Hi guys,

The possibility of simplifying ActiveInbox by removing ‘S/Finished’

I’d love to discuss the merit (or lack thereof) of the S/Finished label in ActiveInbox and your workflow. I need your feedback before any changes are made 🙂

And what are those changes? Pete & I are always looking for ways to simplify the workflow: less thinking, more getting email done confidently with ActiveInbox.

The 3 Weaknesses of the S/Finished Label

S/Finished is a bit of a curiosity. The act of “completing” a conversation is done by everyone, but for most people that simply involves taking off the active Status label (or Star) and archiving it. No Status label + archived = complete.

Worse, it’s strange, for the brain, to decide to add an S/Finished label for things that originally had S/Action (or S/Waiting On), but not for everything else. It’s an incomplete system that causes worry by not being consistent.

Finally, it leaves a bad smell if the conversation starts again: if the contact replies, the email appears in your inbox, but still carries the S/Finished label… forcing you to take the time to remove it. (But at least you know you’ve formerly processed it, which is useful insight in some cases).

The 3 points combine to suggest it’s time to get rid of S/Finished.

A Minority Use for S/Finished

But, there is one case I know of that works for some people: those who are driven by Projects. Their workflow does not use active Statuses. Instead, they add conversations to a Project, and the project is only complete when every conversation in the Project has the S/Finished label (so, when they browse the Project, it shows all ‘active’ emails: which are those that are not finished). Nb: I don’t recommend this for most people, as ActiveInbox is not designed with this in mind (e.g. it cannot show you how many active items each project has if you do this).

Do we have a plan?

My proposal is:
* We advise all users to remove S/Finished, and new users will not add it.
* The ‘Finish’ (or perhaps ‘Complete’) button simply removes all Statuses/star, and archives it.

What do you think?


This was written by Andy Mitchell