App of the Week | Boomerang for Gmail

Those of you who have been running into Digital Humanities Initiative Director Claire Potter in meetings have probably heard her enthusing about her latest find, Boomerang. Technically, Boomerang is a plug-in, not an app, and it improves the performance of your New School Gmail. How? Because Boomerang:

  • Schedules your email. This is what Claire likes best. Not attending to email before and after business hours is a privilege reserved for fewer and fewer people. And yet, the more hours of the day you send emails, the more emails there are; the more email you send, the more you are going to get back. In other words, we are pushing each other to work 24/7 because…well everyone is doing it, and we are all afraid we will fall further behind. So catch up on your email outside of business hours if you like, but tee it up to send at 9:00 a.m. on a business day with Boomerang.
  • Reminds you if you don’t hear back from someone. We at the DHI do not recommend you use your email inbox as a to-do list (if you are insisting on a method that many people who study management see as a fatal mistake, consider Todoist). But  collegiality often relies on consultation with the faculty and staff before moving forward, and you yourself might need information before proceeding on a task.
  • Takes a message out of your inbox and returns it when you need it. One good example of this emerges from the frenzy of the first week of school: Claire received numerous agendas for numerous meetings. Instead of doing what she used to do — downloading the agenda, and leaving it in a folder on her desktop — she banished the email until the morning of the meeting — when it returned in time for her to be reasonably well-informed. However, another good use is to prevent writing an email when you are really annoyed with someone. Just send it away, as if you have never received it, and make it come back a day or so later when you are feeling a bit more chill.

Boomerang installs like a charm and is super easy to use: you can try doing it yourself, or you can sign up here, and Claire will send one of our new Digital Humanities Fellows around to your New School office to help you.