After spending the better part of last week cleaning out Mail.app, and trying to bring my inbox to Inbox Zero, I had a moment of realization: Email is the worst.

Email is intrusive, requires way too much time, and it’s a never ending battle. You file five emails away and ten more show up in your inbox. For me, inbox zero only happens about 4 times a year, and even then it’s only after an epically long battle of cleaning it out that it reaches zero.

What we need is Twitter for email: character limits and less expectations. That’s when it dawned on me: Why don’t we use our iPads as a dedicated email machine. Now, instead of having Mail.app open all day long, I check my iPad’s inbox 3 times a day. It’s saving me time in ways I couldn’t imagine. The iPad’s virtual keyboard is the perfect excuse for sending concise replies, along side its “Sent from an iPad” tagline, people expect you to be short when sending information on the go.

Why people feel the need to write a sequel to War and Peace in an email is beyond me. If you need to explain something to me in detail, why not just call me or schedule a meeting, and then send me concise notes on what we talked about? It would make inbox zero a lot easier, and it would eliminate the time we spend monitoring our inboxes. I bet they’d secretly welcome short emails from you as well.

From now on, my email philosophy is this: one question, one answer, one email. Things don’t get lost between the lines, and we will all be more efficient. Maybe Steve Jobs does it best with his one liner strategy. Less time in our email clients means more time enjoying life.

So far, over the last week using this philosophy has been a nice change of pace. Take back your time, because no one’s going to hand it to you.

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