30 Days of Email Domination: A Week Without Email

By Sol in Blog

It has been just over 30 days since I began my quest for email domination and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results!

Change Your Mind

The past month has been full of changes for the better. From the dynamic duo of priority email accounts and forwarding filters, to smart labels that automatically silence the noise in the inbox, each new discovery has completely redefined my attitude toward email.

For example, I now know that you can decide when email gets your attention.

The Impossible is Within Reach

A month ago, the idea of foregoing email for an entire week was not even a consideration due to issues of practicality. A day away from the inbox seemed far more attainable, though even that was a stretch. Today, I checked my email for the first time in 7 days. It feels great and it was actually easier than any previous length of time away from email in the past. Checking email once per week is definitely possible.

Today’s Stats

  • Checked email: 1 time
  • Time: 10:36
  • Total messages: 180
    • Inbox: 69
    • Bulk: 111
    • Important: Yes
  • Time per Message
    • Total: 50:39
    • Average: 3.6 messages/minute


Processing the messages took longer than desired. While it’s not the slowest I’ve recorded, I did spend more time on each message than the last time I checked my email (after 5 days). In any case, I do not like the idea of spending close to an hour on email, even if it’s only once a week. Just like pizza, email processing should be finished in 30 minutes or less.

However, some of the time in Gmail was used for management purposes:

  • Unsubscribing from several emails that I no longer want to receive (mostly regarding promotions/sales)
  • Creating filters to block emails that cannot easily be unsubscribed from (I’m looking at you, Facebook)
  • Refining Gmail’s Smartlabel email algorithm (e.g. messages erroneously marked as “bulk”).

While this did add some time to my (now weekly) visit with the inbox, I see it as more of an investment. By unsubscribing from unwanted email lists and creating filters to further reduce undesirable messages, I should receive less messages in the future, ultimately resulting in less total time spent on email.

Mission Accomplished (?)

Last month, I set out to completely and utterly dominate email and I feel that I have accomplished this. Even better, I’ve learned to better identify reactive tasks (e.g. checking email) and to focus more of my time and energy on active tasks (e.g. creating new things). However, it’s also very clear that there is still a lot more room for improvement. Therefore, while email domination has been attained, I see no reason to stop now. I will continue to track my email usage and seek out new ways to optimize my time in and out of the inbox.

This is only the beginning.