Are you in a constant tug of war with your email inbox? Too often, the pace of each day is set by what emails you get. A single email can distract you from your plan for the day faster than you can say “I need a vacation.”
There are a few tried-and-true tactics to help get your email under control, including:
- Only check email at certain times
- Don’t leave email in your inbox, do something with it right away
- Write short, to the point emails
- Avoid email chains by avoiding email
This advice is all good and well, but how can you do these things? Turns out, there are a bunch of apps and email add-ons to help you get your email under control.
Here are 10 of my favorite inbox management tools.
Slack is having a moment. It’s beautiful and easy for teams to adopt.
It’s also billed as an email killer. And while that’s a misnomer, using Slack can definitely cut down on long email chains between colleagues.
Instead, you can set up channels to discuss topics or projects, and add or remove people as needed. The conversations are completely searchable, and you can pin important documents to the channel.
For team communications, it’s faster and in many ways better than email.
This app is a Gmail plug in, which means you use it right from your inbox. Boomerang’s power features are that it can schedule emails to send later and that it can remind you of emails later.
Both of these tools are useful, but the reminders are especially cool. You can get emails that you don’t have time to answer out of your inbox and set them to come back later when you’ll have more time to answer them.
Batchbox from Batchbook
This will give you a complete email history for a contact, outside of your inbox. No more digging through your email history for that one important email.
Batchbox helps you stop using your inbox as a virtual memo board for recent conversations with your contacts and is a great tool to help with email contact management.
This is another app that you can add right to Gmail. This one actually changes your inbox. With it, you can drag and drop emails into categories.
Many people use Sortd to turn their inbox into a to-do manager, with emails sorted (get it?) into follow-up categories. It’s great for taking control of your inbox but still making sure everything is getting done.
Okay, you’re going to sense a bit of a trend. Yesware is another email add-on that works with Gmail and Outlook.
Useful features, such as CRM integration and email templates, help you do better sales from your inbox. You can also track email opens to stay more engaged with high-value prospects.
Gmail is our email app of choice for many reasons. As you now know, there are a ton of useful plug-ins for it that will make you something of an email god.
Filtering is built into Gmail, which lets you file new emails into folders automatically. If you have a lot of emails, this can be a life-saver all by itself.
With good folder management, you can keep your main inbox free and clear. When it’s time to work on, say, sales follow up, just jump into that folder and type away.
FullContact is a contact augmentation tool. That means it takes an email address and tells you a lot more about a person.
Use their Gmail add on to see a deeper contact profile next to every email. This helps you write more personal emails and often puts a face to an email address.
Think DVR for your inbox. This is a neat little Gmail plug-in that does exactly what it says. Use it to pause the incoming rush of emails.
Inbox Pause is perfect if you just can’t stop checking in every 5 minutes, but you need to get your project done. Use it’s scheduling feature to only let emails through at certain times, helping you with managing your email overload.
Skype is great for quick chats. You can jump on a call or instant message chat with a colleague or customer to work out the finer details of a project. This helps avoid a large email chain, which could run on for days.
I am guilty of subscribing to a bunch of newsletters and email lists. Many of them are helpful, but I don’t like to see a ton of these emails cluttering my inbox.
Unroll.me solves this problem by bundling email subscriptions into one daily email. You can check through your favorite newsletters when you have time.
Hopefully these tools will help you & your inbox stay focused and organized. We’d love to know what’s helping you either cut down on unnecessary emails or effectively manage the emails you’re actively working on. Share away in the comments!