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Too much mail!

I get too much email, but I’ve got to the point where I just accept vast numbers of irrelevant email and delete them on sight. But it’s at the stage where it seems worth putting in the effort to cut this down. Each one is just one more drop in an ocean. However the levies are looking like the may break so from midnight to midnight on the 16th I’ve not deleted any emails, so that I can take some action…

I’m doing a combination of stricter filters, moving some alerts from daily to weekly and unsubscribing from stuff and companies I don’t care about. Number in brackets is approx emails saved per day (inc. weekends)

  • Facebook; I’ve removed myself from all the groups which send me regular updates I just don’t care about. I’m thinking of de-friending the 3 or 4 people who invite me to more than one irrelevant thing a week. (-1)
  • “is now following you on twitter” emails – I have a whole heap of twitter accounts for work related things so these are utterly uninteresting to me, they are being filtered into the bin from today! (-3)
  • Google alerts – 2 for my name which are useful, 2 for the university which are useful, one for “eprints” which has become noise due to the vast number of pages with the word in. Solution; combine the ones for my name into a single search for  “Christopher Gutteridge” OR “Chris Gutteridge”, and do the same for “University of Southampton” OR “Southampton University”, and lose the eprints web search (but keep the low traffic news search for eprints). (-3)
  • Mailman – I admin about 8 lists, and some of the daily messages and “message discarded” messages are just irrelevant, so they’re going in the “trivia” folder (-5)
  • Companies, organisations, techrepublic blogs and online services sent me around 16 messages yesterday. 5 of which I kept, 2 I shifted to weekly emails and I unsubscribed from 9 (which was annoying as I had to get password reminder emails etc. for some sites) (-10)
  • I got 7 Nagios alerts, of which 5 which are not relevant to me. I built our monitoring system, so currently get all mails. But this is getting silly. I’m going to stop myself getting mails for systems I know nothing about. (-5)
  • Cron emails & “Logwatch” emails – these are potentially useful in a crisis, so I’m going to file them in a side folder rather than delete them. (-11)

So that’s an estimated 38 less emails a day! Which about a 25% reduction, saving me maybe 10-15 minutes every day (including saturday & sunday). This doesn’t sound like much but a back-of-the-envelope calculation says it will save me over 50 hours a year, and that’s 50 really really boring hours of hitting “delete”! And about 15,000 keypresses less RSI too!

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3 Responses

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  1. Marcus says

    Why not turn of the Facebook or Twitter emails at the source?

  2. Christopher Gutteridge says

    Twitter; I can’t be bothered to dig up the 6 or 7 passwords from the PHP code which auto-posts to them. One line email filter is easier.

    Facebook; because many friends treat this as the sole method of telling you something, and I tend to miss events if I don’t get an email. I don’t like going to facebook without a goal, too much of my time was wasted on BBS’ as a student.

  3. Marcus says

    Fair enough!

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