A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

Graphing Email Activity over Time

Date: 2016-01-18
Status: release
Tags: visualization email

I use at least 2 email accounts, one for work, one for personal. For each account, I use Gmail Superstars.

At times, I think about how email affects me. Inbox zero is desirable. And attainable. But, how often do I get to inbox zero? Let's find out.

The gmail .gem gives me the ability to count emails in Gmail and to leverage custom search, so I can search for my Superstarred items.

With a cron job, every hour, I emit 4 counts from each of my email accounts to a TimeSeries table. With a key, value, and created_at time, I now have data objects that represent this count, over time. Now, to visualize it.

I've used D3 in the past, but recently, I used Vis.js for a timeline and had good success, so I decided to use it again.

The chart

Email Activity over Time

The story

The chart above depicts my email count (and substates for my email, like items to respond to, or things I am awaiting a response on). The chart shows the day before New Year's, I deleted a bunch of email.

Before going back to work after the New Year, I have time to do my weekly GTD Processing; processing a bunch of emails.

During the work-week, my personal email accumulates.

I'm curious to see what this pattern reveals in more time.