Mail overload data point

I get a lot of email. You probably get a lot of email too; most everybody I know thinks they get too much email – but “a lot” means different things to different people, so trying to actually quantify things, get some numbers, is interesting. (Well, it’s more interesting than dealing with most of my email…)

I archive all the “important” mail I get, for a very broad definition of “important” – so, no spam, no completely automated stuff unless it reports some sort of interesting error, but if a person sent something out and I got it, I keep it. My archiving scheme is per-month; I used to do a much more elaborate folder-based thing but around the beginning of the year I converted everything over to the “put it in a big pile and let search figure it out” method popularized by Gmail. Another advantage of this method is that it’s easy to get a feeling for how much mail you get – just check the message counts in your archives.

Here are my “work” and “home” counts for year-to-date (May is as of the time of writing, so about half the month, approximately.)


If you average out the first four months of the year (and assume a standard 30-day month), I get about 100 mails/day at home and about 240 mails/day at work, or around 350/day total. And that’s not total email, that’s just the fraction of the stream that I need to actually read and decide to reply to or act on.

How much mail do you get?