard of encryption for government and banking. What that means in a nutshell is that your files will indeed be safe.
HelpfulAdvisor Bonus: Here’s 7 more services to send large attachments for free.
2. When you get an email with an attachment of any kind, action that email right away. Be efficient, show off your inner go-getter, and process an email with an attachment immediately. Save the attachment to your hard drive and respond to the sender immediately, then delete the email. Alternatively, if a reply is not necessary, and you don’t even need the attachment, just delete the email altogether.
This saves you from having the same attachment in two different places, and by deleting the email, you’re shrinking your mailbox size.
3. Schedule time to clean out your inbox AND your sent mail items. We’re all guilty of sending large attachments, for fun and for work. But, since both the inbox and sent items boxes are your two biggest places for email to be, might as well do some regular housekeeping to keep things in check.
So, there we have it. Hopefully today you learned:
- The difference between a link and an attachment
- That attachments can be evil for your mailbox, your company’s mail servers, and for your hard drive, UNLESS kept in check
- There are easy and free alternatives to sending huge files (over 1MB really is considered huge by email standards) through a service that is both free and secure
- That anyone who doesn’t add you to their spam list for sending them the latest unfunny picture from “EpicFail.com” is a friend you should hold on to and lever let go.