People keep coming up with new, better technology: applications that are smarter at helping you deal with email and make you more efficient. I think that it’s the wrong approach. As soon as that happens, the number of emails immediately increases so that you spend just as much time on it as before, if not more.
I have been thinking about the following anti-technology approaches instead:
- close my mailbox on weekends, so that it won’t accept any email but send an automatic reply “this email is disabled on weekends”.
- automatically dump emails at the end of the day or week. Any email not dealt with on the same day or week that it arrived is destroyed at midnight (or on Friday night).
- have a noise-maker than randomly deletes 20% of the emails before they even get to me.
- put an automatic lag of 24 hours so that emails arrive in my mailbox no sooner than 24 hours after being sent.
- put an automatic cap of, say, 50 emails per day (or however many I can reasonably deal with). Any email beyond that gets automatically rejected with the message “email deleted before reaching the recipient: recipient’s quota reached for the day”.