I was reading this post by Julien Smith and it struck me that I’d had a similar thought on the same day he wrote it. I left the seed of this post in his comments when I said, “I want now not new. Here’s what I was thinking.
Inboxes are set up to tell us when a new message comes in. It’s a distraction. Think about it: not all the NEW that comes in needs attention NOW. But that’s how our inboxes sort: by what’s new.
If I’m due at the airport, and you’re coming to pick me up, and there’s a change of plans, you’ll likely switch out of email into text (or voice) and contact me with that information. Sending it to my inbox means it’s not a NOW situation.
And yet, lots of times, people send messages to one’s inbox, or to Twitter, or other places, seeking a NOW response. (Note, I still think we’re doing a lot of our intentions of communication wrong, as I said in the Assault on Anywhen.)
So, in Julien’s parlance, if I had a better watchtower, something that knew when something was a NOW message versus something just being a NEW message, then I’d have a better way to consider my responses. What would that look like? I’m not sure. People have abused the email system’s “urgent” button for far too long. People still often use SMS text messaging when they really should be sending a quick email (because it’s not urgent).
In thinking of how I use AwayFind and my contact form, and in how I’m drowning in tweets and texts and emails, I’m thinking that it’s a problem that’s far more systematic and software-based than it is “personal time management” based.
I need to sort on NOW, not new.
Photo credit twon
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