User Error

I was having problems with my Outlook yesterday - I was not able to send messages. The program did not tell me that I would not be able to send or refuse to open. What it did was it let me in, let me compose my message, let me address my message, let me spell check it and let me hit send. Then, and only then, did it lock me right out.

My first call was to the Help Desk to see if there were server problems. The server was fine but a number of updates were being installed. The updates would account for the system being slow but not locking up. It took IRM about 30 seconds to determine the problem. As it turned out, my Outlook mailbox was dangerously close to full and my personal folders were WAY too big - a very technical term for "too big to even open."

I easily receive over 100 Outlook messages a day. To manage the volume, I use my Inbox as just that, my Inbox. If the message is not something I need to be working on, I get it out of there as quickly as I can. If it is a reference information I know I will need later, I move it to the appropriate personal folder. If not, in the trash can it goes.

Over the past few years, I have saved a lot of information – WAY too much. So, throughout the day, I proceeded to decrease my personal folders down to a reasonable, system supportable size. As I went into each folder to review the multitude of documents, I read (and quickly deleted) messages that had become overcome by events and no longer necessary and I saved attachments elsewhere. In many cases, I wondered why I had even saved that in the first place. I looked at the dates of some of those messages – 2004. 2004 was only a few years ago by the calendar but seemed light years ago by the content of the messages. I saved these messages because, at the time, it was information that I did not know, it was absolutely necessary to me then and important enough make it’s own folder.

Well, Outlook has stopped taunting me, my personal folders are still A LITTLE too big and I have learned a little more about mailbox management.  I have learned a lot of the past few years, about my job, my leadership and myself.

Today, 2006, many more of those older, once very important messages will go in the trash. I know the information, I know where to find it and, in many cases, I am that resource to others now. This may be a small ray of sunshine but I am taking what I can get right now! J