Is email ruining your life? Does opening your inbox feel like a chore? For all those emails that need replies, James Hamblin, a health editor at The Atlantic, has proposed a simple solution: a cool button. “You just ‘cool’ things,” Hamblin said in the Atlantic.com video. “In real life we have a thing called laughing or smiling and nodding. Sometimes you just want to acknowledge right away, ‘I got your e-mail, I loved it, at some point in the future I’ll write you back. Can’t do it right now.’ Like Facebook’s Like button or Twitter’s Star, this is an easy way to acknowledge the message. The cool logo would signify that’s everything’s OK.”
The cool button would have to be incorporated into our email etiquette. Perhaps, though, we need a different symbol, as the OK symbol is offensive in some cultures. And of course, “cooling” it might just be another way of procrastinating, but perhaps we need that. Email interruptions at work slow down productivity, with one study showing that tasks generally take a third longer to complete when staff are interrupted by email. So just cool it and get back to work.