Email Is The New Snail Mail

For the last few years, I've been trying to opt out of having any postal mail sent to me. Wherever a company offers online billing - I sign up in a flash. My insurance company are now bored of me saying "rather than posting the policy - can you email it to me instead?"

I've opted-out of receiving unaddressed mail and I've signed up to stop junk mail.

Mostly, I'm pleased to say, it has worked. The only things dropping through my letterbox are small packages from Amazon, the occasional random takeaway leaflet, and letters from organisations too stuck in their ways to make the shift to digital.

But that's causing me an unexpected problem. I'm not talking about "Inbox Zero" - a term popularised by Merlin Mann to discuss how to control one's email, but now used to mean "everything has been read". The problem I'm having is in response times.

I have a full time job, I teach coding to kids, I take a martial arts class 3 times a week, I like to read, watch movies, cook, play video games, drink beer, take photos of the moon, and work on some open-source projects.

I also have to respond to your email.

The advantage of email over postal mail is that it is free and it is quick. Right now, my response rate for email is such that you would get a faster reply if you send me a letter via second class snail mail and I replied in the same manner!

I evidently need a better system for organising my email, working out what can be differed, what needs immediate action, etc.

What tips tricks, systems, and apps do you use?


What Do You Reckon?