Learning to Use Inbox

I’ve been trying to use Google’s Inbox for the last few days, without much luck. It’s kind of a similar situation to Mailbox, a few months back.

I’m really on board with the idea of reimagining email, though. My conclusion at this point is that the design of this rather similar apps is that they just don’t work well for me.

The thing is, to really make use of either of them to their full ability, I have to go into Gmail and turn off all the filters that automatically sort most of my messages into folders and bypass the inbox. I also need to think about a new model of handling the “to do” emails. I don’t typically think of my personal* emails as “do now” or “do in a week.” Mostly, they are “do this as soon as you have the energy to do it,” which means that my emails stick around in the inbox or relevant folder, marked unread, until I can handle them. Also, in the past year I really started using Evernote for many things, including keeping track of tasks. I hesitate to open up another source of to-dos.

The ability to make email disappear until I’m ready to handle them sounds really cool, but it’s just not the way I’ve worked – I generally don’t have specific dates where I think I can deal with them.

The bundling capability in Inbox also looks pretty cool but, again, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on my email through heavy use of folders (or labels, if you will).

What I really want to do is try out Inbox for my work email. That’s where I always have emails that I want to follow up with at specific times and have a continuous stream of topics where I can’t really predict how I’ll want to support them. Maybe one day.

*As it turns out, “personal” actually means “personal-for-fun and personal-for-all-professional-activities-outside-my-job.”