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A bit ago I put together a script (details on how to do this in a later post) to keep track of the number of e-mails in my inbox. I keep e-mails in my inbox in Mail.app until I have resolved them (responded, read a paper, performed an action, etc.) keeping them as a bit of a to-do list.
I am really interested right now in passive or ambient indicators. This is an application. Especially because I believe that the amount of e-mail in my inbox is a good indicator of my current busyness, or generally how hectic I am at any given time. I plan to make this a bit better, put it up on the web as more of a sparkline, and also probably a more abstracted level of busyness. I am thinking the scale will be something like:
- 0-20 emails — So Relaxed That This Can Never Happen
- 20-50 emails — Doing Good, Time To Find More Work
- 50-110 emails — Average Busyness Insues, If It Can Wait, Let It Wait
- 110-200 emails — Very Hectic. Too Much To Do. Don’t Expect To See Patrick.
- >200 emails — Might Be Dead, Might Wish He Was.
(Note this idea was borrowed from Dave Shea’s Stress-O-Meter on his contact page at BrightCreative. However his functions differently, it is a constantly increasing counter, that he resets when he has free time, the more he remembers to reset it, the less he has to do, is the model behind it.)