Imagine a world in which cleaning your e-mail inbox felt like the first day you got your hands on that new Super Mario Brothers game for your Nintendo.
Okay, maybe Baydin’s E-mail Game isn’t that exciting, but it does provide some entertainment relief for professionals who spend their days slogging through hundreds of never-ending messages. And at The Fast Track, we’re all about finding ways to keep e-mail (or anything else!) from killing your productivity.
A Simple Tutorial
Here’s how it works. By hooking up your Gmail account to the E-mail Game, you get access to an alternate interface that launches a competition each time you open a new message.
For each e-mail message, you have to decide immediately what to do. You can respond right away by replying or forwarding it, you can delete or archive it, you can boomerang it to return at a later time of your choosing, or you can skip it completely. You just have to do something with the message by the time the clock runs out or you will lose points, and you get the most points for replying to a message within the allotted three minutes.
The idea is to accumulate points over time by keeping your inbox as close to empty as possible. The E-mail Game tracks your progress and efficiency, and has nifty features like the ability to respond with canned text, and reply now but send the message later. It has a “More Time” icon in case you have to respond to an e-mail like this. And finally, you can add a signature line that says “excuse my brevity, but I’m trying to win the E-mail Game,” which may be clever or borderline inappropriate depending on your audience.
A Gamification Success Story?
I experimented with the tool this weekend, and it is indeed fun. I like it best for those e-mails that must be dealt with but don’t require much brainpower and are easy to put off. The E-mail Game was invented for those messages that suck up more time being read repeatedly in your inbox than they would if you just took 30 seconds to respond the minute they arrived. I’m also a fan of the fact that the program encourages you to avoid writing messages that are too long and involved and are unlikely to be read in their entirety.
In any case, I recommend at least having a look. The E-mail Game is definitely a great option for people who need more of a thrill than merely logging out of an empty inbox.