Email Efficiency

For awhile I have known that I am efficient when it comes to email. I use Gmail, it offers methods to help with email management. Using filters to automatically label with a category, archive (remove from the inbox view), and mark emails as read, are all actions that can be performed based upon a condition.

For instance, if the email is from dailystoic.com, I can do this: Skip Inbox, Apply label “Daily Stoic”. Skipping the inbox archives the email, but doesn’t mark it as read. The “Daily Stoic” label helps when identifying it later on.

Gmail automatically removes email after 30 days. Anything older than 1 month gets deleted — permanently. This makes it relatively easy to see how much mail I actually looked at in a months versus how much mail I received but never saw (because it was automatically archived or trashed).

Category Count Notes Formula
Read 253 Receipts, interesting newsletters I like to read, infrequent offers from certain companies is:read after:2018/12/25
Unread 55 Newsletters I don’t care to peruse daily, but like to have in my inbox for occasional reading (such as the Daily Stoic and Doctor of Credit) is:unread after:2018/12/25
Trashed 701 Time-sensitive offers with expiring coupons that I don’t care to keep long term in:trash after:2018/12/25
Spam 53 Automatically filtered by Gmail. Hooray! way down – spammers are leaving me alone in:spam after:2018/12/25

It appears that every third email, I actually had to put my eyes on it and decide whether to A) file it or B) delete it (or send it to spam, though this rarely happens). (253/(55+701))

Yes, it would be nicer to only have to look at every fourth or fifth email. Looking through the ones I read, however, perhaps that’s just not possible. Many of them are purchase receipts, credit card bill notifications (even if the payment will be automated), Lyft tip and rating requests, USPS Informed Delivery mail-piece notifications, booking confirmations, and on and on. Mostly I’ve been able to switch off unimportant or noisy notification services, and that’s helped out a lot on keeping daily mail volumes low.

Speaking of which, on average I read less than 9 new emails per day (253/30). That seems really great! Then, about 25 emails come in daily that are either swept away into the trash or sent off to the archive ((701+55)/30). This means that — due to 357 filters assigning email one of 320 different labels and taking the appropriate action — 26,342 messages have been identified and stored, two-thirds of the time automatically!

What urged this onslaught of questionable subject matter analysis? My car has been chiming every day, it’s time to change the oil. Between all the Groupon and LivingSocial crap that winds up in my trash email folder, I can usually find a $20 deal. This time I wasn’t so fortunate and didn’t find anything. Thankfully, though, coupons such as these are still sent to my mailbox, and just the other day I spotted a $19.99 oil service voucher for a familiar shop. I’ve been there before and they must have known it was time!

Useful links:

  • https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7190?hl=en
  • https://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html
  • https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-get-certain-email-statistics-in-gmail-1171980

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