Yesterday, our sister site Gizmodo posted a story about one of Gmail's new tools: Snoozing, the ability to put your emails to bed until you're well and ready to deal with them. It was described as a "terrible idea" but I'm here to tell you that Snoozing is one of my favourite features - if you use it appropriately.
Did you get the new Gmail update yet? (If not, see if there's a Try the new Gmail option on the web settings menu.) One of its major new features is the ability to snooze emails, something we've seen in various apps before. We're here to tell you why snoozing is bad, why you should avoid it, and what to do instead.
The article titled "Why Gmail's New 'Snoozing' Tool Is A Terrible Idea" does have some good tips about managing your inbox. Turning on keyboard shortcuts is great for the tech-aware that can get their head around remembering every little thing. It's not for everyone. If you're filtering messages into appropriate folders, that's also great, but can result in the occasional missed email and pissed off co-worker or client.
With all of that to think about: "Snoozing" is not a terrible idea. It's a critical function that can absolutely change the way you work through emails.
This particular quote galls me:
"Sure, you might feel like you're accomplishing something if you hide away an email until you've got time to deal with it, but chances are there are already enough emails hitting your inbox without them circling round twice or even more times."
The entire idea of snoozing comes from the bedroom. You set an alarm. It goes off - you can't get up yet, you stayed up binge-watching Friends re-runs and five more minutes laying in bed is totally going to help you function better - so you take the five. Snoozing isn't 'hiding away'. It's making a conscious effort to say "I will deal with this on my terms when it is more important."
When I use Gmail's Snooze feature (which I have been doing in their streamlined Inbox for a couple of years), it's for emails that I know I can come back to at a certain time. That's a really well-implemented feature that makes managing mountains of emails much easier.
For instance, a bill pops up in my inbox and it's slated for a month from now? Well, I'm going to snooze that bad boy until pay day or, at least, until a few days before it's due. I don't need it in my face, unread, for the rest of the day - and I certainly don't want it filtered to another section of the inbox, so I'm hit with a nasty fee down the line for forgetting to pay it. If it's a direct debit bill, even better, I know just when those funds are going to be taken out!
How about an email from Ticketmaster that tells me that Kendrick Lamar is coming to town in a month's time and tickets are on sale Friday from 9am? Perfect. Hit snooze on that email, get it to reappear on Friday at 8:45 and I am ready to go, credit card in hand. I won't miss out. There's no other feature in Gmail's current employ that lets you do that - unless you set yourself reminders on paper, in Google Tasks or via your desktop.
And how about this from the original article? "Snoozing emails just to get to inbox zero faster isn't productive at all - in fact it's less productive, because you've got the extra step of deciding when you want the email to return, before you finally deal with it."
Snoozing takes two clicks. Often, the date you want it to return is right there in front of you - the bill is due on Monday, tickets on sale Friday, I need a response by Wednesday. It's all so easy. Snoozing is not part of an attempt to reach the coveted 'inbox zero', it's an attempt to control time itself.
Yes, snoozing makes you a powerful Time Wizard.
So hit that little clock and be content knowing that, when you need to know something - a little snooze will help.