30 Days of Email Domination: Facebook Mercy

By Sol in Blog

Today was the first time email processing took over 20 minutes in a while. Thankfully it was only 30 seconds over 20 minutes, but it’s still over.

Some Perspective

Put into perspective, spending only 20 minutes on email for an entire week doesn’t sound bad at all and it’s far better than when I first started this experiment. Nonetheless, I would really like to spend half as long on email per week.

Silver lining

Mercifully, I did not have to deal with Facebook messages this week. Only one messages from Facebook showed up and it was filtered according to the filter I created last week.

Bottlenecks in Bulk

One of the bottlenecks when processing bulk messages is using a custom search to filter out messages I’ve already processed. Unfortunately, custom searches in Gmail (i.e. those with more than one search operator) display only 20 messages at a time. This means that if you had 200 unread bulk messages, you would have to click the “next” button 20 times just to process all of the messages!

Switching to viewing just the Bulk label in Gmail allowed me to view 100 messages at a time. As you can imagine, this made scanning through the unread messages much faster, but I also had to keep watch for the messages that I had already processed (e.g. messages that had been marked for further processing).

It is unfortunate that Gmail searches with multiple operators can only display 20 messages at a time. Hopefully using a simple search in Gmail to process bulk messages will prove to be faster next week.

Inbox Inequality

Processing messages in the inbox is taking too long. It actually takes longer to process messages in the inbox than it does to process twice the number of bulk messages. Granted, most bulk messages can be tossed without much thought, but there still must be ways to speed up inbox processing.

For starters, I spent 2 minutes and created a filter for notifications such as form submissions (to this site), bug reports, tweets, etc. These types of messages can often be archived immediately because I have already attended to them throughout the week. When these notifications are sprinkled throughout the inbox, they’re like speed bumps that force me to slow down each time I encounter one. Now these notifications are out of the inbox and in a separate bucket that I can scan through quickly before archiving them for good.

Today’s Stats

  • Checked email: 1 time
  • Time:
  • Total messages: 235
    • Inbox: 72
    • Bulk: 164
    • Important: 0
  • Management: 18
    • Incorrect Smart Label: 4
    • Unsubscribe: 7
    • Update filtering: 0
    • Spam: 7
  • Time per Message
    • Inbox: 08:42 (8.3 messages/minute)
    • Bulk: 08:18 (19.8 messages/minute)
    • Management (filters, etc.): 03:31
    • Total: 20:31
    • Average: 11.5 messages/minute