Scheduling Email Sends

I’m not sure how many email clients build in the ability to send an email later, but it’s not terribly uncommon. It seems like it’s a bonus feature for new clients trying to entice users with features, and a third-party add-on for others.

I don’t use it, ever. Not because I’m against it or anything, I just never feel particularly compelled to. I feel like the social contract with email is that it’s very async. I don’t care when I get emails, I don’t read into it. I respond to emails when it works best for me. So it just doesn’t feel like something that needs an artificial delay. Kick out the emails and be done with it.

But Deb Tennen thinks otherwise! Bullet points from the article:

  • It gives you time to change your mind.
  • If other people do read into when they get emails from you, it normalizes that.
  • It gives people the impression that you thought harder about their email, even if you technically responded to it immediately.
  • It doesn’t impose stress upon people who feel that your message needs an immediate response at an inopportune time for that.

I find it a pretty well laid out argument, but falls just a smidge shy of me considering changing my own behavior. I don’t have any evidence so far that anyone I email with really cares when they get the email.

3 responses to “Scheduling Email Sends”

  1. I use it often to schedule e-mails for the next morning, because I often work late but I don’t want clients to always realize it was sent in the middle of the night, lest they think of exploiting that in the future (though sometimes I do, just so they know we put in the effort).

  2. If you work in a large organisation, then scheduling an email can be useful to get people when they are more likely to be receptive. For example a Monday morning rather than late on Friday afternoon

  3. Often times I use it to send myself far off reminders like “Don’t forget this idea right before a trip in 3 months” or something like that. It’s the only way I can talk to future me.

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