30 Days of Email Domination: Under 5

By Sol in Blog

Under 5 minutes! This is quite unexpected.

My goal is to spend less than 10 minutes on email per week. Now it’s at the point where it’s possible to process all message in less than 5 minutes?! That’s awesome!

There’s no “fuzzy math” this week either, everything— inbox, bulk, and management tasks required less than 5 minutes.

Rate Limiter

Interestingly, though total message processing time has dropped to an all-time low, message processing speed has gotten worse in some areas. For example, today’s bulk message processing rate of 11.5 messages/minute is a far cry from the blazing 41.3 messages/minute rate logged just a few weeks ago.

This decline in speed coincides with a drop in the volume of messages, which most likely indicates that there is a minimum amount of time required to perform certain tasks. When I was receiving 100+ bulk messages, I could simply select them all and delete them. Today, when I only received 17 bulk messages, I needed to do the same thing. In other words, pressing two buttons takes the same amount of time whether I’m deleting 100 messages or 10. Obviously, the message processing rate will decrease as I have fewer messages to process.

Happiness in Bulk

After my mailing list unsubscription marathons of the past few weeks, I questioned whether I would ever be happy with the amount of bulk messages I received. I thought I would be happy when I received only 33 bulk messages the week following the first great mailing list purge, but I wasn’t– I had already set my sights on single-digit amounts of bulk messages, so 33 bulk messages was still a long way from my goal.

For the next few weeks, I ruthlessly slayed mailing list subscriptions, but I continued to receive 25-30 bulk messages each week. I wanted to receive 9 bulk messages (or less), but I was seriously wondering whether I would ever even get less than 20.

This week, single-digit numbers continued to elude my grasp, but I did receive less than 20 bulk messages. The difference this week is that I was not bothered by the 17 bulk messages I received. Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t find more than a couple messages that I wanted to unsubscribe from. The remaining messages were ones that I wanted to keep receiving (coupons, etc.). I should create auto-delete filters for these messages so that I don’t have to sift through outdated coupons in the future (deleted messages are automatically purged every 30 days in Gmail), but I think I’ll wait until the next time I receive such a to see how much it bothers me then.

The bottom line is that dealing with 17 bulk messages per week is not a big deal; I can do that in my sleep. The thing that rubs me the wrong way is why should I have to? This is why I believe I will keep on slicing and dicing mailing list subscriptions until I reach single-digit numbers.

Once I bulk message counts are in the single-digits though, another pain point will likely become the focus until I can whittle that down to nothing as well. And so it continues.

Today’s Stats

  • Checked email: 1 time
  • Time: 09:39
  • Total messages: 77
    • Inbox: 10
    • Bulk: 17
    • Important: 0
    • Action: 15
    • To Read: 14
  • Management: 5
    • Incorrect Smart Label: 1
    • Unsubscribe: 0
    • Update filtering: 2
    • Spam: 2
  • Time per Message
    • Inbox: 01:09 (8.7 messages/minute)
    • Bulk: 01:29 (11.5 messages/minute)
    • Management (filters, etc.): 02:20
    • Total: 04:58
    • Average: 15.5 messages/minute