When it comes to email, I’m the worst.
Every time I open it, I feel like I’m slaying a Hydra. For every email I respond to, file, or delete, another two pop up in its place.
Eventually, I am stuck with an inbox in the thousands, full of messages I need to do something with.
I’m just not motivated enough to do anything about it.
But organization isn’t the only problem I have with email, it’s time.
I track the time I spend on my work tasks and found that writing, reading, and responding to email easily takes me an hour or more a day.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have something motivate us to get our email together?
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.
That’s why Alexander Moore and his team at Baydin created The Email Game.
How it Works
The Email Game does a good job of keeping it easy. It works right off the site with Gmail, but you can sign up for their enterprise version to get it to work with Outlook as well.
Once you’ve put in your email it pulls up a screen like this.
Look familiar? It’s one of those “Deal Emails” you probably get a hundred of everyday.
Now I’m forced to make a decision on what I’m going to do with it. Otherwise that clock is going to go down to zero and then I’ll get in trouble or lose.
Anyways, I do need to get an oil change soon, but the last one of these I got was a pain. The shop took 4 hrs to do my oil and I had to do it first thing in the morning on a Saturday. Is it worth the risk trying it again?
Luckily The Email Game makes it easy to see what my choices are.
Right at the top, it gives you all the options you typically use for your email. In this case Gmail.
Reply, Forward, Label, and Skip were all pretty self explanatory, but there were a few new things this game taught me about email management that I didn’t know.
For example, I can boomerang a message so that it leaves my inbox for a set amount of time and then comes back to the top again at the time I set.
Also, I was always afraid to archive before, but the game helped me understand that archiving allows me to get a message out of my inbox without deleting it, so I can still find it when I search.
Once I’ve decided what I want to do with my oil change email, it pulls up the next one.
The more I make a decision and do something with the happier that little guy gets.
But if you get lazy and just skip a bunch of messages…that little dude is going to have a problem with you.
I keep doing actions until I’ve gone through 30 messages.
Then something magical happens.
Okay, that’s not a big deal, but they do give you some useful stats.
You can see how much time you spend per email. That can be scary when you multiply that by the number of emails you get a day.
It also shows you the breakdown of what you did with each of the messages.
Does it Actually Work?
The application itself is fairly simple and straightforward, yet it did help me to take control of my monstrous inbox that I typically procrastinate working on.
Having all the choices of what to do with my email all in one place at the top allows me to manage my email much quicker and the clock doesn’t give me a chance to get distracted and waste time over thinking my email.
They also do a good job of sending you reminder emails when you haven’t been using it, so I now tend to pull this up a few times a week and to get my email sorted out.
I recommend giving it a try.
Let me know what you thought in the comments below.