I often keep my emails unread until they need no further action from me. Either they’re responded to, don’t require a response, or they’ve been moved to a todo list of some sort. Unfortunately I have developed a bad habit of leaving emails in this unread limbo a little longer than is reasonable at times. What usually happens to me is I can’t act on the email right at the moment I’m reading it (I need to do something else to respond or I’m on my mobile device and it’s a long response I don’t want to type at the moment) and it ends up going “below the fold” and I never get around to responding to it. Sometimes I’m days or a week or more late getting back on something simply because it fell through the cracks.
This is not a good habit to have and I hate when people are so slow getting back to me, so I decided I wanted to fix it. Which lead me to implement my own Email Nag. It’s simply a script that runs once a day and checks my inbox for any unread emails. If an email is older than some threshold (currently 3 days for me) it will send me a new email w/ the date the other email was received, who it’s from, and the subject line to give me a reminder to take care of the email. If it goes beyond another threshold (currently 1 week) it will send me a text message with the same info.
I’ve been using this for 2 weeks or so and it’s definitely helped me a lot. It’s nice to have a reminder so that I don’t let things drag on too long. If nothing else the daily reminder helps give me an extra boost to take care of the task to keep from getting another nag later. Hopefully this will help me fix the problem going forward.