Mark Unread is a feature in some email clients that proves that people use their inbox as a TODO system. Mark Unread says: I have actually seen this, but I need to trick my future self into treating it like I haven’t so that they will deal with this in a way that I can’t right now. I don’t have any particular problem with at, unless it became a major crutch, because then I’d think you there would be a lot of time-savings to be had by only dealing with those emails once instead of multiple times.
Now Slack has the same feature, which is is being poked fun at:
Hey look Slack is now email— Dan Rubin (@danrubin) September 3, 2020
I guess it just shows how powerful a concept “Unread” is. Theoretically, unread email doesn’t have any priority yet. Just because it is unread doesn’t make it important. But in practice, it does. Unread emails have the power to become the most attention-grabbing of all emails. Like a lottery scratch-off: will I win? Gotta play to know! Will this next email have some good news in it? Gotta read it to know! And so we exploit that feeling even to our future selves.