30 Days of Email Domination: Three Weeks

By Sol in Blog

I was not looking forward to checking my email today.

Processing 3 week’s worth of messages in 10 minutes or less seemed highly unlikely. I had 67% more messages to process this time than last time (2 week’s worth of messages) and I only just made it under 10 minutes (09:34) then.

Basically, I had no chance.


Interestingly, though I was processing 3 week’s worth of messages, today’s message processing rate (MPR) in the inbox was pretty close to the inbox MPR when processing 1 or 2 week’s worth of messages. This may indicate that the same type of messages are in the inbox each time, with the rest of the messages being properly routed to the appropriate bucket by filters.

I’ll need to look into whether there are any additional types of messages I can automatically filter out of the inbox to improve the MPR without affecting my efficiency in other buckets.


I am happy to see that the average amount of bulk messages appears to be decreasing each week. Today there were 49 bulk messages, which breaks down to about 16 bulk messages per week, which is an improvement over the previous average of 19.5 bulk messages per week.

Unfortunately, processing bulk messages took a bit longer this week with an MPR of 13.8/minute (compared to the previous MPR of 19.3/minute). There were more bulk messages that I actually wanted to read this week, so this likely contributed to a slower MPR.


Management went pretty quickly, with the fastest MPR since late-January.

While I still wish there were a bulk unsubscribe feature, using the Message Sneak Peek Labs feature in Gmail makes it pretty painless to find the unsubscribe link in messages without having to open each message individually.

Message Sneak Peek in Gmail Labs

Message Sneak Peek in Gmail Labs

Now I just go down the list of messages I want to unsubscribe from, right-clicking each one to pop open a quick preview, and click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message.

Thankfully, most email senders are pretty responsible about providing a quick and easy way to unsubscribe from mailing lists without having to jump through a bunch of hoops like logging in and updating preferences directly (though I did have to do that for a couple messages today).

How this could be improved

Mailing list management services such as Campaign Monitor, AWeber, and MailChimp (my favorite) need to introduce a standard for denoting unsubscribe links in messages (i.e. a microformat) which Gmail could then extract to provide quick and easy bulk unsubscription functionality.

I know that my opinion of a company lowers every time I receive another unwanted email from them (which explains why I have a very low opinion of Facebook), so making it easy to extricate myself from a sender’s mailing list keeps their reputation as high as possible.

For the stone-age senders that still require you to send them an email with “Remove” in the subject line, I just mark their messages as Spam and let Gmail handle it from there.


In the end, I spent 11:49 processing messages today. Close, but not quite under 10 minutes. I’m not beating myself up too much though because it’s not that bad for 3 week’s worth of email. Better still, my average MPR shot up 36% over the average MPR from processing 2 week’s worth of email, which tells me I’m on the right track.


I could stick to checking email every 3 weeks to see if my results are consistent, but I think I’ll move on to checking email once every 4 weeks. 4 is a nice round number and I can see if message processing is further improved by adding an additional week’s worth of messages.

Today’s Stats

  • Time: 09:57
  • Total messages: 273
    • Inbox: 51
    • Bulk: 49
    • Important: 2
    • Action: 42
    • To Read: 54
  • Management: 10
    • Incorrect Smart Label: 0
    • Unsubscribe: 7
    • Update filtering: 1
    • Spam: 2
  • Time per Message
    • Inbox: 05:16 (9.7 messages/minute)
    • Bulk: 03:33 (13.8 messages/minute)
    • Management (filters, etc.): 03:00 (3.3 messages/minute)
    • Total: 11:49
    • Average: 23.1 messages/minute