It took some effort, but I have finally achieved over 35,000 Unread Work Emails. (and 100,000 Personal Ones)

Originally published at: It took some effort, but I have finally achieved over 35,000 Unread Work Emails. (and 100,000 Personal Ones) | Boing Boing


That makes me wonder who’s answering all those emails now that I’m retired. Oh well, too bad…


Just let them wash over you like a wave. Every week or two I look through the recent emails and deal with any important ones missed then use the “mark all as read” button. I don’t know if it matters to me that they’re marked as read but it seems to soothe my friends that previously noticed the red “3,459” notification on my email app.





Psh. Amateur.

I have over 200k unread work emails.

50k unread personal emails.

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"It took some effort. . . "

Ha. Nice one.


Oh, it’s nice to know who is in charge of Google’s helpdesk.


With my work’s policy of automatic deletion after a month, I still manage to have over 4500 unread right now.

Considering I’ve been here for many years, I could easily blow this number of out of the water. I miss when I used to use Xobni and could tell people who decided to CC me on everything that they were an anchor on my inbox

Not only do I have no unread emails, I have all open tabs every night, and don’t re-open them! :smiley:

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Screenshot of my ex-gf’s phone. And yes, this is not a fluke, and she had deleted about 50k before she sent me this screenshot!


Whatevs! Honestly, I’m not proud of this. But you know, for personal, it’s served me.


What I find odd is that people don’t seem to realize they can just “mark all as read” in most clients. I guess if you don’t use the unread count as a to do list, it’s irrelevant, but it does seem to cause people anxiety nonetheless.

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Ah, a fellow left-hand dock guy. It always throws me when I’m using someone else’s computer and I keep moving the cursor to the left with no result. Also, when people don’t have touch-click enabled for their trackpad it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

Edited for weird, vaguely sexual auto correct typo.

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Well, put me fully in the “maddening” category. Honestly, just spending a breath to go “act, archive, or trash” on email is enough. Auto-tagging ensures that I’ll find it again, and I honestly rarely need to ever go into the archives.

I can’t personally use touch-click – which I believe by which you mean, you don’t need to “press” to register a click, just a lighter touch, right? It may be just how I’ve self-learned to type/“mouse” since childhood, but I can’t touch-click without it registering false clicks left and right.

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Not really important for me. The folders which are filled with the bulk of my unread mail function as a search engine. I signed up for a bunch of email lists inside my company to find out what all is going on with X topic, which if I need to learn more about something I’ll find the email chain about it. I get a few hundred of these a day.

For certain recipients, the number of unread messages needs to always be 0. They get their own folders. This is on the order of maybe 2-3 dozen emails a day tops.

Outlook does a great job (most days) of ensuring that the emails I actually need to worry about end up in the ‘Focused’ view. So much so that at the end of the day, I go through everything from yesterday evening until EOD, and if there’s nothing I missed earlier then I feel confident I am all caught up.

So, except for critical recipients, I don’t stress about unread mails. I used to be more anal retentive about it, but now I’m too busy for that.

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Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 8.17.05 PM

At some point above 10,000 it all just went numb.


Back in 1998, I went out on an extended sick leave for two surgeries and came back a few months later and saw my email account had well over 3,500, certainly not 35k, in the in box. I called my pro in IT and told him I could care less about going through all of them. He chuckled and he walked me through an “auto delete” of every single one of them. It took hours to clear it all out. Though technically not “legal” as some of them were of a security nature but, what the hell. I posted a short message to “all” and mentioned I was back and would like everyone to repost anything absolutely imperative for me for “action required” … I think I received probably 35 or 40. Auto delete. Use it early, use it often. Why load up a mainframe with all the unimportant workplace spamola anyway?

For anybody that has thousands of unread emails I just don’t know how they can be productive.

I found that I can’t deal with the stress or disorganization of a ton of unread emails. I will miss things, have a hard time finding things later, or otherwise get randomized triaging stuff that isn’t important because it’s all in one giant pile.

Here’s how I have solved the issue:

  • Lots and lots of filters. If something goes into my inbox, it generally should be there.
  • Hierarchy of non-inbox folders from more important (team mails) down to least important (build mails) so I can concentrate on what important.
  • Aggressive auto-deletion policies on most folders
    • Most folders have 2 week purge times. If I can’t get to it by then, oh well.
    • Folders with a higher importance have longer retention (up to 2 years)
    • I also have a folder for storing those rare emails I never want purged.
  • Catch-all folder for things that squeak past my filters to know what needs to be tuned

If I didn’t do this I’d end up with over a thousand emails in my inbox a day, which is simply unmanageable. If I go on vacation for a week or something I can just purge out the unimportant folders knowing I’m not missing anything while having confidence that I’m not dropping the ball on anything that matters.

If I’m away from my email for a couple hours because I’m busy with other things I don’t have a whole bunch of crap to sift through. I just look through my couple of high importance folders and make I’m not missing anything that needs my attention and then move on. I’ll eventually get around to my “low priority” folders but is generally a matter of “skim titles and then mark all as read”.

This system works well for me. YMMV.

I was listening to something on NPR in the last few days about the vast amount of actual electric power the world is using by things like social media and certainly e-mail programs world wide. Huge server farms, billions of kWh all contributing to global warming. I thought it was a silly and bogus piece on the radio, but now I really question it … could it really be such a huge contributor? Are we really helping destroy the planet with all this pure nonsense ?