You Have Inbox, But Have You Tried Outbox?
I have a file in my computer titled
outbox.txt. It’s like an inbox, but… out. Whenever I have something to do on the internet, whether it’s sending an email, or sharing a tweet, or opening an issue on a GitHub repository, or whatever, I put it in my outbox. When the outbox is “full,” I do everything all at once, just like how I do laundry only when the laundry basket is full. Doing things this way provides me a buffer between the intention to do something and the doing itself, which gives me time to rethink and reconsider. Sometimes the thing isn’t necessary, sometimes the thing is stupid, sometimes the thing is emotionally charged, sometimes the thing isn’t written well. This buffer nice; I can undo or edit the thing before it gets out to the world.
This outbox-based workflow wasn’t designed or planned—I didn’t even have a name for it when I first did it. It started small, and grew, and grew, and grew, until I have this intricate system. I don’t want to be distracted each time I want to do something on the internet. Writing email is a good example: If I want to write email, I have to open the email app, which contains a lot of distraction. Goddammit, I just want to write email in peace!
I like this outbox-based system. It has one weakness, though: Making this workflow works requires lots of manual, repetitive work. Perhaps I can automate it all with code…
P.S. This piece of writing made me build a small outbox prototype: https://silentroom.vinliao.com. (It can only handle email for now!)
March 11, 2022