Sometimes, the only way to improve your productivity is to analyze the hard data.
That's why, when I heard about an Inbox Checkup tool that analyzes my sent messages, response time, and other factors in Gmail, I had to give it a whirl.
Guess what? I ranked pretty high. Out of 6,089 users all over the globe, I'm sitting at number 77. You can try it yourself. (If you do, post your ranking on Twitter with #inboxcheckup OK? Or drop me an email.) It's a fun way to see how you're doing with email management, but there's something really useful about this kind of data analytics as well as a way to measure your success doing our daily tasks.
For example, I discovered that my response time to emails is not that great. Inbox Checkup found that I usually take about two hours to respond, which is likely due to how I manage my inbox. I tend to hold messages for awhile and label them for later perusal. (I've mentioned this curious anecdote before, but I met the current CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, in person at Google HQ many years ago when he was a product manager and he told me in person about the new Gamil labels feature; I've used them ever since.) I have 103 labels right now, placing me at 55 out of 6098.
I've also sent 5,096 emails, which puts me in the top 100. High five! As with any data analytics, you have to parse out the reasons. I will often go on frantic email sending binges (sorry about that) looking for leads and hunting down cool products. Yet, I have a 12% response rate to my sent messages, which is not that great. (I'm ranked around 1,500.) This is only in the last 100 days. It means, if I craft better messages or use more of my own tricks, I might get more replies.
Another interesting stat has to do with email threads. It turns out I tend to have mini discussions quite frequently, using email as an instant messenger. Most of my emails involved about seven replies back and forth, putting me at 301 on the ranking. I'm also doing a really good job of interacting with my contacts. I ranked at number 27 on the list, interacting with well over 4,000 of my contacts.
I'm on the record as stating that email is slowly going out of vogue, and it definitely is. It's the tool we use now, but it's being replaced by more efficient apps like Slack and Facebook chatbots. There will come a time when an email address is not as important. Truth by told, people in places like China barely even use email.
Yet, this data is helpful. Email is a necessary evil for me, a management chore that is a major part of business communication for most of us. And, there's a move to help us use it more effectively. Recently, Microsoft showed off a similar tool to the Inbox Checkup called Delve Analytics that can analyze your email and help you see how much time you are spending processing it, even if that's a bit depressing.
Now we just need a bot to fill in for us and handle all of the mundane management.