My inbox is often more of a conversation that I fade in and out of. Sometimes it resembles a facebook feed. Granted, I'm not a type A personality, but not all email is has to be "done" anymore than all reading books need to be "done". They can be continuous reference or contemplation for a time.
I guess it depends on if we are talking about work email or personal email. Perhaps even more, it's just about perception.
Empirically, the way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things. Want to dominate microcomputer software? Start by writing a Basic interpreter for a machine with a few thousand users. Want to make the universal web site? Start by building a site for Harvard undergrads to stalk one another.
I think the way to use these big ideas is not to try to identify a precise point in the future and then ask yourself how to get from here to there, like the popular image of a visionary. You'll be better off if you operate like Columbus and just head in a general westerly direction. Don't try to construct the future like a building, because your current blueprint is almost certainly mistaken. Start with something you know works, and when you expand, expand westward.
The popular image of the visionary is someone with a clear view of the future, but empirically it may be better to have a blurry one.
Paul Graham, on Frighteningly Ambitious Start-up Ideas.
Isn't that funny that even the metaphor we use for such kind of stuff is some yahoo that got the radius of Earth wrong and survived just by accident?
Full-disclosure: I work at a company building an open source email client (https://nylas.com/N1) and an API to simplify email (https://nylas.com/docs)
Little question: do you plan to support PGP?
Microsoft didn't just turn into the biggest BASIC software company.
The point is that the outcome can often be unrecognizable from the origin, and not to worry to much about the endpoint, but focus on doing one thing well at the start.
At one job, it was like writing letters to fellow warriors across continents. You'd try to be thoughtful, taking a day or more to write really concrete and informational pieces. At another job it was basically the office instant messenger, replies were expected within 10 minutes of almost all email. Having direct reports changes a lot of how you're communicated with as well.
Right now I've been using notmuch+org-mode (to do list management that can link to emails, files, websites, etc), and so now I file tasks called "Read X" if it doesn't need immediate response, or archive/mark as read if I don't need to read it. Things that take less than a few minutes I do right away.
Once you take things as merely inputs to your personal management system, you no longer have to worry about how an app pushes it's workflow on you, you have an external one. This is why text files/physical papers are amazing - it's the lack of an interface that lets you organize things in whatever fashion makes sense.
It's nice as one more way of figuring out what to prioritise.
I work at Nylas and would love to incorporate some of this into N1, which is an open source mail app we built that also uses Electron. (https://nylas.com/n1).
If the author's hanging out in this thread, feel free to email me :) We could also make it work for non-Gmail using our open source IMAP stack!
Reason I ask is because I see this "let's fix email" so often, peeps build something new then it either gets acquired & killed or goes no where.
What if email isn't broken. Instead email as we think we see it is merely a feed with or without action and its up to us to manage it.
PlainEmail appears like an attempt of changing our habits of reading a feed with GTD concepts. I'd much rather prefer to see my feed and an algo/machine learning identify action emails and suggest to me the best method (GTD or not) to handle it. Otherwise I'd carry on with my usual habits.
I tend to agree. The problem is that we choose to spend our time in a suboptimal manner. The email inbox is just a tool that makes it easier to waste our time. It's not like getting rid of the email inbox will keep others from sending us stuff we don't want or keep our bosses from asking us to do crazy things. If you want to fix email, recognize that you can't respond to everything, and hit the delete button more often.
People tend to over-rely on email, and on communication in general...
If people stopped work at a sane hour and limited messaging to times when it is actually necessary...
I'd even go as far as removing the mouse and only doing keyboard shortcuts. Do not include attachments or images. I love it's full screen.
This will not be for everyone, and that is really OK, this is for people that must respond to a lot of emails very quickly, even if they are not on e-mail all day. I just spent 2 days going through actionable 475 unread e-mails (not newsletters, or spam)
I've always thought, software developers have vim, but there's nothing for business developers.
Thank you very much for creating this. If you will charge, I will gladly pay.
Take my money!
Either stick to the 4 D's of GTD: Delete, Do, Delegate, Defer; or use the commonplace terms: Archive, Reply, Forward, Snooze. When you do this, do you start to realize how similar it looks to existing email clients?
By the way you say there is no Snooze button- then what is Defer?
And one-touch, not "single-touch."
Snoozing works ok, but strict GTD tries to build a discipline of not having items re-appear in the inbox. If it's moved to a list of things to handle, then it can be ignored or placed at a lower priority on that list.
On a serious note I was confused too. I guess it's the swiping left/right to read/answer that resembles Tinder
My confused impression when I read the title was "A sex hook-up app that uses e-mail?"
edit: minor spelling corrections.
I still do GTD-style triage, but I'm more willing to let stuff sit in queues. Inevitably I get sick of looking at it and do something about it, moving it into a backlog or working out a way to just do it right now.
But my life isn't one where more productivity would really net me all that many life improvements. Generally, if I can visualize a pathway to a real life improvement, motivation to get it done is not an issue.
My life generally consists of trying to solve really hard, complicated situations using mostly intuition. Staring at something sitting in a queue is often all I need to get that intuition going. "Why do I want this? How does this connect to other parts of my life?"
Software just complicates task lists.
The inherent issue is volume - which isn't per-se the fault of the medium. Filtering and categorization has been the primary answer there - and those things (including this post) have helped evolve those issues.
It only supports GMail, but still works as far as I know. Back then it was the only app I knew that had that concept, but by now there is Triage, plus most modern mail clients have the "swipe" actions for quickly getting through emails.
The answer to "my inbox is crazy" is to work through your inbox - if there's too much for you to work through then you need to do less. That's it.
I refuse to believe that we've exhausted the list of designs we can try to continue to improve email. And considering how pervasive email is, even marginal improvements can have profound effects.
And I hate to sound like a wet blanket on a new tool/thing. Just an honest reaction to yet another email aid app. I'm sure there will be people who use this and find it useful.
I'm just trying to make the point that at some point all the lifehacks/efficiency-improvements in the world will not fix the problem of being over-burdened.
Being over-burdened is a personal / social problem, and the only solution is not taking on / expecting more than is realistic... easier said than done!
Efficient use of time is it's own goal, and is orthogonal to the overall load.
Like as in you started your head toward the screen but stopped? Or perhaps it occurred to you that headbutting the screen would be desirable but you refrained from doing so out of regard for your health and the health of your equipment. Or are you simply using "headbutting your screen" as an analogy for how you felt, which would be sort of ironic.
verb (used without object), deferred, deferring.
to yield respectfully in judgment or opinion (usually followed by to):
We all defer to him in these matters.
Or maybe have up to X "snooze slots" so that you cant snooze everything and you snooze things that truly dont deserve to be deleted. And you would have to empty a slot by dealing with a snoozed message to be able to snooze a new one.
Why did you use "respond" instead of "reply"? It's just as descriptive, and is the canonical term. It takes mental overhead to parse new terminology.
And I see the business angle in "delegate", but forwarding isn't always for purposes of delegation.
Dismiss Sleep Forward Reply
Looks cool though
There is an unspoken importance in an inbox glance, in seeing a list of "undone" email and getting a gist of things. There is a similar feeling in flipping pages of an entire book.
Imagine being in a room where you only see one object at a time, you can either use it or defer it for a later time. Simple? Yes. Will I hope to stumble upon a gun to put in my mouth? Indeed.
There is a magic in looking at the world and deciding on what to do. It's much faster, efficient, and satisfying.
Delete (done, or archive)
I do not like that is only runs in fullscreen, but I think I get why you're doing it.
I current use Google Inbox and set my default "done" action to delete. You should support the notion of "done forever".
I maybe keep 10% of the email I receive. Having a heavy hand with deletion forces me to think about the value of the communication and to capture the important actions and details in my todo system.
Does the DONE button delete or archive your email?
Also, I'm not hooking up with people via e-mail, so perhaps drop the Tinder comparison.
Same idea. Quickly clean out your inbox, with a Tinder-like UI. It works well.
IMHO the REAL solution to less email is smarter communications and personal empowerment: keep your meetings short and laser-focused, keep conversations focused and purposeful, make sure everyone is in sync before beginning, and don't hire/work with stupids. I shouldn't have to email Bob just to ask him to request deliverable X -- I should be empowered (and intelligent) enough to get X on my own, and if I don't know how then I should use my powers of observation and inference to figure that out.
People over-rely on email, and on communication in general.
Defer sounds a little strange, other than that absolutely something I will try out..
Numbers from http://www.webpagetest.org
This landing page and design could have been generated by software that intentionally crafted status quo product examples, and I would not be able to tell it apart from something legitimately created.
This is a product of the times, not a product pushing the our times forward. It really is like the output of a Markov chain product generator.