28 Jul 08

So, this could be a Dear Abby column!! Let’s just say I have a couple friends I know (that’s not supposed to be the surprising part) who have… 1500 emails saved on their BlackBerry Smartphones.

Our conversation would go something like this:

Richard: “Now, Marla, why do you have 1500 messages on your BlackBerry? Do you really NEED all of them on your BlackBerry?”

Marla: “Well, many of them I haven’t read yet. And some others I’ve read but need to respond to eventually and others I just think I’ll need another time.

Richard: “My dear, dear friend, we have solutions to those problems! Especially since you’re on a BES email system (work email server).

The first thing we need to address is: do you NEED them all on your BlackBerry or would JUST having them in your Outlook be enough? Most of the time, for me anyway, only keeping emails I suspect I’ll need to respond to from my BlackBerry is the best solution. So I delete any other messages from my BlackBerry that I need to address while AT my work computer or at least a laptop. Some responses need more than my bloody little thumbs can punch out on my BlackBerry.”

Marla: “But if I delete them from my BlackBerry then I won’t have them in my Outlook.”

So let’s stop the conversation. We can see where this is going. By default what Marla says is true. However, there is a setting in your Email Reconciliation options (while looking at your email inbox click to bring up the menu and select Options, on the following screens one of the options will be Email Reconciliation) that will give you three helpful opportunities to operate your email storage PERFECTLY. Those options are: “Delete messages on device and server”, “Delete Messages on Device Only”, or “Prompt me”. For me, I prefer “Delete Messages on Device Only”. Granted that does mean I have to delete it again once I get to my computer, but that’s easy. I could see a lot of situations where “Prompt me” is a great option since you want to decide on the fly whether permanent delete is a better idea than a temporary delete JUST on your BlackBery (of course even when you delete on both the deveice and the server, you’ll still have the messages in your Delete folder in Outlook). There’s only one missing that I’ve been asking BlackBerry to add, “Please read my mind and don’t deliver those messages from all those annoying requests” but that options hasn’t seemed to catch anyone’s eye yet.

Another quick and painless method is a Delete Prior action. Delete Prior is performed by scrolling until you hover ON a date and you click. One of the options is Delete Prior. Unlike the above option, this will ONLY ever delete the messages from your device and will never delete them from your server. So let’s say you have 6 months of email on your BlackBerry, but you feel that if you have one week’s emails on there that would be sufficient. Let’s say today is July 25, 2008 (for example). So we scroll down to July 18, and CLICK ON the date July 18, one of the options in the pop-up list is Delete Prior. You click. And VOILA! All of the prior email has been released from BlackBerry hell.

Before we get too far, let’s admit something. Repeat after me, “I, (insert your name here), COMPLETELY agree that there is NO way I’m going to sit down one day and read through all 1500 existing emails ON my BlackBerry. I also agree that it’s more likely that it’s necessary for me to read and respond to 98% of these emails from my computer.” THERE! Now don’t you feel better???

So that’s the “defensive model” of how to take care of it. Let’s take a look at the offensive model of curbing the volume. There are a few different angles on the offensive method.

First, Filters! Use them. There! That was easy!

Oh, “HUH?”, you ask? Ok, fine. Maybe that was my rushing offense.

Well, the detailed instructions can be pretty long (especially the amount of detail I would normally add) so I’ll just simplify slightly. There are two ways to setup filters: 1) On your Desktop Manager software on your computer, 2) ON your BlackBerry in Email Options, Email Filters.

The most effective use of filters is to stop certain messages from actually making it to your BlackBerry. For example, I have a filter setup to stop my daily bank activity notifications from being sent to my BlackBerry. Also, when I’m on vacation, I have a setting that stops all “Firmwide” email from being delivered to my BlackBerry. (A more detailed explanation of how to use both methods can be found at http://kb.iu.edu/data/asvr.html)

So, now you have each of the individual tools, but how should you get started? Well, since you have 1,500 emails on your BlackBerry lets start with the “Delete Prior”. Scroll back a week or so, then use the Delete Prior feature mentioned first. This should eliminate several hundred messages all in one shot, while also keeping those messages in your MAIN email system on your work email account.

Next, I would recommend setting up the Delete Preferences to tell your device that you ONLY want to delete messages from your device and NOT from your server (this is the method I choose, you can use one of the other two options as well).

And then finally, I would recommend taking inventory of the useless messages you receive on a regular basis that you really have no interest in reading or responding to from your BlackBerry and creating filters to prevent them from being delivered. This method changes a lot of how you view your BlackBerry. Once you get those annoying (yet useful at your desk) newsletter and daily “information only” emails out of our BlackBerry inbox you can actually feel confident that when you see the light blinking, it’s more likely to be a message you actually want to read.

In theory, one might even say, “You know, there’s that one attorney I work with whose emails I should never read at home because they just get me worked up and I can never respond from my BlackBerry without lots of backup anyway.” Save yourself the heart ache of getting all upset around your family by filtering those messages out. This is a perfect example of how to use filters to prevent disturbing emails from reaching you during off hours. Or at least setup the Delete On Device Only option, so that way you can just read the “from” and the “subject”, then determine that you don’t actually want to read the message, that it can wait, DELETE!

I hope this gives a little insight and hope for a better future! Good luck and may the BlackBerry Force be with you!

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