Buried in email? Looking for creative ways to organize and sort your emails? Come along as we take a quick look at some of my favorite email apps and email organization tools. You may need this if you have over fifty emails sitting in your inbox.
Favorite Email Apps
Looking for a combination email and calendar management solution? An active iOS user, I’m often on the lookout for apps that combine a variety of tools into one multi-purpose approach. Outlook blends a simple interface for email and calendars and provides support for Microsoft OneDrive. But you don’t need to be a Microsoft enthusiast to enjoy Outlook (free) on your Android or iOS device. With a unified inbox and swipe to archive or delete feature, this makes Outlook one of your best choices. It is a solid choice for those who may not want to deviate from traditional email clients and desire a simple interface.
2- Readdle Spark
Spark‘s interface takes email management to the next level above tools like Google’s Inbox and Outlook, automatically sorting your inbox into various categories. “All new emails are smartly categorized into Personal, Notifications, and Newsletters,” reports its website. The app even includes a built-in calendar, and quick responses (e.g. “Thanks!”) for when on the go. It also has Apple Watch integration, which means you will receive updates on your Watch. Give it a try. It is one of my favorite apps.
Google’s Inbox offers many of the same features as Spark, as well as a few more. Still, I find the lack of a universal inbox to be a bit of a bother. The process to switch between multiple inboxes is problematic. It also lacks support for Microsoft accounts, which could be an impediment for those of us straddling two worlds at work, home, or both.
A relative newcomer to email, Astro features a Mac OS and iOS app. It enjoys an artificial intelligence (AI) that can help you manage your email (with Slack and Alexa support, scheduled emails, snooze emails). After using it for a week, I must confess that it works quite well. With it, I’ve managed to maintain inbox zero for my priority emails. You can add very important people (VIPs) so that they end up in your priority inbox. All others, such as newsletters, are shuttled to the “Other” category. I find the Slack integration, which allows you to read your email in an Astrobot channel, to be a time-saver. Reading my email in Slack, I’m able to archive, delete, or otherwise dispose of it from my Slack client, whether on my mobile or laptop. Astro also support multiple account types, such as Gmail, Microsoft Outlook/Office365, and others.
5-Newton (f.k.a. Cloudmagic)
The Newton app, which works on popular mobile devices (e.g. Android, iOS, Chromebook), boasts a host of awesome features (e.g. Alexa support, read receipts, send later, scheduled emails, snooze emails). Formerly known as Cloudmagic, I pulled my hair out when CloudMagic switched to a subscription service ($49.99 per year). Still, it offers one of the best cross-platform interfaces among all the apps.
Email Organization Tools
Any administrator will tell you that dealing with to-do items in their school Gmail account can be overwhelming. On a good day, you may get upwards of 50 to 100 emails. A few of those include critical tasks as opposed to information you may or may not need (e.g. “Hey boss, I’m going to need to work late on that project!” or “FYI – Look at what my co-worker and I are doing”). Two incredible add-ons will literally change how you see your email in the browser.
SortD provides some amazing tools for organizing and managing your email. Some of its primary features include a multi-column layout for your Gmail (as shown above), adjust list names, and drag-and-drop to reorder the content of each column or across columns. There are many other features, but you may want to try it out. Before you do, take a look at the other contender in this space, Drag.
2-Drag: To-Do and Task List
Looking for a quick way to organize your email into columns, as shown above? Check out the Drag add-on. The add-on works quite well and does not take over your screen like SortD does. Unlike SortD, Drag lacks a mobile interface. It works strictly in the Chrome browser, so you will have to make do with that (which is fine for Chrome users). Watch video.
What’s my current choice for email app and add-on for Gmail in the browser? My current choices include Astro for my iOS device, and I rely on the Inbox Zero approach. Not familiar with Inbox Zero? While there are plenty of blog entries and articles about it; allow me to offer some quick points:
- Sort all your email in your inbox into Action, Follow-Up, and Someday.
- Anything else, including emails you deal with, go into Gmail’s built-in archive (a.k.a. All Email).
- Use Gmail’s search tools to quickly find emails in your archive or elsewhere. It’s worth looking at this chart of Gmail search operators. My favorites include:
- after:, before:, newer: with each colon followed by the date in question
- subject: to find words in the subject line
How do you keep your inbox organized? Share some ideas in the comments.