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How much email do you deal with each day?

While I’m a huge fan of the “inbox zero” concept, I always felt I had it easy.  I certainly get a lot of email, but I read about people that get hundreds of emails every day and figured it was easier for me because I only get around 50.  Or so I thought…

I decided it’d be a good idea to actually run some stats to see how much email I go through each day.  Gmail keeps things grouped in “conversations”, which is incredibly useful but makes it hard to count individual messages.  So, I installed Thunderbird (free email client, somewhat like Outlook) and had it pull in all of my gmail messages.  Once in there, I was able to sort and count them much more easily.

Since I first joined Gmail in 2004, I’ve kept (archived) a total of  80,112 emails and sent a total of 19,659. Beyond that, there’s no telling how many I’ve deleted.

This has been a pretty typical week, so here are my averages for the past few days:

  • 268 messages received
    • 98 messages archived. These are ones I respond to, or otherwise need to keep for the future.  Many could probably be deleted, but you get a ton of space with Gmail and archiving is just a single click.
    • 170 messages deleted. Most of these are legitimate (social notifications, newsletters, etc), but I see no reason to keep them.  I try hard to unsubscribe when it’s applicable.
  • 29 messages sent by me. I would have thought I sent more.  I guess not.
  • 450-500 messages land in spam. Gmail spam filtering is very solid, and only a few each week slip through, so this number doesn’t really mean much.

I guess the point of this post is to show how effective an inbox zero approach can be.  I receive more than 250 emails per day, but it doesn’t feel like nearly that much.

So how about you?  How much do you get every day? Can you keep it at zero (at least part of the time)?

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Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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  1. I have no way to check the actual amount of email I receive due to Gmail being awesome! (and I am not about to check this via Thunderbird… I am anal, but not that bad).

    The Zero inbox concept is something I have used for years, even before Gmail. The amount of email has never really bothered me (except once when I got 2600 replies to a request I sent out – … that was not spam, but actual replies!).
    What I have struggled with is:
    1) Organization. Gmail has somewhat helped with that, though outlook had much better tools to deal with many emails at the same time. Once I organize something in Gmail it is sort of stuck there. I have several other issues with it but will not go into that here.
    2) Constant check. As many I am terrible at having my mail open in the corner and the minute a mail comes in I check it! This is really something we should all stop doing!

    I have introduced about 20 people to Gmail and almost forced it on them. All of them have come back to me at a later point thanking me (they all used either Hotmail or Yahoo).

    anyway, I am rambling…

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