I haven’t checked my email for 5 days. Even so, the only reason I opened the inbox today was because I was taking care of my bills for the week and needed to check for new bills. Otherwise, I would have gladly continued without a visit to Gmail.
A New Perspective
I feel like there has been a bit of turning point in the last few days regarding my mindset towards email. Previously, I simply did not think it was practical to forgo email for an entire week. However, a week would only add 2 more days to the 5 I just spent away from the inbox. A week without email is definitely possible.
I am also finding that I no longer really care about the email alerts that I’ve subscribed to (e.g. sales, coupons, etc.). I do love a good deal, but since flash sales often don’t last more than a day or two, these emails have lost much of their value since the sale is long over by the time I see these messages. As a result, I’ve ended up canceling my subscription to most of these alerts. Less noise is good.
Temptation holding on
While the past 5 days went by without too much of an issue, I fully admit that I still feel some temptation to check my email at times. This is especially true when I’m bored or trying to avoid “real” work. Thankfully, the momentary urges are not even close to strong enough to make me act upon them.
Testing the Priority Account
The single biggest impact has come from setting up a priority email account. Now, the only emails that get my attention throughout the day are the ones that I decide are important. This is a real shift in my relationship with email as it was previously a wholly reactive activity.
The priority account was put to the test this past week when my brother sent me an email about needing to be picked up from the airport in a couple days. His arrival date was not certain but it was quickly approaching, so it was possible that I would have not seen his message in time. Thankfully the filters I set up in Gmail caught his message, forwarded it to my priority account, and notified me (on my phone) the moment it was received.
Slow to respond
Though I received my brother’s message several days ago, I was not able to respond to him until today because I did not yet add my normal email address to my priority account. It was not an issue in this case because a response was not urgent or time-sensitive (merely confirming receipt of his message), but I should add my normal email address to my priority account because using my priority email address is not an option. The value of a private priority account would be nullified if others could send messages directly to that address.
Smartlabels proving their worth
Once again Gmail’s Smartlabels labs feature made it a lot easier to process the messages in my inbox since most of the bulk messages were archived automatically. I’ve also found it pretty simple to process large amounts of bulk emails very quickly when grouped together like this as they can be briefly scanned over for any interesting messages. The majority of the bulk messages can be deleted in one fell swoop, so it usually only takes a couple minutes to process them.
See You in a Week
My new target is no email for an entire week. It’s funny to think that this would have been an outrageous idea only 3 weeks ago, but now I feel it is quite attainable.
- Checked email: 1 time
- Time: 10:43
- Total messages: 104
- Inbox: 32
- Bulk: 72
- Important: 1
- Time per Message
- Total: 23:00
- Average: 4.5 messages/minute