Something surprising happened.
But first, I will briefly compare Gmail to Mutt: I like that they are both heavy with keyboard shortcuts. I find that I am get through my email really quickly with both applications.
Gmail (unsurprisingly) has a strong advantage when it comes to searching through old mail. I will eventually install something like Notmuch to make the searches faster.
Mutt has a big advantage in composing emails: vim is really awesome, and I prefer using it whenever I write any text.
Gmail has a slight advantage in convenience, since it is browser-based. However, I have an ssh app for my iPad and Chromebook, and I have a Mac at home, so Mutt is awfully easy for me to get to at home. If I am stranded someplace with only a Windows machine, I might be at a bit of a loss (I don’t know how to get the equivalent of a terminal in Windows without installing something like PuTTY), although I do have access to a website that acts as a terminal. So this is basically even.
Here is the surprise: Mutt indirectly makes me much more productive.
I was not expecting this. Here is the deal: I like staying on top of email, so I have my email open all day. But Gmail is in a browser, so checking email leads to checking Feedly…and Google Plus…and other distracting websites.
When I check my email with Mutt, I just look in the terminal, and when I am done with email, I go back to work.
This was not intentional at all. In fact, it took me a while to notice that I was spending a lot less time on the internet wasting time.
So Mutt is staying.
This has been enough of a positive over the past four months that I am going to try (and likely fail) at Cal Newport’s latest suggestion: don’t web surf during the work day.
I am a person who functions best when rules are black-and-white. I can be good at complete abstinence from things, but I am generally bad at moderation. I think this could work for me, and I am looking forward to the increase in productivity (especially since I keep to a strict work schedule).
The only things I need my browser open for are Google Calendar and Google Tasks. The latter I can take care of using a text file (I did this this summer already, and it worked fine). I can probably get by with looking at my calendar each morning and then immediately closing it. In other words, I think that I do not need to have my browser open at all during most of the work day.
This means that I will have to do all of my Feedly-checking and G+-checking (and, sadly, checking espn.com for NBA news) after my wife has gone to bed. I think this could work. But we will see.