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The importance of email may have lessened with the rise of free messaging and social networking, but many of us still have to contend with stuffed inboxes on a daily basis. Some people keep their email inbox in check, while others let theirs overflow.

We want to know how you manage your digital affairs The Digital Afterlife – Managing Your Final Affairs The Digital Afterlife – Managing Your Final Affairs As you look towards the final stage of your life, you may realize that there is a certain amount of paperwork must be handled. We've even covered a great deal of this information in one... Read More , and the quickest shortcut to finding out is asking how many emails you currently have sitting in your inbox. We won’t judge you too harshly, as long as you’re honest with us…

Apple Watch Apathy Watch

To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “Will You Be Buying The Apple Watch?

Out of a total of 801 votes, 21.1% chose Yes, I cannot wait for it to be released, 5.4% chose Yes, but smartwatches aren’t the future, 49.7% chose No, I have zero interest in this novelty, 22.4% chose No, but I might buy the Moto 360 instead, and 1% chose What on earth is an Apple Watch?

This is, therefore, a strong win for the Noes, with a collective 72.1 percent of voters declaring they won’t be buying an Apple Watch. The Yeses racked up 26.5 percent of the vote, which may seem disappointing, but, were those results to carry through to the rest of the population, would result in very impressive sales figures for Apple’s latest innovation Apple Reinvents The Watch, Unveils iPhone 6, Offers Free U2 Album, And More... [Tech News Digest] Apple Reinvents The Watch, Unveils iPhone 6, Offers Free U2 Album, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, other technology news not related to Apple. Honest. Read More .

The 1 percent of voters who suggested they don’t even know what the Apple Watch is are either trolling or aren’t as geeky as we were assuming. Still, every vote counts, hence they got their mention.

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Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Dominic C, Marte B, and likefunbutnot. Comment Of The Week goes to James Howde, who wins a T-shirt chosen from those available through the catalog for this comment Will You Be Buying The Apple Watch? [MakeUseOf Poll] Will You Be Buying The Apple Watch? [MakeUseOf Poll] Apple has revealed its first smartwatch, but will you be buying the Apple Watch? Read More :

At one time I did consider buying a calculator watch but decided against it on the grounds that it would make me look like a bit of a tit.

When you consider that a) I’m a lot more mature now and b) the things I *did* do at that time without thinking I looked like a tit (the Cuban heeled boots, that ponytail, the denim cut off with Saxon’s Wheels of Steel eagle badly painted on it) it’s vanishingly unlikely I’m going to go for a smartwatch.

And that’s without considering the incredible amount of money Apple are going to want for it.

We chose this comment because a) it made us laugh, and b) there’s an element of truth to it. Technology ages quickly, and what we think is innovative right now will look dumb to our future selves. Whether the Apple Watch iTime For An iWatch: Funny Reactions To The New Apple Watch [Weird & Wonderful Web] iTime For An iWatch: Funny Reactions To The New Apple Watch [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Apple Watch. It's a watch, a smartwatch, a watch that is smart. Sort of. And it's ripe for mocking. Read More suffers that fate remains to be seen.

Inbox Winner Or Inbox Sinner?

Depending on your job and the kind of friends and family you have, you’ll either get bombarded with email on a daily basis or get the odd one every now and then. Either way, your inbox can soon become overwhelmed with emails requiring action, whether it’s a reply, a forward, or a deletion.

This means it’s important to keep your inbox neat and ordered 7 Email Efficiency Tips To Get More Email Done, Faster 7 Email Efficiency Tips To Get More Email Done, Faster Life revolves around communication and literally nothing gets accomplished without it. Email is a communication tool meant to make your life easier. Instead of having to type up a letter or try to catch someone... Read More . At least that’s the ideal. Unfortunately, most of us fail at sticking to the principles of Inbox Zero 5 Action Steps For Curing Your Inbox Zero Email Frenzy 5 Action Steps For Curing Your Inbox Zero Email Frenzy Inbox Zero is one of the most popular buzz words. To truly solve your email issues you need to go beyond Inbox Zero and address the underlying problems. Read More . Which is why we want to find out from you how many emails you have sitting in your inbox right at this minute. It’s a simple question with a simple set of answers.

Please add your vote to the poll above, and then leave a comment below telling us the exact number of emails you currently have sitting in your inbox. Feel free to also tell us any tips you may have for managing your emails, assuming you’re an inbox winner rather than an inbox sinner. Or share your thoughts on the concept of Inbox Zero.

Remember, there’s an awesome T-shirt in it for the person responsible for the coveted Comment Of The Week.

Image Credit: 10ch via Flickr

  1. Katharine W
    September 29, 2014 at 3:35 am

    I have about 10 emails in my inbox proper. But I also have about 20 folders to sort things into that I want to save for whatever reason. But I don't have any unread messages in my email at all. Even the ones in my inbox are ones I've read but I feel the need to keep immediately at hand for one reason or another (online coupons that are expiring soon that I might actually use, my boss' email about my hours next week, etc.). I don't get that many emails (maybe 10-20 per day?) so I find it relatively easy to keep up with them as I go.

  2. Saikat B
    September 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Zero :)

    I have a new workflow. I will check my email only 5 times in a day. When I check it, I will either DELETE or DO. It has helped me cut down on clutter which destroys focus.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Wow, you are much better at dealing with emails than I am then.

      *Makes note to send random emails to Saikat to mess up his system.

  3. Amrit K
    September 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I have 25 mails at this moment.
    I had a lot of unread mails (around 50,000) because all my social networking websites were linked to it. But then I decided to clean my mail box and removed all my unnecessary mails.
    Now I manage my mails atleast once a week.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      You culled almost 50,000 emails? That's pretty impressive. Have you now unlinked all your social networks to prevent another buildup?

  4. Don Schwartz
    September 22, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    56,401 >> Because I hate round numbers. I also rarely if ever delete, even the junk. Gmail just piles up even though contrary to the organizationlists above, I read my mail all day, as it arrives.

    Hoarding? Maybe, but I can search my mail for anything I need going back to shortly after gmail went into live beta

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      I guess with the amount of space Google and others affords us all now deleting isn't necessary. But I'm sure there are some emails you could delete, especially junk. Do you not hold a secret desire to pare your inbox down to zero?!

  5. Bob Myers
    September 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    The survey's lowest amount of emails seems to be biased towards large amounts.

    I can not remember my in box being over 25 emails, including junque mail. Perhaps it's because I check my email twice a day.

    Maybe nobody loves me. Maybe everybody hates me. Maybe I'll eat some worms. Maybe my email quantity will increase from all the nasty-grams protesting my worm cruelty.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I think you're lucky your inbox has never been overflowing. Believe me, it isn't fun.

      I definitely think you should eat some worms. You only live once, right?

    • R A Myers
      September 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Mr. Parrack,

      I have, and some other yucky looking but not that bad tasting things, when I was stationed in the Philippines and later when I went through survival school before going to Viet Nam. The problem was not looking them in the face. It was trying to figure out which end with the little slot was the face.

      As to unwanted emails, my dump list is more than a bit long.

      Bob Myers

      PS: Boiled may be more sanitary, but fried is less worse tasting.
      BM

  6. tom
    September 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    510

  7. Jerome Masson
    September 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    1... I only have one single email in my mailbox... literally speaking! It's about one thing I'll need to implement soon.
    Otherwise, each email I receive (or send) is instantly dropped in a folder as soon as I dealt with it.
    Everything is tidied up, my inbox has only one inhabitant, and my sent items are within the appropriate folders (as I find it useless to sort incoming emails and stockpile all outcoming emails in one place).

    Doing this kind of sorting, it takes me from 2 to 5 seconds to find any email I received or sent!
    It's feels like a breeze working with such a flawless mailbox.

    And of course my recycle bin is empty... :-)

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Have you got tons of folders and thousands of emails in those folders though? Or do you have regular clean-ups of everything?

    • Jerome Masson
      September 26, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Hi Dave.

      Yes, I have many folders with many emails. But everything is structured as below:

      Inbox
      - _Useful_info
      - IT problems
      - Meetings
      - Projects
      - Country1
      - City1
      - City2
      - Country2
      - City1
      - City2
      - ...
      - z_Misc

      I'm an International IT Project Manager, and that kind of sorting is perfect for me as I can find any info in a couple of seconds.

      Note the underscore and the z letter to get "useful info" and "misc" respectively at the beginning and at the end of the folder tree. ;-)

    • Jerome Masson
      September 26, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Hi Dave.

      Yes, I have many folders with many emails. But everything is structured as below:

      Inbox
      - _Useful_info
      - IT problems
      - Meetings
      - Projects
      - Country1
      - - City1
      -- City2
      - Country2
      -- City1
      -- City2
      - ...
      - z_Misc

      I'm an International IT Project Manager, and that kind of sorting is perfect for me as I can find any info in a couple of seconds.
      Note the underscore and the z letter to get "useful info" and "misc" respectively at the beginning and at the end of the folder tree. ;-)

  8. Amar
    September 22, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I get 200-300 emails a day, half of which are work related. Running 2 departments can be tight. Been trying to get to that day when my Inbox has less than 50 or even zero but the lowest I've got in the past 10 years is around 200. Learned to just live with this as some mail takes time to answer and others you hope to answer clog you up until you give up on them.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      I'll be honest and admit I couldn't cope with that sort of volume, especially with half being related to work and probably needing some sort of reply. I take my hat off to you.

  9. Crissy
    September 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Zero, since I started using Mailbox on iPhone and iPad! I love the save for later and swipe to archive features. I also "roll up" sales and promotion messages into one daily update, and have some elaborate filters set up in Gmail. Mailbox and roll up are more recently added and allowed the empty inbox to happen, and the Gmail filters have been improved over years. If it is important to you, you can figure out a system that works for you.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Now, that is organized. I think you're right, everyone needs to create their own system which works for them. Yours clearly works for you :)

  10. Scoish Velociraptor Maloish
    September 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Less than 50. I setup rules on my Outlook to move certain emails to categories and the sweep feature deleted emails I dont want after 10 days. End of the year, I create a folder with the year and move everything from that year into it.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      What sort of emails do you keep from year to year? Aren't they absolutely irrelevant at this point?

  11. Erwin de Beer
    September 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Well, inbox zero of course. My inbox isn't an archive, that's what I use folders for. Or Evernote, which is an even better archive imho. My inbox also isn't a to-do list. It's just an inbox in which e-mails reside until I have time to process them into to-do items, achived mail, delegated tasks or (most of the time) trash. I process my mail at least once a day but most of the time several times per day.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Have you found your email intake has increased or decreased over the years? I'm interested what kind of impact social networking has had.

    • Erwin de Beer
      September 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      I am sure my email intake has increased since I started to use social media. I do admire the zeroheros @ Atos but really don't understand how they manage without email. On the other hand also my email processing speed has increased dramatically, much more then the intake has increased. So the balance is positive and my inbox stays zero where it never did before I started using social media. That is one of the many things I learned from my social media contacts and conversations.

  12. Scott
    September 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Zero. So, it's easy to manage my email. I get less than 10 emails per week and about 1 spam every fortnight. How do I do it? Simple. I'm a boring person, so nobody likes me.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Oh, man, I feel bad for you now. I'd happily send you an email once in a while. I get plenty of terrible PR pitches I am sure you would enjoy deleting ;)

  13. Gerry
    September 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    I have 6 at this moment but it always ranges between 0 and 15. I use poppeerer to collect all incoming mail from 7 accounts. A lot of incoming mail gets deleted without opening. Most of the rest is read once and delete which is done in poppeeper. For the few I want to save I open thunderbird which gets them from all accounts. I guess I could say that I have more like 50 in my inbox but my thunderbird inbox is just a holding area until I get around to sorting them into folders (About once per week).

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Have you never been tempted to just leave them to build up? I suspect most of us who have thousands of emails only left them for a few weeks and by then it was too late to rescue the situation.

  14. Anton Hill
    September 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Right now, I have almost 40000, as that amount is the sum of 5 different accounts, and emails from 10 years a ago.

    What that amount of emails? Well, I didn't know the "Zero Inbox" principles... But it's never too late to start.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      You're right, it's never too late to start. I imagine you have a good few days of clearing out your old emails before you can begin Inbox Zero though. I don't envy you one iota.

  15. likefunbutnot
    September 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    All of them. All of them ever. At this time, 190,702 messages. Every non-spam, non-proprietary, non-automated. E-mail I've received since 1993 is in my inbox. That includes my entire time as an undergraduate and the employer provided accounts on almost every job I've ever worked.

    How? I either forward them to a central account on a machine that I control or I've imported the messages from accounts where I could not directly do that.

    The only folders I've created in all that time are for each individual account as I've imported it. My main inbox, the central account that I've been using since August of 1995, has nearly 100,000 messages in it.

    I have a very good memory and I send a lot of e-mails, so my inbox is a de facto journal of my life since 1993. If I look back to a specific date and the messages that I received around that date, I usually also have a good recollection of what else I was doing at around the time I sent or read the messages.

    Obviously, I'm doing this on a mail server under my own control. I access my messages with a normal IMAP client and I generally find that the search functions built in to the software I use (Thunderbird or K-9, most often) is sufficient for my needs. I do now use a Gmail account as my public email address for most purposes, simply because Google's spam controls save me from having to fuss so much with local spam filtering.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Holy cow, that is a lot of emails. I have never thought of using email as a journal, but in your case it certainly makes sense. Do you go out of your way to send at least one email every day containing some relevant and timely information? For me, that's the only way reading one back would jog my memory.

    • likefunbutnot
      September 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      @Dave P,
      It's vanishingly rare for me to go an entire day without sending email. Maybe if I'm sick or something.

      I started using my email inbox as a journal while I was in college since my mail spool was one of the few ways I could easily move large amounts of data between computer systems at college. I was an employee at the campus computing center, so that account didn't have an email quota. Since students at the time were limited to something like 2MB of disk usage, I had a whole toolkit for moving things in and out of my inbox while I was working on them, kind of like early tools for using Google Mail for storage. Since I had all these scripts for things like data extraction, compression and project tracking by the time I graduated, it just made sense to continue using them, which put me in the habit of using my mailbox as a sort of life-tracker. A lot of those things fell away, but the underlying habit is definitely second nature now.

      I don't really understand the point of anyone trying to get to an empty inbox. That just seems like a lot of extra work for no particular benefit in my opinion.

  16. Peter F
    September 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I have 7 emails in my inbox as I type.

    Two of these sit right at the top of my primary box, as they relate to a trip I am taking next weekend and I like to see my info there as a reminder as well as a back up for reference (contains booking references, map and directions and other useful info sent by the organiser)

    the other 5 emails all relate to purchases I have made and stay in their respective box until delivery is made. They also remind me to leave reviews once I have deleted them.

    I like a nice tidy EMPTY inbox, but this rarely happens as there is always something popping up.

    I am constantly on line and check my email at least once an hour to keep on top of things and I'm lucky that I never get junk mail or spam.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Wow, that is committed. I can't personally remember the last time I had anything approaching a tidy inbox.

  17. FJL
    September 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I have 10009 at this moment in Thunderbird. I've had the same email address for about 20 years, my first name at my last name dot com. I subscribe to more sites than I have time to read and of course many sites have shared my address over the years. After this comment I will go back and delete a few hundred as I do on Sundays to keep it below 10000. Am I a little crazy... of course. Do I miss anything?... Never ;)

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Of those 10,000, how many do you actually need? Or is it just a case of having the time or energy to go through deleting them all?

    • Trevar S.
      October 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I am Currently 16 In High School And Have 12,356 Emails Sitting In My Inbox. I Had Been Taking Care Of My Mailbox Every Day Keeping It Clean When I First Created It, But Now When I Am Not In School I Don't Have Time To Search Through And Clean It Out.

  18. Paul R
    September 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I think 1-100 is too broad of an answer. I have 10 and within a few days, I'll no longer need 3-4 of them so they'll get deleted. Anything more than 20 and I start to feel cramped. Over 100 is too unusable for me. At that point, if I really do want all of those, I might as well start Archiving, because if I can't see it on a daily basis, there's no point in storing an email on some other page. It would be just as quick to search for it, as drill through page after page of emails in my "inbox."

    Too each their own. Believe me, I know that. My parents and my wife have several thousand in their inbox. Drives me crazy just to think about it. :)

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      When something someone else does drives you crazy you know you have proper OCD ;)

  19. Andrew Kelley
    September 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I say zero... but I guess it depends on what folders you consider as being the "inbox". I use Thuderbird to POP/IMAP my email to my desktop actually from 5 different accounts. By creating folders within my inbox on each account I can run filters to sort out all the "spam" from the email that I need to have placed in the specific folders. When I look through the folders (two or three times a day) If it is important I star it, otherwise I have the settings set to delete all messages more than 1 day old except for starred messages, once I have dealt with them I simply remove the star, all cleanup is done automatically. If a particular email is one to save it is a simple matter to click on archive.

    • Dave P
      September 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      I class anything other than your spam folder as being your inbox. But I guess once they're dealt with and sorted into folders they not technically in your inbox any more.

      Does it delete all your messages whether you have read them or not? If so, what happens if you can't get to your emails on any given day?

    • Andrew Kelley
      September 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      No, no un-read messages are deleted, they have to be marked as read before they can be deleted unless your settings for a particular folder are not set correctly. You do have to take into account that each folder can have its own retention policies set, or they can each default to the account settings... so to have this work correctly one must pay close attention to both the global settings for the account and the settings for each individual folder. Also be on top of the folder settings when new releasaes (thunderbird) are installed... unfortunately sometimes these settings are not carried over.

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