Most people have a love-hate relationship with their email inbox. On the one hand, email can be exciting — whether you're making progress with a client, replacing a meeting with a (much more efficient) email thread, or receiving praise from a higher up.
On the other hand, email can be overwhelming — especially if you lose control.
And it is easy to lose control. After all, email is one of the top ways we communicate with a lot of the people in our lives, from our best friends to people we've never spoken with before. Many of us get bombarded by new emails on a regular basis, and it's stressful to know that we might be missing out on the truly important stuff amid the flood of less pertinent stuff. This is especially true with so many people working remotely at the moment.
Luckily, there are a lot of tools and apps that can help. Here is a look at some of our favorites:
Shift is a cross platform app that allows you to access and use all of your email accounts from one convenient desktop application. Not only that, but you can access lots of other commonly used apps from it directly, including Grammarly, Asana, WhatsApp, and more.
Shift also boasts an excellent search function that works across all of your accounts, so you can quickly retrieve conversations. The biggest benefit to using something like Shift is that all of your work and workflows are in one place. You can save a ton of time switching between apps and email accounts using this.
The first step to freeing your inbox – and yourself – from all that email is to unsubscribe from all the newsletters you've subscribed to over the years. But unsubscribing manually from tens, maybe hundreds of newsletters would take forever.
Enter Unroll.me, a free tool that lets you mass unsubscribe from all the newsletters you don't read. You can either wipe the slate clean and unsubscribe from everything at once, or you can pick and choose.
ActiveInbox turns emails into tasks, allowing you to add due dates and create reminders. The tool offers functions that help you get replies: set up follow-up reminders to avoid forgetting about an unreplied to email, and use a ‘Send later’ function.
The last feature can be especially useful as many emails get ignored just because of wrong timing on the send, so schedule your messages to be delivered at the perfect time.
Price: Free; Paid Versions Available
Here's another simple but useful tool, this time for reminding you — and even your clients, if you want — to follow up on specific emails.
Here's how it works: Compose an email, and then include [any time]@followupthen.com in the "Bcc," "Cc," or "To" fields of your email. The "any time" wording here is pretty flexible: It can be "firstname.lastname@example.org," "email@example.com," "firstname.lastname@example.org," "email@example.com," "firstname.lastname@example.org," and so on.
What happens to that email when you click "send" depends on where you put that @followupthen.com email address:
- Bcc: You'll get a follow-up regarding the email (without bothering the original recipient).
- Cc: The tool will schedule a reminder for you and the recipient.
- To: The tool will send an email to your future self.
Here's a video that explains the tool in more detail:
It works for every email client, and it's free for up to 50 follow-ups per month. You can increase the number of follow-ups and add features like calendar integration for between $2–$9 per month.