This is Inbox Hell

As our computing becomes increasing mobile, it becomes proportionately harder to avoid the connectivity those devices bring. It becomes ever harder to be out of touch. Indeed, it seems to be a rite of passage of Twitter to let people know that you’ll be away from notifications while on vacation.

This alludes to something that is implicitly understood but rarely stated. Dealing with the notifications that come with mobility are in and of themselves work.

This is part of the “Inbox Hell” Brian Greenberg references in this piece. Ultimately, Brian more outlines the particulars of the problem then pointing toward a solution. For Brian, it seems doubtful that there is one, rather than a spectrum of ways of dealing with an unfixable flawed reality.

For myself, I’ve found some salvation in simply turning off as many notification as possible. Only the most pertinent work and personal communications ever bother my phone’s lock screen. A few more are permitted within Notification Center once I’m using the phone. But I use most of the apps regularly enough that I don’t need to be reminded to go in them with a notification.

My own productivity philosophy is ad hoc at best. I’ve looked at consolidating my workloads with Wavebox and allowed Trove’s AI into my email to make up for my deficiencies.

Ultimately, I think Trove gets me closer to dealing with Inbox Hell than Wavebox. As anyone in the enterprise can tell you, the idea of the single pane of glass is nice, but the loss of resolution often undercuts the benefits of centralized visibility.

If anything, as email takes a backseat to other optimized messaging formats like Slack and Facebook Messenger, I see Inbox Hell getting worse. The construct of the email inbox may be a bit anachronistic today, but at least it’s an ordering mechanism. Maybe we’ll simply get used to the noise and think nothing of it. Or maybe Inbox Hell just spurs more notifications about our notifications.

briangreenberg.net comments:

Warning! If you’re not careful, you may find yourself in the abyss of inbox hell. With all the email accounts, calendar invites, text messages, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages, and everything else?—?I just can’t seem to keep up with it all. Have you heard of the ‘Zero Inbox’ idea? It’s a great notion that’s been around for […]

Read more at: This is Inbox Hell.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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