Email was never meant to be a task application. This is why apps like Mailbox and Mail Pilot take what is a communication tool and turn it into a productivity tool. This is a terrible approach. With that said, I understand that there are actions associated with some email, but how we approach them determines how we see our emails.
Emails should never include notifications or badges. These things are distracting and counterproductive. Email should be managed if and when you have the time, not whenever a number wrapped in red or a sound goes off. People that have these features on, confuse me.
Triage, a new mail app that was just launched, brings a very new and welcome approach to email. Unlike the other email clients available, Triage doesn’t attempt to be a full-feature client with 100 features. They just want you to access your email and make a decision on how to handle each communication. There are no notifications, no badges, just you and your emails. You can setup Gmail , iCloud and any IMAP account on the app.
The way they present your email is very different. The emails are batched together like index cards showing a brief overview of the email and who sent it. The thinking behind this presentation is that most emails can be quickly processed by making a quick decision. The options are:
Archive: email was read, there was no action associated with it and you can send to your archive folder. You swipe the email postcard up and the email gets archived.
Keep: You read the note and you want to get to it later when you have the time. There’s no due date, no reminder, just sends it to your inbox and it disappears from the app. When you want to get back to these “keep” emails, you open up your full email client and process as you see fit.
Respond: If you read the email and want to shoot a quick reply or delegate it to someone else, you can do so quickly.
As you can see, this is a very different approach and I for one, welcome it very much. Triage doesn’t want to be your email client. It wants to be your inbox. What you do with your email is to give it those three simple jobs. I welcome this approach, because I notice that it only takes me a few minutes to manage email this way. When I have the time to act on those emails that I “Kept” and require further reading or an action, I go to my Mail app and do what has to get done.
I suppose the best way to approach triage is how you approach your mail. Yes, the type that arrives in your mailbox at home. You open your mailbox, you look at the envelopes and you have the same options. Throw away, archive (file) or put it somewhere where you can act on it when you have the time. The mailbox gives you your mail, you make a quick decision with it, and that’s it. That’s what Triage is, your digital mailbox.
I’ve only been using Triage for 3 days and while I really enjoy Triage and it has become my new way to manage email, I admit that not everyone will like this approach. I understand that most people have been fooled into thinking that their mail application is a task list and people are happy toting their mail badges and sharing their mail frustrations on social media. To each their own! As for me, I welcome the simplicity, approach and freedom that triage offers me as an email mailbox.