A Quick Way to Gain At Least a Week in Productivity This Year

Apr 21, 2010

You know those annoying emails you get for the upcoming sale at Target or the new concert coming up at your local venue. Well, it’s time to re-evaluate those. I’ve always simply deleted these and, recently, I finally came to the realization that I’ve probably spent more time sifting through and deleting this type of email than I want to know. I keep a personal email account on yahoo and I’m telling you, about 85% of my emails are this type of marketing or spam. For work, I’m probably talking about 15%. I probably get 50 emails on my personal account per day and about 150 in my work email. So, you’re talking about 65 of these emails per day. That’s about 325 a week and over 16,000 per year!!! If you delete them w/out opening, you’re talking about a second for each one. If you actually open it, then delete it after a quick scan, you’re probably talking 3-10 seconds. And then, if you actually click through the links, there’s no telling how much time you spend. So, let’s roll with an average of 3 seconds per email, for a total of 48,000 seconds per year. This equates to 800 minutes or about 13 hours. A decent amount of time on the surface, but the more compelling case (and probably one you can’t quantify) is the loss of focus on the task at hand if you get derailed by this stuff. I’d venture to say I’ve lost at least a couple weeks worth of productivity per year on these. I imagine most have lost at least a week.

Thankfully, I finally said enough this week and as I process my in boxes, I’m just going through one by one. Every email has an “unsubscribed” link at the bottom of it. It takes no more than 10 seconds to do each one. On some, it’s simply a click. Others, it takes you to a link and you type in your email. All in all, it’s a quick, easy step to get rid of the clutter in your in box. I’ve done at least 50 already in 2 days and I’m thinking I have at least 50 more.

It’s kind of a pain to do, but I think you’ll get a lot of value out of this exercise.


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