More often than not, email inboxes are a mess. Facebook birthday reminders, notifications of sales on Amazon, and the dozens of other sites you’re likely registered on tend to fill up inboxes faster than most people can manage. The result is either obsessive-compulsively reading every message that comes your way, or simply letting it all pile on until you have thousands of unread emails. But, as techies are wont to do, one blogger by the name of Dbuntinx has come up with an elegant solution to keep you on top of your email inspired by the quantum quandry of Schrödinger’s cat.

Dbuntix has used Apple Mail’s Smart Inbox feature to create a way of forcing his hand when it comes to reading and responding to emails. It operates by only showing unread emails within your inbox. In effect, it forces users to respond or delete messages immediately. As soon as it becomes read, it will vanish from your inbox completely, forcing you to either disregard it entirely or immediately respond. Dbuntix further explains:

Once you start reading a message in this Smart Unread Inbox, it’s actually not part of it anymore. It’s in this sort of Schrödinger state, which only exists as long as you keep the e-mail open. So you have to act upon it, otherwise it will disappear forever into the mists that are the cloud.

To set up the Schrödinger Inbox, do the following:

1.) Click the + sign in the bottom left corner and select, “New Smart Mailbox.”
2.) For the first rule, select, “Message is in Mailbox” and select your inbox.
3.) Click the plus sign to add another rule.
4.) Select “Message is Unread” for the second rule, and click ok.

After that, hid the sidebar so only the smart inbox is still visible, and you’re done. Other email clients have similar features, but I have yet to figure one out for my own service, Gmail. So if you find a similar way to create a Schrödinger inbox in other email providers, let us know in the comments!

(via Minimal Mac)