Below is a guest post by Matt Inouye, former consultant and founder of GearScan, an aggregator for outdoor gear deals. His story of email consumption is part of our “Power User” series for fans of Gmail Meter.
How many emails do you send in a day? If that’s a burning question you’d love answered, you’re in luck with a free tool called Gmail Meter. The company behind the service, ShuttleCloud, does data migration for cloud services, so it’s a nice way for them to generate interest in their core business and appease data-junkies like myself.
Go here to set it up. After you’re done you’ll receive an email with some great summary stats about your email usage.
On to the data….
There were a couple of things that jumped out from the volume statistics.
First, a lot of emails were sent directly to me (more than 80%). I work very closely with a business partner and I think that shows in how often I receive direct messages. Second, I star very, very few emails. I’ve never really figured out how to use starring in my workflow, but that might be worth another look. Finally, I sent emails to 166 different people. I assume a lot of those were outbound sales messages, but I’d have to dig in more to figure out who those unique recipients were.
Daily traffic actually paints a pretty clear picture of my work day. I am not a morning person and you can easily tell that by my pathetic email volume in the morning. You can also see when I usually break for dinner by the dip in sent messages. It’s really surprising how email volumes allow you to map out your daily schedule.
Weekly traffic shows that fortunately, I’m able to unplug to some degree on the weekends. Saturdays are low volume days, but Sundays do show an uptick in sent emails as I get ready for the upcoming week.
Email categories is an interesting chart because it really shows the futility of trying to be a dedicated “labeler”. For better or worse, most of my email ends up in the black hole that is the archive (although Gmail’s powerful search is generally sufficient here).
It looks like my response times are generally between 4 hours to a day. I'd be interested to compare this with other people.
Overall, I was pretty surprised by my email output. For some reason I feel like I send a lot more email than I actually do so it’s interesting to get hard data on my email usage.
I also found that it motivated me to set goals around how I work: trying to unplug more on weekends, and getting off to an earlier start in the morning. I’m looking forward to checking back in a couple months to see how much I’ve improved.