- Fastmail’s Scheduled Send splits the creation and delivery of email.
- Use it as a reminder or to avoid stressing colleagues out over the weekend.
- Email is the best, and worst, way to communicate at work.
Did you ever compose an email on Sunday night, then hesitate before pressing send. Scheduled send will help.
Veteran privacy-first email provider Fastmail has just added Scheduled Send, a feature already found in some other apps and email services and one which should probably be standard for all email. It’s a simple feature. You can compose an email whenever it’s convenient for you and schedule its dispatch at a time better suited to the recipient.
“I don’t like to impose on people, but sometimes I prefer to work late or on weekends. Even if people are resting or taking time off, they’ll see your email,” freelance fashion stylist and photographer Nuria Gregori. “It might not be expected that you answer emails right away, but for freelancers, you often feel that you have to.”
Fastmail’s Scheduled Send implementation won’t surprise you at all, which is great. You just click on the arrow next to the send button and choose from the drop-down list of presets—later today, this evening, tomorrow, and so on. If those don’t work for you, you can choose an exact date and time.
Separating the creation of an email from its sending time brings several neat opportunities. As we saw above, you can compose an email on Sunday evening and send it during more regular office hours. This is not only better for the recipient, but it can hide the fact that you work on weekends, which is the kind of thing that can lead to unwanted expectations in the future.
It might not be expected that you answer emails right away, but for freelancers, you often feel that you have to.
You can also cue up mails that need to be sent at a certain time, but which might be when you’re asleep. Or you can time an email to hit somebody’s inbox when they arrive at work, putting it—hopefully—at the top of their list.
Other hacks include sending timed reminders to yourself, holding personal emails to your friends until the evening, or scheduling an email to your boss for Friday evening, then ignoring all your emails until Monday if you want.
It’s about control. By having more control over your communication, you can reduce mental overload and stress.
Email might be one of the biggest sources of stress in modern work. You may have a never-ending pile of unread messages that you need to process. Worse, an important email may slip through your attention, obscured by all the Fwd: Fwd: Fwd junk clogging up your inbox.
And then there are the expectations. When you receive an email, it’s on your mind. Even if the sender doesn’t expect an answer, you probably feel obligated to give one sooner rather than later, even if it’s just to deal with it and get it off your mind.
And because email scheduling is dictated by the sender—i.e., anyone can put anything in your inbox at any time—you have zero control.
“Emails are still the best way to communicate in the workplace. However, most people don’t have their emails organized,” technology reporter Radu Tyrsina told Lifewire via email. “It is noisy, all over the place, and none of us have the patience to keep cleaning the mess every other day.”
That’s why something like scheduled sending is important, but only if everyone uses it and uses it for the forces of good, not evil. Work email management is pushed onto the user when more responsibility should be with the employer.
German vehicle company Daimler, which owns Mercedes, has the right idea. When employees go on vacation, all incoming email is sent to the trash. There’s no coming back from vacation and dealing with two weeks’ worth of email. Senders receive an automated reply telling them to re-send anything important after the employee returns to the office.
This is a great example of taking the stress out of email, but unfortunately, most of the responsibility still falls on us, the users. Tools like Scheduled Send can help, but until we stop treating email as a dump for getting stuff out of our own inboxes, as a place to demand instant responses, and as something that we check incessantly, email will stay stressful.