There have been quite a few posts recently with dramatic tales of breaking the email habit and trying to drop/cut back on email. No doubt email has been something that we struggle (and usually fail) to control. So we are left with dramatic measures, like "no email" or support cheats - like getting other people to do it for us.
Perhaps these mostly behavioral based solutions feel good (they make us feel as if we taking back control) but are they really the we can do at solving the problem of out of control email? Or are we just shifting the problem into text messages & calls or onto other people?
I'm working with a team now on re-architecting email to give us control over our email. We've started on a related but simpler problem - when I give a website my email I give them control. You can check it out at https://leemail.me
Soon we will be expanding this control to all email communications. If this sounds interesting, get in touch.
I think that the main fundamental issue is that email makes it too easy to copy lots of people on a message, so you get lots of cross chatter (happens in companies in email and overly inclusive meetings). The other fundamental issue for some people is that a lot more people want to talk to them than they want to reach out to, so they get swamped (similar to the EB White letter about how many letters he and other authors receive, making it hard to actually write new things). I'm not sure these can be solved well with technology.
One way to trial this might be on dev servers that run automated tests. I wonder if a dynamically scaling test server could run our continuous integration tests more rapidly without significantly increasing server costs.