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Email Has Taken Over My Life

Written By:
Bart Lorang
@bartlorang

A few months ago, Brad Feld wrote about The Conundrum of Email and provided some stats on his email usage for the month of June while he was in Maker Mode.

Brad provided some interesting, amazing stats using the Gmail Meter that I thought were fascinating.

I send and receive a ton of email, so I quickly installed Gmail Meter to get my monthly stats.  I’m always looking to improve my email usage patterns, and as they say, “You can’t manage it unless you measure it.”

I must say, the results are pretty astonishing scary.

Jim Franklin, CEO of SendGrid, likes to say: “You don’t like sitting in meetings? Then don’t become a CEO.”

In today’s era, I’d modify that statement with: “Don’t deal well with email?  Then don’t become a CEO.”

Here are my stats for September – and unlike Brad’s June month, I was definitely in Manager Mode.

The daily average is 218 conversations, 317 received emails and 115 sent emails (includes weekends).

Assuming at least a 10 hour day or about 70 hours a week, that equates to about 22 conversations, 32 received emails and 11 sent emails an hour.

More fascinating is that I actively sent to over 508 unique people in the month, or 17 new people per day for 30 days straight.

Laughably, this is less than HALF of what Brad did in June (1205 unique people).

Now, let’s take a look at the times of day that I send and receive email:

 

I usually wake up around 6AM and spend the first hour reading email that came in overnight and digesting information for the day.

As the data show, I don’t really start responding until about 7AM in most cases. I usually end up eating lunch around 12:30 or 1PM, at which point my outbound email activity dips (but doesn’t stop completely).

After lunch and into early afternoon, my activity skyrockets and then slowly declines until I leave the office in the evening.

I have about a 35 minute commute. If I’m taking the bus, I send a ton of email. If I’m driving, my email activity goes down significantly (as it should).

When I get home, I respond to a bunch of email, then slowly decrease email activity until about 11:30 PM

So, basically, I’m emailing at a fairly steady clip for about 15 hours a day.  And that’s just my work email and doesn’t include my personal email.

Ack.

My new wife Sarah could probably have provided that number without the help of any statistical output.  Why she agreed to marry me, I’ll never know.

Now, let’s take a look at my breakdown of internal vs. external:

 

 

You’d think that most of my email is communicating with FullContact staff, right?  Wrong. The vast majority (82%) of my sent email is to people outside the company.

As the graph shows, I spend most of my email communication dealing with the outside world:  customers, partners, investors, peers, press and community members.

And that’s the way it should be — I view it as my job to be available to the outside world so the FullContact team can do the magic they do.

But it does make me miss being a programmer, locked on to a hard problem in an IDE all day long.

There’s other cool stats I won’t go into depth on like Word Count (Basically I’m super short – 10 words or less – until I’m not and then I go off the deep end) and Time to Response (75% response in less than 24 hours).

But it’s pretty apparent that email has become my primary (and preferred) communication medium.  It’s also how I spend a huge chunk of my time.

I know that reading about someone else’s email usage patterns is probably about as exciting as watching paint dry, but I thought it’d be interesting to post some stats that other external facing CEOs can benchmark against.

As such, I’d be interested in hearing from other folks that have installed the Gmail Meter to hear about their usage patterns, too.  Comment away!

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