A total eureka moment! Mindfulness applied actually works. In a notebook: -->Time session begins. -->Estimated time for session end --> Session name (I know that sounds wacky, but it helps focus attention) --> # emails downloaded (not counting spam, which is immediately deleted) --> # emails dealt with (in reply to both current and backlog) --> Net # emails dealt with (not counting new emails) --> # new emails (that is, emails sent that are not replies to existing backlog) --> Total number of emails sent (both in "dealt with" and new) --> Time session actually ends --> Note difference + or minus estimated time --> Total time spent this session --> Then, in a box at the bottom of the page, the running balance of emails dealt with (not counting the new emails) End of day, total all sessions in box at bottom of page. + + + + + + So now I clearly see the actual time I am spending on email and the progress I am making in plowing down the backlog. This seriously helps. Above all, this method has kept me from checking email at inopportune moments. When I sit down to look at my email now, by Jove, I sit down and deal with my email. So far this week: +55. Time spent? Don't ask.