New software applications that aim to organize your inbox take different approaches to simplifying how you send and receive mail. Pluto, designed by two Harvard students, allows you to delete email once it’s been sent, preventing the need for an additional email for small tweaks in content. Shortmail, partly inspired by Twitter, limits the length of emails to just 500 words. The Mailbox app allows users to “snooze” emails so they can reappear later at a more convenient time. Office tools like Basecamp and Slack separate workplace communication out of your email, which allows for less multitasking.
What’s the Big Idea?
The reason massive inboxes cause stress has to do with our psychology. Having large amounts of unfinished tasks causes anxiety, and sadly, we have difficulty distinguishing between essential tasks and hundreds of pesky emails. Programmers looking for a more substantial fix predict that artificial intelligence will hold the key to a well-managed inbox. A personal AI inbox assistant, not far from the kind recently seen in the film Her, could prioritize which emails need answering the soonest and group like emails requiring a single response. Google’s “priority inbox” already organizes emails according to senders you know and senders you don’t.