How much is too much email? I often get asked by clients about how much is too much email. There’s three parts to the answer (and one of them isn’t technical).
How much space do you have?
Most email service providers set a space limit per user. By default Microsoft 365 mail or Exchange Online provides 50GB per mailbox. You can buy more space or use have your IT pro set up the 1TB free archive space per user. This is separate from the 1TB of OneDrive space.
You can check how space you’re using on your Exchange account in Outlook by going to File on the menu. In the middle of the screen you should see account storage.
If you’re downloading email from another service provider (like your web hosting company) you can check your space in Outlook by right clicking the account name in the folder on the left hand size and choosing Properties. In the Properties tab there is a Folder Size button. That will show you how much space you’re using in KB. Roughly 1,000,000KB is equal to 1GB.
Google manages the space differently. Google provides space limits over everything in the account: emails, Google Drive and Google Photos. Free accounts come with 15GB total. Business Starter comes with 30GB, Business Standard comes with a whopping 2TB. You can check your Google storage by going to https://one.google.com/storage .
Once you start getting near to the upper limit most providers start sending you alerts. Once you’re over the limit you won’t be able to send emails and possibly receive emails until you clear up some space. Easy place to start is to delete Deleted Items.
Mail App Drag
You’ve checked you’re not over your storage limit but your app is still painfully slow. I have seen Outlook get bogged down not by emails but by hundreds of reminders.
Another mail app drag is IMAP. IMAP literally drags down every email with every attachment. IMAP was one of the earliest email protocols and it was designed in the days when mailboxes were 25MB not 25GB. You can limit how much Gmail you drag down from Settings in Gmail. The default is set to Do Not Limit but you can change to 1000 or another number. See picture below.
If you’re using Mac Mail, Apple says the only limit is the size of your hard drive..
How much is too much email?
Time for the non-technical part. How much email can you manage in your inbox and still be effective? Everyone has a different tolerance. I have one client who I marvel at for consistently having under 10 emails in her inbox. The rest she files into folders. She gets anxious if she has more than 5 emails in her inbox. Do you need to see those emails in the inbox so you don’t forget about them? Do client requests get buried? How much is too much email for you personally?