Dealing with Email

A couple weeks ago, I was wondering how much email I received and dealt with in a day. So I counted, and here’s what I ended up with – two email accounts, one day:

Gmail account:

  • 75 emails received
  • 13 emails already in my inbox
  • What were they?
    • 7 twitter requests
    • 6 things I needed to know
    • 2 replies to something I had sent the day before
    • 7 things I had to do or respond to
    • the rest was junk I deleted (discussion list things, subscription spam, etc)

During the day, I sent out 14 emails from this account, and ended up with 1 email in my inbox.

Work email account:

  • 55 emails received
  • 12 things already in my inbox
  • What were they?
    • 9 things I needed to know
    • 2 interesting things
    • 12 helpdesk emails
    • 2 discussion list messages
    • the rest was junk I deleted

During the day, I sent out 7 emails from this account, and ended up with Zero Inbox!

Total email received = 130
Emails sent by me = 21
And I think this was a SLOW email day for me!

Of course, email wasn’t the only thing I did all day long. There were meetings. There were projects I’m working on. There was at least one call to a vendor. Etc.

The point is this – I do real work via email. I’m guessing you do too. Decisions get made, projects get additional thoughts. Things I need to see get seen. Questions get answered (or asked). It really IS my In Box.

How about you? Is email an irritation you have to deal with so you can DO your “real work” … or do you see email (and the thoughts behind those emails) as part of your “real work?”

  • Emma Cragg

    Email is definitely part of my real work, as an academic subject librarian I receive most of my enquiries that way. But I do feel I can easily get overwhelmed by it. I’ve read lots of posts suggesting that a good way to deal with email is to assign specific times of day to deal with them but so far haven’t been able to make this work for me – I’m a compulsive email checker.

  • Erin

    I agree, email is a major part of my day – in fact I can’t believe you only sent out 7 work emails. But your day is probably structured differently than mine as a ref librarian at a public library. I live by my email, as dorky as that sounds. I really get a lot accomplished and think email is a great invention. Of course I love the face to face interaction with patrons and staff in our meetings and conversations too :)

  • Erin

    I’m the same way, just keep my email program open all day so that I can respond as needed. Integrate it into my workflow. It seems to work well and I enjoy it! :)

  • Simon Chamberlain

    I’m a corporate librarian, and I do basically all my work from my in-box. Some clients will phone me rather than emailing, but I basically have to email my answer to them, anyway, so even a transaction that begins outside of email will usually end up there.

  • Angie

    So, I was contemplating riffing on this idea for my own blog, and had to ask – how long did it take you to even DO this research? 😉

  • davidleeking

    Ha – it took a day (plus a little the next morning to get the emails that
    came in after I went to sleep). I just kept track of my emails all day –
    pretty simple to do.

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