I’m about to check my email for the first time in over 2 months. Yes, last time I did say that I would return to checking my messages every 3 weeks to confirm whether that really was the optimal interval between inbox incursions, but that didn’t happen. My only excuse is that I’ve been traveling around Asia for the past month or so and simply forgot about it.
It’s been great not thinking about email.
This is what the whole experiment has been about– to step completely away from email for months at a time and not worry about missing an important message.
For the most part, that’s exactly what has happened over the past 2 months. I feel confident that my forwarding filters are properly passing messages that I want to receive to my priority account, and that the chance of missing an important message is pretty low.
However, 2 months is definitely the longest I’ve gone without a visit to the inbox, so this will be the real test of whether my work thus far has been well spent.
The Final Score
My dad sent me 2 messages in the last week but I did not see them in my priority account despite having a filter set up to do forward such messages. Initially I thought something was wonky with my forwarding filters, but it turns out that the messages were properly being forwarded to my priority account. Instead, the issue was that Gmail decided to start marking emails from my dad as spam.
Real classy Google.
The strangest bit though is that my normal email account did not classify these messages as spam, while my priority account did. I’m not sure why this is. Gmail is usually good about avoiding false positives, but at least now I know this is something I should be checking from time to time. I wish I didn’t though.
I also missed a message from the library notifying me that a book I had on hold was available. The forwarding filters did not catch this message because the library changed their email address. I have resolved this by restructuring the filter to have less dependencies, but the fact remains that I would have lost my hold on the book had I not checked my email today since holds expire a few days after the notification is sent. Thankfully, the notification was sent earlier today, so I still had time to borrow the book.
After over 2 months away from my email, you might expect there to be a lot of messages, and there were– 844 to be exact. This works out to just over 100 messages per week, which is in line with past message volumes.
The best news though is that my message processing rate (MPR) is more than twice as fast as my previous fastest time– more than 47 messages per minute. What’s more, guess when that previous record was set– yep, while processing 3 weeks of messages. So I guess I was still able to answer whether 3 weeks is the ideal interval for checking email or not– apparently 2 months is better. I can live with that.
Time-wise, it didn’t take only 10 minutes to process all 800+ messages, but that’s not the best goal to have if months are passing between inbox visits. Even though my MPR more than doubled, it still was not going to happen in under 10 minutes. I think I’ll focus on MPR from now on, though spending less than 18 minutes for 2 months worth of messages is nothing to be ashamed of.
All the work I’ve done to extricate myself from email’s grasp have definitely paid off. Knowing that I can simply forget about email for months at a time, yet still remain in touch with family, friends, and conduct my business is great.
That said, there were a couple hiccups, so I while I know that I can refrain from peaking at my messages for several months, I also know that I’ll need to bang on the pipes every so often to make sure that things are moving along smoothly.
I will continue with a 2 month interval between checking messages, but I will perform a quick status check of Gmail’s filters and settings once a month to make sure things are still working as they should.
- Total messages: 844
- Inbox: 6 (0.7%)
- Bulk: 242 (29%)
- Notifications: 248 (29%)
- Forum: 5 (0.6%)
- Social: 43 (5%)
- Action: 143 (17%)
- To Read: 58 (7%)
- Important: 3 (0.4%)
- Management: 7 (0.8%)
- Incorrect Smart Label: 0
- Unsubscribe: 3
- Update filtering: 0
- Spam: 4
- Time per Message
- Inbox: 00:37 (9.7 messages/minute)
- Bulk: 08:30 (28.5 messages/minute)
- Management (filters, etc.): 00:48 (8.8 messages/minute)
- Action: 01:00 (143 messages/minute)
- Labels: 06:58 (42.5 messages/minute)
- Total: 17:53
- Average: 47.2 messages/minute