Email Takes Too Long

Email Takes Too LongAs can be guessed from the numbers in my previous post, email takes too long. I have too much, and it’s a total time suck. I went through all of my email from all accounts for one day, and the grand total…

1 hour, 14 minutes

I will admit; it took less time than I thought, but it’s still too much.

The Numbers

Phase 1 included all the quick deletions. In my primary email account, that took three minutes. My Gmail account (the one I give to anyone and everyone, like newsletters, stores, etc.) took one minute to delete everything from one day. Keep in mind, I delete everything out of Gmail because it forwards to my primary mail. Yes, I’m doing it twice.

I also have some business email accounts and my writer email. The quick deletions in all of those took about three more minutes.

Phase 1 = 7 minutes

Phase 2 was for emails I could address or read quickly. All of these were in my primary email for this particular day. Occasionally I have some in other email accounts, but I figure they would only add a minute or two. I addressed eight emails in this phase.

Phase 2 = 10 minutes

The next phase was the emails I “get around to.” I might read one while waiting at the doctor’s office or, more likely, when I’m avoiding doing something else or, even more likely, won’t be read at all. This is how I get over 600 unread emails. For the purpose of this experiment, I addressed all of these.

In my primary inbox, there were four emails that took thirty minutes. Also in my primary email is a folder where writing blogs go to hide and multiply into an unruly, overwhelming mass of information and guilt. For the day I chose, there were five of these, and they took twenty minutes. I only had one I wanted to read from my writer email, and that took seven minutes.

Phase 3 = 57 minutes

Thanks, Internet

My love of information has turned into an anchor. It’s time to admit I can’t read everything and select those things I find the most useful. The quick deletions didn’t take a lot of time, but I could use those extra few minutes to read something that matters.

More than anything, I have to stop being a digital packrat and a dreamer (such a terrible combination), hoarding emails and thinking I will get around to them. I’m wasting time and overwhelming myself.

I have plenty of ideas how to resolve this problem, which I will enact and then give a final report in my email series. Gripping, I know. This is what happens when I post once a week. I suspect I’m not the only one who has let her email get out of hand though, so hopefully this might help other people in this time-wasting boat of mine. If nothing else, people can point and laugh.

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