How Email Destroys Productivity (and what to do about it)

When you’re working, you know you need to focus. You need to keep your attention on the task at hand and forget about everything else.

So here’s the problem I’ve seen: I’m focused on my work, I’m getting things done, and then I realize I have a question for someone else on the team. Email, of course, is the preferred medium – it’s asynchronous, not disruptive, and it’s generally a good way to get a response. So I go send my email (just a quick one – a two minute task), shoot it off, and get back to work. But before I know it, I’m reading that amazing newsletter I get every Tuesday or clearing out my inbox or responding to some other email. It takes me 30 minutes to send that two-minute email…

Maybe you’ve been there. If so, I’m happy to tell you that the problem isn’t you - it’s the way email apps work (including Gmail in your browser). They’re not exactly designed for productivity – they’re designed to show you everything. What you need is to be able to send your email without seeing your inbox. And there’s no way to do that. There’s not a single email app out there that lets you do what you need most to be productive: stay out your inbox. Wouldn’t you think that in these modern times, we’d have a way to write an email without getting bombarded with incoming email? I’m willing to accept that I’ve overlooked something here, but I’ve been on a quest to find that exact solution for the past several months and have come up empty-handed. Nothing. Sure, you could get an email app and hack it as this Lifehacker article suggests. Or you can try hacking Gmail’s links like this.

But if you’re like me, you’re not one for awkward hacks. Until now, there’s never been a simple, elegant way to send email without the inbox. To me, this seems so obvious - staying out of your inbox (to minimize distractions) is clearly the best way to stay productive while sending email. It’s simply astounding to me that there’s no way to separate the act of sending email from receiving it. When you send a letter (do you ever send those any more?), you don’t walk to your mailbox, open it up, then start writing. No, no, no. You just sit down and write your letter. So why, when you send an email, does this very thing happen? Why does your email app dump all that stuff on you when all you want to do is compose? Why can’t you send an email without being flooded with incoming email the same way you can send a letter without being flooded with snail mail?

Hi, I’m Josh, and I’m building a better way to send email. I think it’s crazy to have the inbox front and center when all you care about (at that moment) is writing and sending email. I’ve experienced the pain of losing time (and, therefore, money) to my inbox when all I wanted to do was shoot off a quick email (or even a long one): a two-minute question, a follow-up, or a status update.

If you’re convinced that the inbox is not the place to send email, join me and start sending email without it. Do you really need your inbox when all you want to do is send?

Get Zero Inbox on the App Store today.