April 04, 2014, 9:10 PM — Recently I wrote about a very useful Gmail lab that helps you unsend emails. Gmail has a bunch of other potentially useful experimental features or settigns you can enable. I highly recommend you do not enable the "Auto-advance" one, unless you are pretty disciplined when it comes to managing your email.
Auto-advance shows you the next email in your inbox immediately after you archive or delete the email you're currently on. In other words, it goes to the next email rather than back to the inbox.
This is great. You can run through all your emails in one session, instead of having to click through each one from the inbox view.
This is awful. If all you wanted to do was read one email and deal with it, after you're done responding, deleting, or archiving, there's another one to claim your attention.
The usefulness of this lab depends entirely on how you manage email. If you're the kind of person who deals with everything in your inbox in batches, auto-advance is awesome. If you tend to pick at your inbox and leave some emails in there for future reference, auto-advance is a pain in the neck.
I've had auto-advance turned on for the past year or so, and it has been the bane of my email existence. I'd go to Gmail to respond to an important email, and then--bam--there's another email to make a decision about. It can quickly wear down your limited supply of willpower.
Auto-advance does have it's uses for people who want to get to Inbox Zero. For the rest of us, you'll have better Inbox Zen by leaving that lab disabled.
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