How much of your email do you read?

Published Jun 26 2008 07:15 PM 986 Views

In order to classify the different types of email users out there, we often talk about "filers" (people who file their emails away into specially-named folders) and "pilers" (people who just leave everything in the Inbox and rely on searching to find the emails that they need).

I am definitely not a piler because my Inbox seldom has more than seventy messages in it, but, compared to the number of messages that I receive, the number of messages that I file away into a folder is statistically quite small (and, thus, ignorable).

Given that I am not a piler and that I am not filing away that many messages, this must mean that I delete a lot of email. This is true. OWA shows me both how many items are in my Deleted Items folder and how many of those items are unread, so I decided to do a quick calculation to determine how much of the deluge of email I am actually reading:

                it - total items in Deleted Items

                iu - total unread items in Deleted Items

                pr - percentage of items that have been read

                (it - iu) / it * 100 = pr

My Deleted Items folder currently has almost 3000 items spanning about a three week period (I periodically empty this folder for reasons having to do with obsessive tidiness; my office, apartment, and bicycles are submitted as exhibits A, B, and C). About 2000 of these are unread.  The exact percentage given the above equation shows that I read 32.91% of my email.

I'm going to postpone emptying my Deleted Items folder to see where this value trends to.  Are the percentages of email that you are reading significantly different from mine?

- Sami Khoury

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