I've been consciously working on my email workflow optimisation since seeing a great lecture by Merlin Mann about inbox zero. However, after trying many email clients over past few years, I realised none of them fully captures the concepts in the talk. All of them seemed to add more unnecessary features that broke the workflow instead of optimizing it. I decided to experiment with building an opinionated email client, by removing traditional features, that helps you to focus your attention on a single email.
Plain Email stays true to GTD® methodology with only four distinct actions available: done, respond, delegate, and defer. There is no skipping or snoozing. If the email requires more time, you have to book it into your calendar. All the actions are accessible with keyboard – it is all about the flow!
By dogfooding a prototype of this client for few weeks, I realised that dealing with emails as if they were on a conveyor belt with keyboard actions is extremely efficient. A prototype with done, delegate, and respond actions that works with Gmail can be downloaded below for you to play with. I would love to keep testing, but I am on inbox zero now!
Process the message and mark it as done. The message gets archived and can be found later.
Delegate the message to someone who is more appropriate to process it.
If you can't deal with the message right away, book the time in your calendar when you can.
Respond to the message immediately and archive it.