Stop thriving for “inbox zero”
Having an inbox without unread emails feels like a huge achievement for many professionals in companies that communicate predominantly via email. Extending Friday’s workday well into the evening to “kill the inbox before the weekend” is a phenomenon seen in many offices, even though having unread emails in the inbox is not necessarily a bad thing if the organization’s communication channels are set up using the right tools.
To me, unread emails feel like an imminent risk. The risk about unread emails is their content’s unpredictability. There are be mails where a delayed answer could slow down others, put projects on hold or create uncertainty as I could not make urgent decisions — I those emails inbox-mine since they cause harm when not identified early. Unread emails are a risk because only a tiny share of mails are inbox-mines, but since one mail in the inbox could be one, I check 200 mails on Friday evenings while my partner is already dining with friends.
Progressive companies manage to divide their communication across channels, depending on the nature of the communication’s purpose. Slack is used for urgent but small questions, HR software for vacation requests, project management tools for workstream updates, etc. The more dedicated channels exist, the lower the inbox-flood should be. However, none of the tools I know of gives me peace of mind about my inbox because none of them is designed to ensure my inbox remains clear of mines.
To fill this gap and create world in which we can stay relaxed about an overloaded inbox, two friends and I are building Decisionly, a lean tool that orchestrates decisions and involves stakeholders in the right moment to provide input or make a decision. Using Decisionly, teams have pending decisions in a dedicated space, seperated from all the noise.
Therefore, instead of getting the inbox to zero to avoid an unseen inbox-mine, teams with Decisionly regularly check the tool to comment or make decisions with the tab of a button. They know that whenever their input or decision is a bottleneck, the matter is in the dedicated decision-making tool Decisionly, not hidden in their inbox.