It’s common in today’s high-tech jobs to spend a lot of time on e-mail, but just how much e-mail are we really dealing with? At MS, we’re make such comments as “I’m swimming in e-mail!”, “I’ve got x00 e-mails to get through”, etc. But incoming e-mail is such a poor way to gauge e-mail activity because we all get different amounts of SPAM and mail we don’t need to engage with every item received. For example, my personal filter cuts out 100% of junk mail, which is over 1,000 junk mails a week, that’s over 90% of my personal incoming mail. Most filters let some junk mail through. At work, about half the mail I receive I don’t need to reply to. So I believe a much more accurate way of knowing if you “do a lot of e-mail” would be by counting your sent mail.
~190 e-mails sent per week
~380 recipients per week
CountSentMail Tool for Outlook
I threw together the little app above to scan my default Sent Item folder in Outlook and write the results of # of mails sent and recipients per day to a CSV file. Then opened the file in Excel and did some calculations. My data set is just over the last two months or so, excluding weekends, holidays, and vacation. The lows are around 25 and the peak was 118 mails sent in one day.
My Excel Calculations
When I was the release manager of our product unit, my daily sent mail average was closer to 70 than the 40 it is today. By counting manually sent mail, you’re more accurately measuring effort, time to process a thought, and the time it takes to respond. My mails are very average, ranging from two sentences to two pages. As a Program Manager, much of my job is processing and sending e-mail, and I’m sure #s vary dramatically from job to job.
If you want to try it out for yourself, you can just run “CountSentMail\CountSentMail\bin\debug\CountSentMail.exe” in the .zip above. You’ll need to accept the “Allow Access” dialog Outlook pops up if you try to touch contact info through the OM. Take a peek at my Excel doc for to tips on calculating. What other stats would be interesting? Then post your #s in a comment. Please include your job function. It would be interesting to see just how bombarded our lives are with “modern conveniences” like e-mail. 🙂