Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Term of E-mail

Today is the last class day of Winter Term 2010.

I'm sure I will have a few more work-related e-mails as this week ends and finals week begins. But I was curious how many work-related e-mails I receive and send each term. So far this term: 421 "real" e-mails that I actually dealt with.

(There were far more sent by the college or math department that I could delete without reading or with only a quick glance at the contents.)

If each represents only 3 minutes of reading, thinking, and reply then they would represent 21 hours of my time. Of course, some are quicker and some required much more time.

UPDATE: For the sake of comparison, I teach two classes, each of which meets twice per week for 90 minutes. I also have a half-hour "office hour" before each class. So I am personally with students 8 hours per week, so 80 hours per ten-week term. Phone calls with students happen, but rarely, even though my students have my cell phone number. So the above estimate means that I spend one-fifth of my official work hours doing e-mail (as opposed to my unofficial work, such as preparing my lecture slides).

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