Every email tool I've seen is broken. Sure, you can make automated "rules", but every rule starts with, "When an email arrives..." That's fine for rules that automatically file incomming email, or do other things with them. Those rules help me. But they don't do much for the people who send me email. They don't care in the slightest about where I file their message.
People who email me care about how long it takes for me to get back to them.
And I care about how often I'm interrupted by email, and for how long.
And rules that can only be triggered by an incomming email just aren't enough for me or my corresponents.
First, I need to be able to measure:
- What's my average turnaround time per reply?
- How many times today did I look at my email client?
- How much time did I spend processing email?
That'll tell me whether whatever system I'm using is successful.
Second, I need more flexible rules. I need rules that can do more than tell me I just got a new email, or file it for me.
I'd like to start with a rule that lets me know when a message has been sitting unread in my inbox for more than 10 minutes. I don't really care when each individual email comes in. I simply want to know when I'm in danger of neglecting my inbox.
Or I might find it's more efficient to look at my inbox only when I have 5 emails piled up, or the oldest arrived an hour ago. That way, I always process email in batches, and nothing waits longer than an hour.
But the rules are moot unless I can measure their effectiveness. So I'm working on scripts to answer the three questions above.