0Boxer Makes Getting to Inbox Zero Fun Again

For the last few weeks, a new service called 0Boxer has been buzzing around the productivity blogging world. The service is currently available for Chrome and Safari, and when I first read about it, I’d been a Firefox-only user. The last week has seen me switch over to Chrome–Firefox seems excessively sluggish on my fairly new i5 iMac, so I decided it was time for a change.

With the change came the ability to take 0Boxer for a test drive. When you visit the service’s website, the first thing you do is grant 0Boxer permission to work with your Gmail account. You’re then presented with this screen:

In a browser like Chrome which I’m discovering is much better at handling extensions than Firefox, you’re up and running in seconds. Install the extension, refresh Gmail and you’re good to go. All you need to do to start racking up points is archive, delete and reply to your emails. Here’s what my inbox looked after half an hour working with it–note the strip at the top of the screen, not to mention the very clear inbox:

One of the great features of 0Boxer is badges, much like the achievements you’d see in World of Warcraft or the recent revamp of Counter-Strike Source. I didn’t manage to snap a picture of my first achievements, but you can see the details of your achievements you’ve earned on your 0Boxer profile page:

Speaking of the profile page, 0Boxer offers an overview of your progress so you can see your points and activity with a bit more detail than the strip at the top of Gmail shows.

Every good game has a strong competitive element, and 0Boxer is no exception. The site has a daily and weekly leaderboard, which you can see here:

What I’d Like to See

While I’m enjoying the service and it’s a great encouragement for keeping your inbox dealt with, there are a few things I’d like to see implemented. The service is really new, so I expect to see plenty of improvements in weeks to come–in fact, if you check out the 0Boxer blog, you’ll see they’ve listened to a lot of feedback already and made those changes live.

More Social Features, Leaderboards for Groups: The global leaderboard isn’t particularly appealing to me, though it’s a good start! What I’d like to see is the ability to make friends and form groups with others on the site and have leaderboards for those groups, and an easy way of seeing how you’re doing versus your friends. Competing amongst colleagues at Envato, for instance, would be a great deal of fun–and we’d be able to pick on our email laggards. 😉

A List of Badges: One of the appeals of achievements in modern games is being able to peruse them and pursue goals. At this stage, I can’t find any sign of a definitive list of badges on 0Boxer, and looking through other people’s profiles to see what they’ve earned is a clunky and incomplete way to see what’s available.

I’d also like to find out how things like timezones are handled–there’s an achievement for organizing your email after 2am on a weeeknight, so maybe I’ll have to stay up and find out! After all, it’s bound to keep your co-workers happier than spending those hours raiding Icecrown Citadel.

Joel Falconer is the co-founder of public relations company Methodic Studios, publishes the gaming blog StartFrag, and is an editor at leading technology news site The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter.


  1. Thera on the 10th October

    Hum, that seems like a counter-productive tool: you will be motivated to check your emails every 5 minutes to boost your stats and earn achievements, however I guess it’s easier to hide than farmville for people who are bored at work.

    • Joel Falconer on the 10th October

      I suppose it could have that effect on some people! I still do my email in batches each day, so I guess it comes down to one’s self-discipline with or without 0Boxer.

  2. Josh Arguello on the 11th October

    I don’t think I would be interested in changing my browser of choice to play a game with my email… maybe I missed the point though but this wouldn’t make me more efficiant with my Gmail… my filters do that for me already and I love FF

  3. PBnJ on the 29th March

    I have to agree with Josh. It doesn’t seem to be an efficient change of process so it’s not a switch I’d make.

    It seemed quirky/neat until I got to the end of the article and realized it didn’t really _do_ anything with said points so what is the point? Pun not intended. Went to the site to see if there was much more to the “app” and there isn’t. Maybe in the future. *shrug*

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