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What Emails Are For And What They Are Not For

Email address is mostly used for storing heaps of junk nowadays. Subscriptions, mailing lists, forums, newsletters, etc, they force you either to distract your attention for long periods while sorting the mail or to use fat client to sort and filter your mail. I've set up my mail in such a way that if I see I have a new mail then I know that something important happened, and here are the guidelines I use.

What emails are for

Personal communication

Often-neglected email feature is personal communication. Instead of running around web in circles or trying to catch a person online in IM you can probably just send an email to them.

One-time notifications

Email can be used to set up notifications in case something exceptional happens. For recurring notifications, protocols like RSS are better.

What emails are not for

Reading mailing lists

Most of mailing lists generate so much traffic that if you subscribe to more than one, you will get bugged by a new message very often. Then you have an option to lock yourself in with bloated mail processor (like gmail web interface) or cope with lots of stuff that you do not care about in your mailbox manually.

Recurring notifications

Like said before, use RSS or something instead.

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