I recently came back from a relaxing 10-day vacation, one where I promised the wife and kids a full-disconnect from work - and that included checking email from my smartphone. Of course, such a promise meant coming back to ten days worth of unread email.
As regular readers know, I am no fan of email. I think that, in its current state, it's an inefficient form of communication. I'm constantly looking for ways to make the experience more efficient. And in the flood of messages that I found in my inbox upon my return was a pitch for a new service called NudgeMail, which launched this week.
In a nutshell, NudgeMail allows users to forward the emails to themselves at a later time. I have to admit that my first impression was "Oh, great. Yet another email to bog down my inbox." But then I put it to the test over the past couple of days as I sifted through that huge pile of mail that arrived while I was vacationing.
Here's how I used it: As I went through the inbox deleting non-action e-mails - that is, those that didn't require a reply or any sort of follow-up - I found myself slowing the process by stopping to respond to important e-mails. Of course, it was far better to deal with those at that moment, seeing how they could potentially get buried under a mountain of fresh messages coming in.
That's when I started "nudging" them to later in the day, to a time where I committed myself to respond to emails. Later that afternoon, my inbox was a lot lighter than it had been in the morning. And when the emails that I'd "nudged" to later in the day started reappearing, I devoted time to responding to those emails.
Is that the smell of efficiency emitting from my desk? What a concept.
Here's the beauty of NudgeMail. It works without any add-ons. It doesn't care who your email provider is, whether you're a Mac or a PC, whether you check mail on a desktop client or a Web browser. It doesn't care if you're a BlackBerry user or prefer iPhone or Android. It just works. And - at least for now - it's a free service.
While I'm still hopeful that someday someone will come up with a revolutionary new platform that replaces email as a business communications tool on a widespread basis, I recognize that even if such a product were to surface, nothing will push e-mail to the curb anytime soon.
Until then, I'm happy to discover little tricks and tools like NudgeMail that help make email management more efficient.