In December last year, I made a post about tracking how many emails I sent every day from July 27th 2022-July 27th 2023. This encompasses my entire first year as a professional librarian, and I’m really happy to say that the scarf I was making to embody this data is now finished! Well, I need to weave in the ends (crafters know the dread), but the actual crocheting part is finished.
Looking back on my initial post about the project, it’s funny that I mentioned it being a weekly routine to do my five rows… that responsible way of doing things did not stick. I crocheted from about March-July all in the last two weeks or so. I did keep up with entering my data into an excel sheet during that time, but between some traveling, moving, and life in general, I had to play some catch-up with actually crocheting the scarf.
I was also motivated to finish this project because I’m presenting it at the International Visual Literacy Association’s conference in just a few short weeks! The scarf and its color key will be part of a poster presentation. It’s also a chance to really dig into why I did this – and what changes, if any, it led to in my email behavior more generally.
At first glance on the scarf, the beginning of my year at Salisbury had a lot more emails. I used mail merge twice over the first few months (indicated by bobble stitches as opposed to single crochet), and there are two additional rows of red indicating that I sent over 12 emails that day. There’s also more pink tones in the first semester, which indicates 6+ emails being sent on any given day. After winter break, though, the color clearly shift more towards the purples, which stand for 5 emails or less in a certain day.
There are two long stretches of grey, which indicate when I was off: during winter break at Christmastime and at the end of May, early June. I sent at least one email while I was off both times, which you can see by the row of white in between the grey. White isn’t a common occurrence throughout the scarf – I’d say based off my own feelings that my work-life balance is generally quite good, and this visualized data proves that! I do have to send an email or message occasionally while out of the office, mainly due to the fact that I supervise student workers who are here in the evenings and on weekends.
On workdays, the average amount of emails I sent per day was 3.8. My counts were as follows, where the left is the number of emails sent in a given workday, and the right is the number of days that number occurred. The color it represents is in parentheses.
|Number of emails||Number of days|
|2 (Dark purple)||40|
|3 (Dark purple)||37|
|4 (Medium purple)||32|
|5 (Medium purple)||34|
|6 (Light purple)||11|
|7 (Light purple)||7|
|8 (Light pink)||6|
|9 (Light pink)||7|
|10 (Bright pink)||2|
|11 Bright pink)||3|
This is based on email threads. The data quickly got unwieldly when going by the strict number of emails (not to mention Outlook makes this sort of counting difficult), so I chose to do threads instead. If I replied twice in one day to a thread about finals week, for example, that would only be counted once.
I’m in the process of creating the poster now, and I’m really excited to talk to more folks about it at UIUC on October 6th! I was too excited to have actually finished the data object to wait to post until I was totally finished with the poster. 🙂