Ever felt like you’re a slave to your inbox? Just when you think you’ve got everything under control, a slew of new messages just come flooding in, leaving you feeling helpless, disorganized, and frustrated.
Thankfully, you’re not alone. In fact, there are several services dedicated to help you manage your overflowing inbox. We’ve compiled a list of services to let you manage your inbox instead of the other way around.
Sanebox automatically clears your inbox of emails that are not urgent, filtering them into a folder called @SaneLater. Since it works using IMAP, the folders will appear anywhere you read your email including desktop and mobile email clients.
This is great for professionals who rely on receiving unsolicited emails from people or professionals who work with a fresh set of people frequently. If Sanebox gets it wrong, simply retrain it dragging the email from @SaneLater onto the right folder.
Cloud storage for attachments
If you use Dropbox or Box, Sanebox scans your mail for attachments, puts them on Dropbox or Box, and replaces them with a link. This is great for reducing email storage.
SaneBlackHole is a folder where you can drag your unwanted mail and never hear from that sender again. Those banished from your inbox will directly go to trash if they even try to come near.
Follow-up reminders and snoozing emails
You can make reminders by sending an email to yourself with the time you want the email to be sent back to you. Alternatively, you can defer an email by placing it to a SaneTomorrow, SaneNextWeek, or Custom Defer folder and it will appear back in your inbox when the time comes. This is great for task organization.
Sanebox also provides an overview of your emails once a day containing your latest unimportant emails, upcoming reminders, and unread emails. From this digest, you can train Sanebox to re-categorize your emails if it made a mistake.
Unroll.me specializes in taking control of your daily subscriptions by rolling up your individual emails into daily digests. This is great for professionals who need to digest a lot of information from a variety of newsletters and magazine sources.
It’s also the perfect way for the average professional to control marketing emails. You can choose which senders to add to your digest and choose what time you’d like to receive your digest.
However, this service doesn’t work retrospectively. You will only be able to see digests from when you activate your account. You can also only see one account at a time per rollup. So for instance, if you have a Gmail and Yahoo account, you’ll have to log in to two different Unroll.me accounts. The upside though, is that this service is completely free.
There is also a folder that’s been set up to filter out all mail received from your rollup senders if you can’t until the day’s rollup to be sent.
Unsubscribe and Re-subscribe
When you edit your subscriptions, you can unsubscribe with one click. There is the option to re-subscribe as well, if you decide you miss them after all.
Boomerang (Free to $14.99/month)
Scheduled sends and email reminders
Boomerang specializes in scheduling your sends for later and reminding you of your email by a certain time if you don’t deal with it. The focus here is not streamlining your mail, but making sure that you don’t miss a step.
The send later feature is really useful because it means that you can deal with your mail and respond when convenient – even when you’re not ready to send. Examples might include those motivational and congratulatory emails during and after a big project deadline, or meeting reminders that include the proposed agenda.
Response tracking and read receipts
Boomerang allows you to set a reminder for an email if you do not get a response after a specific time frame of sending a message. You can also opt to be reminded if no one has read your message. It’s great for professionals who have a lot of messages on the go which needs a response at a certain time.
The paid version of Boomerang enables you to compose a specific message to be sent at any regular interval of your choosing. This is useful for weekly report soliciting or reminders to process bills, invoices, and the like.
Alternatively, it would make a great networking tool to reach out to certain people every month or quarter just to see how they are doing. Since Boomerang supports Gmail, Google Apps, and hosted domains, it’s ideal for small to medium sized companies.
Boomerang also has an Android, but not iPhone, app so you can use their features on the go. For iPhone users, check out the next item on this list.
Mailbox for iPhone/iPad (Free)
Mailbox specializes in managing your email on the go. The user interface is clean and optimized for mobile usage. It’s perfect for freelancers who need to manage their inbox outside their desks and for traveling small business owners who use a Gmail account.
The downside? It only supports Gmail on iOS at the moment.
Quick scanning and organizing
Mailbox lets you scan through your messages in a chat-like interface. A quick swipe to the right or left lets you archive or delete your messages in an instant. If you get it wrong, you can shake your phone to access the undo button.
Mailbox also lets your snooze a mail with a swipe and a tap so it pops back into your inbox later on. There are default options for snoozing or you can also pick a date. You can also customize when you start and end your work day.
Furthermore, there is a dedicated later folder for snoozed emails on the app, so if you find yourself with a bit of dead time, this could be your go-to folder.
Converting emails to tasks
Taskforce specializes in converting emails into tasks. It works for Gmail or Google Apps for Chrome, Rockmelt, Firefox, and Safari. The app sits right in your email browser so you can convert an email to a task, leaving it safe for you to archive the email as you’ve recorded the task.
The utility is ideal for those who work on-the-go, but still need to keep up with general communication.
You can manage your tasks by delaying them or giving them a new date, depending on how many you’re working on at the moment. The task will be moved from the current folder to the delayed folder, but when the specified date arrives, it will automatically move to the current folder.
You can mark the email as a task, add a collaborator (usually the sender of the email) so that both of you can keep updated on the task at hand.
Streak is a task management system that lives in your inbox. It lets you group together emails from the same person to give you proper context when the next email comes in. That way, you don’t have to scramble around your overcrowded inbox for that last email from that sender. It’s compatible with Gmail and Google Apps.
You can add and customize your own stages to a pipeline, marking emails and categorizing them in stages as they go. You can also assign a task to a collaborator and so on. The feature helps you check on a project’s progress at a glance, making it useful for professionals who follow specific stages in their email or task management.
Streak also lets you compose a mail to send for later, so you can reply everything at once to increase efficiency.
Sometimes, you just can’t figure out why your inbox is always a mess. Mailstrom performs an analysis of your inbox in a highly detailed manner, showing messages by sender, subject, time and size. From each of these categories, you can browse the common traits. For those who want to know what their inbox consists of, this is the tool for you.
Mailstrom lets you sort your emails by subject, sender, time, size, etc and perform various bulk actions such as snoozing, marking as spam, archiving, deleting and moving to folder. This is an amazing initial clean up tool as it gives you a quick overview of why your inbox is messy and provides a really simple way of sorting it our yourself.
So there you have it, a variety of tools for you to sort your inbox depending on your needs. Give some of these tools a run and see what suits best for your email routine. Happy inbox cleaning!
Top image credit: PaulPaladin/Shutterstock
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