Email is a to-do list made by other people - can someone make it more efficient?!05 Dec 2012
This is a follow-up to one of our most popular posts: getting email responses from busy people. This post had been in the drafts for a few weeks, then this morning I saw this quote in our Twitter feed:
Your email inbox is a to-do list created by other people (via)
This is 100% true of my work email and I have to say, because of the way those emails are organized - as conversations rather than a prioritized, organized to-do list - I end up missing really important things or getting to them too late. This is happening to me with increasing enough frequency I feel like I’m starting to cause serious problems for people.
So I am begging someone with way better skills than me to produce software that replaces gmail in the following ways. It is a to-do list that I can allow people to add tasks too. The software shows me the following types of messages.
- We have an appointment at x time on y date to discuss z. Next to this message is a checkbox. If I click “ok” it gets added to my calendar, if I click “no” then a message gets sent to the person who scheduled the meeting saying I’m unavailable.
- A multiple choice question where they input the categories of answer I can give and I just pick one, it sends them the response.
- A request to be added as a person who can assign me tasks with a yes/no answer.
- A longer request email - this has three entry fields: (1) what do you want, (2) when do you want it by? and (3) a yes/no checkbox asking if I’m willing to perform the task. If I say yes, it gets added to my calendar with automated reminders.
- It should interface with all the systems that send me reminder emails to organize the reminders.
- You can assign quotas to people, where they can only submit a certain number of tasks per month.
- It allows you to re-assign tasks to other people so when I am not the right person to ask, I can quickly move the task on to the right person.
- It would collect data and generate automated reports for me about what kind of tasks I’m usually forgetting/being late on and what times of day I’m bad about responding so that I could improve my response times.
The software would automatically reorganize events/to-dos to reflect changing deadlines/priorities, etc. This piece of software would revolutionize my life. Any takers?