Recently, feeling overwhelmed by the quantity, I felt the need to review my personal e-mail usage and see if I could better organise and plan my communications. I am already quite an organised email user, fully utilising Gmail labels, filters and the priority inbox but I was struggling to stay ahead…..
I found a neat little script called Gmail Meter that if you are a Google Mail user, you can quickly use to send you statistics on your mail.
It is very easy to install, simply use it in Googel Docs (now Drive) and inst all the custom script as explained herecache. (Now much simpler install – instant report). Then wait until your report has run and appears as yet another email in your inbox – I don’t think it counts itself!
I was pleased to see that my hunch, that my inbox was being inundated, was justified and noticed quite a few trends in the use of email which frustrates me. In particular bulk email sending where you are so easily copied into emails that are not for you directly but FYI. I am not sure how to deal with this becasue the fact that you are CC’d doesn’t necessarily mean it is not important for you to see. I think it is more ‘SENDER BEWARE’ that we should all be a little hesitant when sending group emails and copies, are we absolutely sure all copied in need to see it. It does very little for individual engagement!
I was pleased to see that I was not a net-contributor in terms of word count on emails and that my emails were much shorter, on average than the emails that were sent to me. Probably out of necessity but again a lesson in point that if you can say it in less words, well why not! Yes, those of you who know me will be smiling to themselves.
The other graph (not pictured) that I found interesting was the daily and weekly email traffic frequency which showed clear trends on busy incoming and outgoing times of the day and week. I will admit wholeheartedly that my attitude to certain ‘less essential’ emails will depend very much on the day and in particular how busy I am and how much I have got to get through. Timing is very important and determines the difference between read and absorb or just delete forever. Especially us minute managers who swore the oath to deal with each item only once.
I hope that a quick review might help you in your inbox and outbox habits.