One of the biggest hassles of modern life (aside from keeping up with a constant barrage Facebook, Twitter and text messages) is making sure your email inbox as clean and as organized as possible. For me, this task generally falls on the same level of desirability as plunging the toilet, attending long-winded conference calls and cleaning the cat’s litter box.
Baydin, Inc is attempting to make email taming easier -- and possibly even fun -- with The Email Game, a web app that’s designed to help you bust through the email clutter in as little time as possible by rewarding you points for deleting, archiving and replying to emails.
To get started, you’ll need to allow the app to access your email (right now Email Game only works with Gmail), and it will load in 30 to 100 emails into the browser page. You’re allotted five seconds to make a decision on what to do with each email and -- in the case that you need to respond to a missive -- you have three minutes to do the deed (though you have the option to add extra time to the clock if you really need it). As you make your way through each email, you’ll earn points for each task which will be tallied at the end of the game.
And, what kind of game would this be without a little risk involved? In this case, that means losing points from your total score. While you work, a counter ticks down the seconds/minutes, and if it reaches zero, you’ll lose points for taking too much time to complete the task. You can also lose points for skipping emails, which means they stick around in your inbox -- the game prefers that you ‘boomerang’ your emails, which means you archive them for a certain amount of time (one day, two weeks, etc) before they bounce back into your inbox.
Once you’ve gone through all of your email, your score will be tallied, along with how much time you saved playing the Email Game, and you’ll have the option to share it with others through Facebook or Twitter. Then -- if you’re like me and have roughly 4,500 emails in your Inbox -- you can play the Email Game again and again... until you’ve made it through all of the backlog.
Most likely that won’t be the case. I went through about 300 emails before I decided to call it quits. While the scoring was interesting, it wasn’t intriguing enough to keep me going. I wanted to compare my score to my friends’ scores and earn some kind of reward -- whether it be a badge, discount at Starbucks, whatever -- for all of my troubles. I also found myself wanting the game to be fully integrated into my Gmail, rather than making me pull my emails into a separate app on a separate web page. And, like most people, I have three to four email clients that I use on a regular basis -- the Email Game currently only works with Google.
My conclusion: the Email Game is not the ultimate solution to taming the email beast, but it can certainly serve as a valuable teaching tool on how much time you should be spending on email managment. It also serves as a reminder that you can spend too much time on sorting, filing and organizing email, when you could be spending those moments doing something else that will move you closer to personal and professional fulfillment more than a perfectly clean and organized inbox ever will.
[Via Gamification Co]