Suddenly Snoozing Your Email Box Is The In Thing

from the do-not-disturb dept

Just last month we pointed to a study that showed that more experienced internet users checked their email a lot less, as they had realized what a distraction it could be. Of course, there are some people who just can't resist -- so it's interesting to see companies and services trying to deal with it. First there was the launch of a service called HitMeLater, which lets you forward your email to an address that determines when it will resend that email again. That is, if you get an email that you don't want to deal with right away, but know you'll forget about it once it scrolls out of the main pane of your inbox, you can just forward it to 4@hitmelater.com and it will email that message back to you four hours later. You can replace the number with any number of hours you want, or with the name of a day, and it will resend the email on that day.

But apparently it wasn't just HitMeLater thinking about this type of service. Microsoft is apparently experimenting with its own email snooze button for Outlook. It's different than HitMeLater, in that this is really a solution for those who simply can't resist checking email. Instead, you can have the system put up a virtual "Do Not Disturb" sign -- and Outlook won't sync up your email for whatever period of time is specified. Of course, there will be those who will say that people just need to learn some discipline on their own, but knowing that's not going to happen, what's wrong with some tools to help people out?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Brian, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 5:51pm

    Woah, hello tech support calls

    Horray! Microsoft gives us another way the average user can break Outlook :).

    Can you imagine the tech call "I'm not getting e-mail again."

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 6:23pm

    yea we already deal with those types of things, esp users who put up tons of rules....

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    screw e-mail

    That's it. Until people relearn handle this whole e-mail thing like adults, I'm just going to start buying 256mb flash drives in bulk and taping my would be attachments to people's office doors with post-it notes by them.

     

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  4.  
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    Govy, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 7:00pm

    ...and that's how it all begins...again

    Are you serious? A "snooze" button on your email? Does it make that annoying "bzzzzz bzzzz bzzzzz bzzzz" that my cheap-o alarm clock does? Yes, I agree you need to have some better time management if you that much of a problem where you have to forward your email to another service that then forwards it back to you. So, instead of clogging up your mail servers with the original incoming mail...you apparently don't have enough time to read it...but you apparently DO have time to read it because your able to make a judgment call to forward it to some other service (clogging up mail servers with the same original crap) and then having it send it back to you 4 hours later...AGAIN, clogging up the mail servers with same ol, same ol crap. Who's to say you won't hit that "snooze mail" button AGAIN and send it away for another 4 hours?

    Snooze buttons, although sometimes good, create the tendency for people to be late to their jobs or appointments. Snoozing an email (which, mind you, can easily be done by simply IGNORING IT), only increases procrastination, and not completing tasks on-time. So what happens when you get so much email that you can't read it all, apparently, and then snooze-it away only to receive it all back in bulk 4 hours later (not including all the regular new email you're getting)? Do you then send it all back? You're so stressed out over email that you...just...can't...handle it so you send it away only to receive even more of it later! Talk about stress!!

    Bad idea all around. But leave it to people and big companies who can't manage their own tasks efficiently to create software for people just like themselves and future a world of deep-seeded procrastinators...all through their email. Here's to you! Cheers!

     

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  5.  
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    Overcast, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 7:40pm

    Sounds like another patent lawsuit forthcoming.

     

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  6.  
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    Patrick, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 8:14pm

    Microsoft's Solution

    The snooze button is certainly an interesting idea, but given that everyone I know has a blackberry, I'm not sure how effective it is. One comment of interset, as I'm watching coverage of Microsoft's Email Prioritizer, I think it's very interesting that the actual prioritization feature has been drastically underplayed. A snooze button is sorta cute, but true email prioritization is definitely a killer feature in Email management, and it's good to see the concept getting coverage.

     

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  7.  
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    Bruce, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 10:20pm

    Low Tech Solution

    It's a bit low tech, but I've been using it for years: Close your email client! Or, just disable the envelope if you use Outlook.

     

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  8.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 2:12am

    Seriously ...

    ... do people's attention spans no longer extend past the visible part of the message-list pane?

     

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  9.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 21st, 2008 @ 5:40am

    Re:

    Re #5 Overcast
    That was one of the first things through my mind too.
    Its too obvious a feature, so it obviously must be patented.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Jimmy Gardner, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 5:55am

    AwayFind for your email backlog

    Good Morning

    great post. there is a local company here in DC called AwayFind www.awayfind.com.
    With AwayFind, you can stop checking email...with the peace of mine that urgent messages will still reach you.

    You should def check this out too as a great alternative

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 6:30am

    Am I the only one . . .

    Who is starting to have nightmares about my Blackberries blinking red light! OMG I am really starting to lose it with this thing . . .

     

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  12.  
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    Xanthir, FCD, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 7:22am

    Gmail's had it for a bit

    Gmail added a feature similar to Outlook's a while back in their 'experimental' settings. Hit the "Take a Break" button, and your entire gmail window gets grayed out and unusable, with a timer counting down for 15 minutes before it lets you in again.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2010 @ 4:28am

    http://techdirt.com/articles/20080820/0248002041.shtml

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Michael, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:45am

    Awesome idea I've wanted for a long time

    The idea is that you "snooze" unimportant messages for long(er) periods of time, so you can get your mailbox empty. E.g. if I'm having a light email conversation with a friend, I'll want to reply in a day or two when I'm in the mood, not _immediately_. At the same time, I don't want his message sitting in my box, where I have to actively ignore it. Snoozing the message puts it aside for a while; I'll deal with more important messages (or snooze them) now until I clear out my box. It'd be a nice way for prioritizing mail handling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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