Mailbox was born from the observation that people use email as a (terrible) to-do list. They mark the messages they need to return to and let the rest pile up.
We think there’s a better way.
Research shows that the best productivity systems simplify decision-making and use to do lists to focus on specific tasks at specific times. Mailbox was designed with this in mind to bring the best productivity practices to email.
For this reason, Mailbox works best when you reserve your inbox for the things that need your attention now and snooze, archive or delete the rest. If you haven’t already, try using the “Help me get to zero” button to archive your non-critical messages, leaving you with new messages and some older ones you flagged as important. Then imagine each of these is a task.
Like any task management tool, it’s important to decide the best time to tackle a specific task. Enter the snooze feature.
Let’s say you have a flight confirmation email for a trip next month. That trip is a “task” you don’t need to think about for a while. Snooze that message until the day before the flight so that you remember to check-in online. Mailbox will hold the email in your “Later” folder and bring it back to the top of your inbox at the time you specify. Having a focused time and place to address your tasks will help you become a productivity ninja.
Equally important to timing is prioritization. People are constantly prioritizing their important tasks, so Mailbox lets you to reorder emails to put your most important “tasks” at the top of your “list” (a.k.a. inbox).
In addition to the “Help me get to zero” button (see previous blog post), these simple tools can help you fly through your email so that you can spend more time on the things that matter to you now. Give it a whirl, and let us know what you think.
You read that right. Mailbox can help you feel more calm and less anxious. More organized and less scattered.
When you see an email that you can’t deal with now and you skip it or star it for later, your brain logs that as an incomplete thought. That pesky email staring you down from your inbox will impede your future thoughts and keep you from feeling like you’re finished. The result: anxiety. There’s actually a scientific term for this — the Zeigarnik Effect.
Mailbox is designed to help you shed that anxiety by focusing on the messages that need your attention now. Everything else can be archived or snoozed to the time you want to handle it — freeing your inbox and your mind of the messages that can wait.
Mailbox also makes it simple to clear out your inbox with the Help Me Get To Zero button at the top of your screen. When you have 50 or more messages in your inbox this button will appear. If you don’t see it, just pull down.
The Help Me Get to Zero button offers three options: (1) archive all, (2) archive all except starred emails, and (3) archive all all except unread emails. Archived emails are accessible via search, and you can always find them on Gmail on the web in your All Mail folder.
Once you’ve cleared out old emails, just swipe to archive or snooze messages as they come.
If you’ve never had a clean inbox, we suggest you give it a try. You won’t believe how good it feels.