Why I deleted Mailbox after only an hour.

Published on March 13, 2013, 10:44 a.m.

email gmail inboxzero ios mailbox

I'll be honest; I was really excited about Mailbox. When I first heard about it, I'd become increasingly Sucky at Email. My inbox was a mess. I had five different kinds of flags/stars, multiple kinds of todo flags, and I was one of those read-an-email-and-mark-it-as-unread people.

So, when Mailbox showed up, I really did have high hopes that it'd help me learn A New Way of managing email. I wanted to be productive.

But then, I had to wait for a half million people. Honestly, had this not happend, I'd probably be a happy Mailbox user.

Instead, I stumbled upon Keith Rarick's email system: Inbox Zero for Life. It's Gmail-centric and incredibly simple. I enabled keyboard shortcuts (that alone is life-changing), ditched my varaious flags and todo labels, and in about an hour and a half on a Saturday morning, I hit Inbox Zero. It was liberating.

I then picked up the Gmail app for iOS, which lets me more easily use the same technique on my phone. This makes me happy.

So, yesterday, I finally got access to the Mailbox app. I was still somewhat excited to try it out, but it quickly became apparent that it just wasn't going to work. The reason? It made things More Complex.

I went from having to deal with Starred items, to having multiple types of todo lists (Later Today, This Evening, Tomorrow, To Buy, To Read, To Watch, Oh My!). This felt like a step backward. On top of that, it just didn't feel right when I went back to the Gmail web interface, which is where I read most of my email. I'd finally found a system that really worked, and Mailbox disrupted it. Seriously. I don't need these extra labels in Gmail:

[Mailbox]
    Later
    To Buy
    To Read
    To Watch

I do think Mailbox was a really well-written app. I like the aesthetic and the interface. It just doesn't work with my preferred technique. So, after an hour of using it, I deleted it from my phone.

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