My email inbox used to be a place of horror. This past summer, I had over 5,000 UNREAD messages attacking me every time I opened Gmail. But all that has changed thanks to these incredibly awesome tools.
Get to Inbox Zero
An iOS, Android, and Mac app for Gmail
Mailbox totally changed the way I read my email.
Mailbox’s philosophy is that your inbox should only contain essential emails. Everything else should be filed away, archived, or sent away until a later time.
When you first open it, it helps you clear out your inbox. You import all of your email accounts into it, and if there are more than 100 messages total in all of the inboxes – both read and unread – there’s a little button that says “Help me get to Zero.” You press it, and then you can choose whether to archive all messages, all read, or all except starred. With one click of a button, you can go from an inbox containing thousands of messages to a nice, empty, clutter free inbox.
What if I want to read some of those emails? You may be wondering. Well, you can. Because they’re all in the “Archived” section still. So don’t panic.
The other functions are awesome as well. You can easily create folders and put your emails into them with a quick swipe to the left. But even better, you can “snooze” emails to come back into your inbox at a later date. I use this for business contacts I want to remember to follow up with. Instead of archiving, I snooze for a month, and when the email comes back, I’m reminded to follow up with them.
Check it out here. It’s totally free. And you will totally love it.
Get a handle on those pesky email newsletters.
A webapp anyone can use
How many email lists have you subscribed to – either on purpose or by accident – in the past few years? For me, it’s hundreds. And no matter how amazing Mailbox is at helping me go through my emails quickly, all of those newsletters take a lot of time to delete. Plus they are super distracting when all I want to do is look at my important emails.
Unroll.me has solved the newsletter problem for me. You enter your email address, it automatically finds all of your newsletters, and then you can choose whether to unsubscribe, keep them in your inbox, or all them to your “Rollup,” which is a daily email that puts all of your newsletters into one place. Now, instead of getting dozens of emails a day, I get just one. And I can choose to skim through it when I actually want to be reading ads, blog pots, etc.
This has probably saved hours a week for me. It’s truly awesome.
Check it out here. It’s also free.
Find out who is reading your emails.
A Google Chrome, Outlook, and iMail extension, and iOS app
Do you ever wonder if people are actually reading your emails?
Now you never have to wonder with Sidekick.
When you send an email, you can choose whether to track it or not. Sidekick will immediately notify you with a little window on the side of your browser when your recipient reads your email. It also tracks links clicked by your email recipients.
And you can choose to wait and send an email later if you want to schedule them ahead of time.
Warning: It can be really annoying to know that someone opened your email but just didn’t take the time to respond. And it would be pretty creepy to let them know you know they’re just ignoring you. So use it at your own risk.
Check it out here.
Schedule meetings right from your inbox.
A Google Chrome/Gmail extension
I HATE scheduling. Like, seriously, hate it.
But assistant.to actually makes it fun. Here’s how it works.
It integrates with your Google calendar and appears as a bar below outgoing emails in Gmail. If you want to make an appointment, just type in the length of time and the location, and click “Select Times.” A window will pop up showing you your calendar and allowing you to select times when you can meet. (If your recipient lives in a different time zone, no problem. The appointments will show up as the times in their time zone when they open the email.) Once you select a few times, Assistant.to will insert them as links into the email. When your recipient clicks a link, it will automatically create an appointment in both of your calendars.
Amazing, right? I almost want to schedule a meeting just so I can use it.
Want to check it out? Here you go.
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system in your inbox.
A Safari and Chrome extension that works with Gmail
Streak does way more than I’m ready to write about here. It’s mainly for business owners who want to track potential clients through the sales process. You can keep notes about clients, create “boxes” to keep track of all the emails related to single project, track whether people have opened your emails (like Sidekick), snooze emails (like Mailbox), and more.
Another awesome feature which may seem insignificant compared to all the others, but which I really love, it the ability to create snippets. I frequently repeat the same emails over and over, and this feature allows you to make those emails into snippets that you can just grab and paste, so you don’t have to keep writing the same 3 sentences over and over again. Or worry about cutting and pasting from past emails.
Want to check it out? Here’s the website.
So there you have it.
If you use Gmail, your inbox can now be transformed into a virtual secretary that automatically files away things you don’t need, reminds you when to respond to people, sets up appointments that don’t conflict with your calendar, checks on people to see if they’ve gotten your emails, and tracks people through the sales process.