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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Virtual De-clutter

Whenever I have a period of being particularly busy away from my desk I always come back to  a mountain of email.  I expect that's not unusual.  It is just part of life these days.

Much as I try to keep on top of my emails by deleting them when they are dealt with or filing them if I need to keep them, I regularly end up with well over a thousand emails in my In Box.  Each one of those emails has a carbon footprint.  Mike Berners-Lee, author of How Bad Are Bananas - The Carbon Footprint of Everything, estimates the carbon footprint of a spam email to be 0.3g (that's slightly more than two pints of tap water).  A proper email (because you spend longer at your computer dealing with it) he calculates as having a carbon footprint of 4g and an email with a 'long and tiresome' attachment can be up to 50g (about two thirds of a banana).  Today after an interlude of being mostly off-line for a couple of weeks, I find I have 2941 emails in my In Box.

So today I've made a decision.  As I try to have a cull of email, each time I find an email that I would normally delete without reading, I will open it (unless it seems like a virus!!) and click on the 'unsubscribe' link.

Clearing out email that is no longer needed has several advantages.

Firstly, it is easier to find that email you do need to find when you have less of it for you or your computer to search through.

Secondly, all that email is taking up disk space on your computer.  So many computers are clogged up with unnecessary emails, poor quality photos and old documents you are never going to open again.  The more clogged up your computer is, the slower it becomes.

Thirdly -well maybe this is just me - it makes you feel better when your computer is nice and neat and organised.

I find an easy way to clear out my In Box is to sort it by recipient and then often you can delete a whole  group of emails in one go.

So here goes, I'm off to unsubscribe from a few newsletters I never read, to tidy up a few loose ends of work and have a good virtual de-clutter.  I know I'll feel cleaner and greener as a result and no doubt save a few bananas-worth of CO2 in the process.

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