I subscribe to the “Inbox Zero” philosophy and treat my email inbox as a todo list that I slowly work through. As part of the desire to get more and more quantitative I wrote a quick script to pull the number of emails from my Inbox and then insert the data as a row into a new table in my personal stats database. As usual, most of the work was in deciding to do it and once I got to coding the hacky solution was done within 20 minutes. The script uses Python’s built-in imaplib library to log in to an email provider and then a simple MySQL query to insert the resulting data. I hooked this up to run every 15 minutes via cron and put together a Grafana dashboard to plot the count over time. I’m currently not actually going through the content of the email messages themselves but there are tons of directions I can take this - for example slicing the data by sender or examining the age of the messages. For now I’m just hopeful this motivates me to keep going through that email.