Taper wants to be a doorman for your inbox
I gave up on the idea of "inbox zero" a long time ago, and now simply embrace "inbox full to bursting", but Taper is offering a new approach to email management that might just make it easier to stay on top of things.
It’s on Kickstarter now, and currently a long way away from its funding goal (but with over a month still to go) so may never see the light of the day, but it’s such a crazy idea that I wanted to share it with you.
Taper is conceived as a doorman for your inbox. When messages arrive they are let through, but only five at a time. So instead of being bombarded with a ton of emails, you’re greeted with a manageable trickle. Once you delete, archive, move or flag a message, the next one will be allowed in. Taper doesn’t filter anything out, just queues the messages up in the cloud, so they will all arrive eventually, but only when you’re ready to see and deal with them.
You also have the option of setting the frequency of incoming mail, so once you delete a message, the next one can be let through immediately, or -- if you’re busy on other things -- 30 minutes later, it’s up to you.
The obvious flaw with this system is not all emails are equal -- a message from your boss or significant other is obviously more important than a mass mailing. Taper solves this issue with a VIP List. Anyone on this list will immediately move to the front of the line, ensuring that their messages will be the very next emails that Taper lets through. Of course you still need to deal with the emails that are in your inbox before they’ll be allowed in…
The idea of Taper is to make email overload less stressful, but not knowing how many emails you have waiting for you -- a few, or hundreds -- will likely stress you out more than a crowded inbox. Fortunately Taper lets you take a peek in the TaperQueue folder to see how many messages are backed up, and the service can send you a notification listing them too.
It’s an intriguing idea, and one I’m on the fence about. Most of my emails arrive during the working day, and I usually have my inbox open on a second screen so I can quickly deal with (or ignore) them as they arrive. I rattle through any left overs, and ones that have turned up overnight, first thing in the morning. I also, like most people these days, read and reply to emails on my phone and iPad when I’m not in front of my PC. I’m not sure queuing up messages and dealing with them a handful at a time will benefit me in any real way.
What’s your view on Taper -- stupid idea, or the email management solution you’ve been praying for? How do you handle email overload at the moment?