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empty inbox at one timeTurn email checking into a game, complete with a score and timer. This will prompt you to finish quickly so you can get back to work. That’s the idea behind The Email Game, which feeds unarchived mail from Gmail or Google Apps to you and forces you to reply, archive or boomerang the message.

Turning mundane tasks into a game increases your likelihood of actually doing them. That’s the thesis of at least one book and an increasing number of games like this, which aim to boost productivity by borrowing the motivational prompts that make World Of Warcraft and Super Mario Bros so much fun.


Is your email full of messages you need to respond to, yet keep putting off? The Email Game is designed for you. From the makers of Boomerang, a Gmail plugin How To Schedule Emails & Delay Replies in Gmail with Boomerang (400 Invites) How To Schedule Emails & Delay Replies in Gmail with Boomerang (400 Invites) Read More for reading and sending mail later, this web app forces you to get though your email and achieve inbox zero 4 Simple Steps to Achieving & Maintaining Inbox Zero in Gmail 4 Simple Steps to Achieving & Maintaining Inbox Zero in Gmail Read More .

Getting Started

Head over to emailga.me. You’ll need to give this web app permission to access your Gmail or Google Apps account; proceed if you’re comfortable with that.

If you do, you’ll be presented with the title screen for the game:

empty inbox at one time

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When you’re ready to do some serious email checking go ahead and click start. Then the fun begins, as the first email you need to deal with is presented.

Scorekeeping

The goal is to get emails out of your inbox. The main ways of doing this include responding, boomeranging and archiving/deleting. The Email Game’s website offers a simple explanation:

empty entire inbox

Click archive or delete and you’ll receive some positive feedback, along with points:

empty email inbox game

This will only be on the screen for a second though, before you’re presented with your next email. If you need to reply to an email, you’ll receive additional time on your timer and a composition interface will come up:

empty entire inbox

Get your response written quickly to receive the most points, but don’t be shy about asking for more time if you need to write a longer email.

Can’t respond to an email now, but don’t want to forget about it? You can use the boomerang functionality to have the email show up in your inbox later, be it three hours from now or three weeks. You’ll get points for this.

If you really must leave an email in your inbox, you can press “Skip.” You’ll lose points for this though, so don’t over-use it.

Conclusion

When you’ve gone through all of your emails you’ll see your score, along with the option to share it on Twitter:

empty email inbox game

While it’s unlikely that a high score will much impress your friends, a friendly competition with someone close to you could greatly help your likelihood of using this tool to stay organized. Consider it.

Baydin, the company behind The Email Game, calls this “scientifically the best way to do email, period.” What do you think, dear readers? Is this a useful productivity tool and a fun game, or an uninteresting waste of time? Leave your opinion in the comments below and I’ll respond to them. Just know that, because your comments are emailed to me, I’ll be responding for the sole purpose of getting additional points in The Email Game.

  1. Meredith Sweet
    April 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I've played this ans it was definitely more fun than sifting through my hundreds (or gulp, thousands, on some accounts) of unread messages, but I wish there were a plugin for different mail applications, like Apple's Mail app, Outlook, etc.

  2. I-Hate-Liberals
    April 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Can we say Juvinil? Can we say stupid? Can we say Grow Up?
    It's very silly, but then so is the majority of people these days.
    That's why our country is so screwed up!
    We allow idiots to vote, they vote for idiotic issues. Like give me
    more federal dollars = hard workers money for my sitting on my
    lazy but smoking dope and having more out of wed babies.
    Your bunch of dead beats and it's going to byte us all on the ass.
    I'm just glad when you go to the store to by food and there isn't any
    that I'm prepared and those of you who waste your time on this crap
    aren't so when it all comes crumblilng dow there will be a few of us
    left to start all over with some symblance of sanity.
    You damned Democrat Communist shit heads.

    • jhpot
      April 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      Wow. You feel really strongly about The Email Game. Glad to see I can inspire such passion.

  3. Seenu
    March 13, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I have never heard about games that can be played using emails.
    Superb concept.

  4. Seenu
    March 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I have never heard about games that can be played using emails.
    Superb concept.

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