Do you receive too much email?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 by Robert Cravotta

During a recent conversation I heard someone share a “good” thing about emailed newsletters – it is easy to sort the email list and block delete all of them. This got me thinking about how much time I spend managing emails each day, and it got me wondering, does anyone/everyone else receive on the order of 100 emails a day too? Mind you, these are the business relevant emails versus the countless spam emails that several layers of spam filters intercept and dispose of for me.

Email allows me to work with dozens of people asynchronously throughout the week without having to spend time identifying a common time that we can work together. However, I receive way too many newsletters such that I do not have time to open them all. On the other hand, many of them are not worth opening most of the time, but the few times they are worth opening make it worthwhile to receive them. A good subject line goes a long way to signaling whether a particular issue of a newsletter might be worth the time to open and read it. And that identifies one of the problems of receiving a constant stream of information – a majority of it is not relevant to what you need at the moment you receive it.

On the other hand, I do not like block deleting these emails because used correctly, they can provide a sort-of customized and pre-filtered search database for when I need to research something. I think this works because I choose which newsletters to receive, and it is easy (usually) to stop receiving a newsletter. When I do a search on this informal database, I sometimes find a pointer in a newsletter that helps me find the material I am looking for from sources that generally have earned my trust as being reliable.

The downside or cost of having these newsletters to search is that too many show up in my mailbox each week. Automatic email filtering rules that moves newsletters into folders are helpful, but they usually take place as the emails arrive in my mailbox. I prefer to have the newsletters pop up in my inbox so that I can see the subjects in them before they are shunted into a newsletter folder. To date, I have not seen an email tool that will move emails into appropriate folders after they have been in the inbox for a day or week.

Do you receive too much email? Or is your email box not overflowing with information? Are you receiving so many newsletters that aim to consolidate information for you but end up flooding your mailbox with too much information that is not immediately relevant? What strategies do you use to manage the influx of newsletters so that they do not interfere or possibly hide important emails?

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2 Responses to “Do you receive too much email?”

  1. Tom Price says:

    Robert, I am totally in agreement with you. Because I follow so many technologies: cloud computing, wireless, embedded, security, software, hardware, etc, I receive >100 emails/day, not including the incessant spam, of course. I tried the folder route, but that took even more time so I really don’t have a solution. Hope someone else takes a moment to contribute.

  2. Jon Titus says:

    I average from 75 to 90 emails a day. As an editor and writer, that quantity includes many press releases about new products and technology advances. As to newsletters, the senders make money by including advertisements, so they stuff in all sorts of “news” that makes the newsletter a chore to even scan. I will look at a newsletter with three or four key items, but longer newsletters usually go unread and I unsubscribe from as many as possible. Lack of a clear subject line means an email goes into the trash. I cannot count the number of emails that arrive with a subject line such as “Framostan announces QXF add-on for MG-378 PFMx family of TXZs.” Huh? That’s another one for the trash bin.

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