We do get a lot of email these days. I am not talking about spam – clean, legitimate emails from people we know and do business with. Leave it unattended for a couple of days, your email inbox will look like a war zone with the causalities being your productivity and reputation. Besides, it has become a fashion to complain about email overload.
For those who are really serious about clearing out their inbox and get things done, there are some great apps to lend a helping hand. Email Game is one such app and is a new way to read and respond to email.
Email Game isn’t a real game, but actually makes your inbox a virtual playground with scores, timeouts and victories. The web app is free to use and currently supports Gmail and Google Apps accounts.
To start playing the game, enter you email address in the homepage and hit Let’s Play. After intimidating you with a few quick technical jargon, you will be redirected to the Google Accounts page from where you will authorize access to this app. All authentication happens via OAuth and hence no passwords are actually stored at the web app.
You will see a neatly illustrated help page that gives instructions about the game. The game play is explained in 4 easy steps and is very easy to understand. Once you are sure of the rules, proceed to play the game.
I took a deep breath as per instructions and was so ready to play the game. But, I was taken to another landing page that once again says that the game is about to begin. Bring it on already!
Here in this page you can see the number of emails to be tackled at the top right corner of the page and the points you have scored so far. Since we have not played the game yet, the point count is obviously zero. Let me check if the points I score in the first game are saved until I return for the next time.
Playing the Gaming
As soon as you hit Play, the game will begin and the countdown clock will start ticking. You have exactly the same amount of time displayed in the countdown clock to make your first move. If you feel you need a bit more time to get familiarized to the interface, hit the pause button. Once you hit the pause button, the ticker will stop but the page will be locked and you cannot play the game.
The interface is unlike the one we are used to from an email inbox. There are no two or three column layouts, folders or labels. No search boxes either. There is just the full text view of the email from your inbox with a row of icons at the top of it. These icons are the game controllers.
The Email Game is a streamlined email experience. No clutter. Just one message at a time to focus on and you don’t have to have unread mails to play the game either. The key is to make decisions quickly, and you’ll be rewarded.
Every common email activity is rewarded. Even if you label an email, you are given points. You will lose points is if you skip an email. So try to do as much work as possible before the timer runs out. As long as you keep up with the emails shown in front of you, all is good.
But, if for some reason, you miss the deadline, you will be penalized heavily. Pause the app without fail whenever you take a break or run for an errand. If you fail or forget to do so, just like did, the app will freak out and will start giving you negative points like crazy. I just stepped out for a minute without pausing the game to attend the door and you can see that all my points have been wiped out and now I am being showered with negative points by the second.
To get out the red zone, get something done as quickly as possible to reset the timer. The negative points will be there but as long as the timer is ticking, you should be able to catch up with your point scoring spree very soon. Points and graphics make your email accomplishments feel real.
Boomerang is an interesting feature. When you hit Boomerang in the app, you will be allowed to choose a time period after which you want to see the same mail again. This feature could come in handy if you want to address pressing emails first, leaving the less urgent at the bottom of the pile. From an hour to a random month, there are a lot intervals to choose from.
Email Game makes clearing out a mess of an email inbox so much fun. The app is such a task master, you can be rest assured that your email overload will be cured for sure. However, the interface could have been better. It really isn’t fun to read a plaint text email.
Clearly the developers have done a lot of research before making this brilliant web app. If you make it a habit to work on your inbox from Email Game, I am very much sure that your productivity will increase by 40% as the developers so proudly claim.
Share Your Thoughts
What do you think of Email Game? If you start using the web app, do you think you will be using it regularly?