Switching from a crowded email inbox to a more organized system for customer support has helped a ton over the past month. Now, that “email hour” I added to my daily schedule actually works, because I have limited inboxes to visit, and can view each request as a to-do item.

Everything is powered by our Discourse forum. Write.as users get a certain email address to send to, based on their support level. Those emails show up in different Discourse group inboxes. The high-priority group also pings my personal email, just so I don’t forget it’s there. But the low-priority group won’t ever disturb me — I have to visit that inbox to see messages there.

When my email hour starts, first I visit my high-priority inbox, where paying users send their requests. As soon as I respond, I archive the thread, so I eventually get to “inbox zero” and know that I’m done. Then I move on to the low-priority inbox, and then public conversations on the forum.

Between limiting how much I’m personally pinged, and having a UI that shows requests as a limited to-do list, all of it is much more manageable.