Email is a challenge for a lot of us with ADHD. Many of us find ourselves with thousands of emails in our Inbox.
I’ve discovered a new iPhone app recently called Mailbox. They have an interesting way of marketing. You sign up for the app and create a reservation and then when you open the app, you see how many people are ahead of you and behind you in line. When I first signed up there were over 600,000 people in front of me and when I finished there were 600,000 people behind me.
The thing that’s really great about Mailbox is that it enables you to go through your Gmail rapidly. It’s currently only available on the iPhone for Gmail. With a single finger you can go through your email and use one of four options. You can delete it, you can archive it, you can have it reappear later in your mailbox or you can put it in a folder that you choose from a list.
I was able to go from over 1000 emails in my Inbox to zero in a period of about three or four days. It’s not a situation where you lose emails never to be seen again. The underlying idea is that your inbox should only be populated with emails you can act on right now. So if there’s something that you need to do that you have an email on but you can’t do it right now – a half swipe to the left and the choice will come up to say when you would like for it to appear again – Later today, this evening, this weekend, next week, some day or you have the option to pick a specific date and time. I found this to be really good for tasks that I need to do for my coaching business if the email comes while I’m in my corporate job; I simply swipe a half slide to the left and it shows back up in the evening or on the weekend and I can address it at that time.
To actually use the app you place your finger on an email and:
- A short swipe to the right will archive the email
- A long swipe to the right deletes the email
- A half swipe to the left gives you the option to have it show up later
- A long swipe to the left brings up a list of folders you can put the email in
I discovered it was extremely important as I started using this to identify those folders or labels that I use most. In Gmail the folders use in Mailbox will be nested under a parent folder called Mailbox. You start out with to read, to buy, and to watch.
So I added:
- HFC for Hyperfocused Coaching
and then I have a few folders that are for particular tasks that I’m involved in or longer-term projects.
I’ve decided that it’s useful to optimize the number of folders to be as few as possible while still giving you the separation of information that you need. I have three big projects going on right now and I’ve got all the emails for those projects going into the same folder and it works out pretty well.
There are a few things that you can do in Gmail to make the integration work better since you’ll be using web-based version of Gmail when you’re on your computer.
One of the things you can do is you can click the little arrow next to your starred items and choose showed starred items first because the emails you’ve scheduled to for later, come back with a star. By setting starred first in Gmail, the starred emails will show at the top of your list, which is handy.
A couple of opportunities for improvement that I’ve found.
Really the only thing that make me still go back and use the iPhone email client on occasion is the facts that the app is locked in portrait mode so I’m unable to turn my phone and have the email appear wider so I can read it. A lot of emails are too small to read in portrait mode on the phone. I can pinch and zoom but then I can’t see part of the email and I have to move back and forth. The iPhone mail app handles both portrait mode and landscape mode.
The other issue that I’ve had as I’ve tweaked the system is the synchronization of changes I make to folders – either on the Gmail side or the Mailbox side. I decided to use a numbering system for my folders to help with sorting and when I change them or reorder them I’ve had a little bit of trouble keeping the list synced between the iPhone and Gmail.
I’m currently trying to figure out exactly what the issue is with that and I will probably send an email to mailbox app to see if I can get some help with it.
This is an application that can be a real game changer for how you interact with your email. A lot of us would like to get in box zero but a lot of us have trouble getting there. This application can really help you do it. I’ve been at inbox zero on a daily basis for a couple of weeks now.