Alex Tyagulsky, the CPO and co-founder of Readdle, shares the vision behind the new Spark and explains the principles we used to ignite your productivity.
Why we feel overwhelmed
We live in an age of information and communication overload, with significant pressure to “do more” or “learn more.” There is a never-ending stream of requests for our attention, and email is the main source of such requests in the workplace.
As a result:
- People constantly feel they are missing out on something and need to do more, resulting in stress and unhappiness.
- Relentless interruptions prevent people from completing tasks quickly.
- Instead of working on their most important task, people choose the “loudest” or the last to catch their attention. As a result, important work gets delayed or never completed.
- Believing they could’ve done more throughout the day, people feel even more miserable.
Current communication tools from email applications, like Outlook and Gmail, to chat apps, like Slack and Microsoft teams, don’t do anything to counter this natural dynamic. They might even make it worse by promoting communication patterns that result in more interruptions and demands for someone’s time.
We want to change this situation by designing applications that promote healthier workflows. If we succeed, our customers will be happier and more productive.
Intuitive productivity vs. Intentional productivity
We call the current generation of productivity applications intuitive productivity apps because they focus on minimizing the mental friction involved in doing things. You don’t need to think about using them. It’s natural but very inefficient and stress-inducing in the long term.
Intentional productivity apps recognize that some thinking is required before you start doing something. You spend more time and energy planning and prioritizing but produce more results and feel happier in the long term.
People worldwide have started to recognize the problem that we have as a knowledge workers society. From meditation and mindfulness to willpower and habit-forming techniques, tools to make lives better appear and are being popularized among people who want to make a change.
Yet, no one else has created an email client or a calendar app that helps you form better communication and work habits. People still rely on tools made with a different goal in mind. I think it’s time to create a new generation of productivity applications focused on intentionality and sustainability and take another step into the future of work.
The new Spark – achieve beyond your inbox
Spark becomes more than an email application with a few new features. It's a new philosophy on how people should communicate and organize their work. Our goal with Spark is to help you focus on what’s important and achieve beyond your inbox.
- Free time to create – minimize the time spent inside the app, except when your work is to communicate with clients.
- Optimize attention capital allocation – minimize the number of context switches. Your work in the app should consist of as few sessions as possible.
- Create satisfaction – help people achieve closure and feel accomplished.
- Minimize work – reduce the amount of work, both perceived and real.
- Save mental energy – minimize the mental energy people spend within the app.
Driven by these principles, we’ve rebuilt Spark from the ground up to bring more intentionality into how you work with email:
1. Build better email habits with the Home Screen
We aim to help you check your inbox less often and reduce the time spent on email. That’s why you’ll first see the Home screen after opening Spark. It will gently suggest you check your inbox only a few times a day and provide shortcuts to process important emails without opening your inbox.
2. Stay in control with the Gatekeeper
For the most part it's actually unimportant emails that are cluttering your inbox. Pre-screen new senders and decide who is allowed to email you. You can easily block unwanted senders, to save time and mental energy on dealing with their emails at a later date.
3. Focus on important with the Smart Inbox
Spark shows emails from real people at the top of your inbox, so you can focus on them first and quickly clear newsletters and notifications. Mark important senders as Priority, so you never miss emails from them.
4. Feel accomplished with Mark as Done
Spark encourages you to treat emails like tasks and mark them as Done after processing to keep your inbox clean and focus on meaningful work beyond your inbox. Once you achieve inbox zero, Spark presents you with a beautiful reward to spark your sense of accomplishment.