If you are like me, then you struggle to stay afoot with too much information coming from too many places. Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Blackberry Messenger, Facebook, and yes, I have to admit it, Yahoo!
Being a virtual hoarder is one of the banes of my life. In total, I have four e-mail accounts; all at various levels of activity. My inboxes are cluttered and unmanageable. And so it was to my delight that one morning a few weeks ago I logged into my Gmail account to see a new sifting feature which now automatically sorts my e-mails into folders; Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. It’s a small, welcomed step in the right direction for a cure to my malady.
It got me to thinking and, more importantly, spurred me on and away from my procrastination around e-mail organization. In appreciation, I decided to look at what other people are doing to combat the affliction and if there were any smart, pain-free methods available.
I found that many of us have been proactive, and have set our desktops aside in favor of an iPad or smartphone to manage inboxes. Most of the popular e-mail providers have answered the call for inbox solutions to meet changing needs, and new messaging tools and services are stemming the tide of unwanted excess e-mails resting in folders.
Statistics from email marketing and analytics firm, Litmus, show that 38 percent of email is now opened on a mobile device, compared to 33 percent on a desktop and 29 percent via Web mail.
Things are definitely starting to change and so I took the time to test five of the latest and greatest e-mail organizational products available right now:
Triage is Top Deck… Triage is one of the most simple and direct apps on the market which consolidates your inbox. The $2 iPhone e-mail app allows you to link one or more e-mail accounts to the app. Your messages appear like a stack of cards so that you flick through with ease to archive them, mark them as unread, or make a reply. It’s fast and effective, and forces your hand into making a decision as you cannot move on to your next message without making a command.
Mailbox Takes a Clean Swipe… If you are an iPhone or iPad user, then Mailbox is a must-have app to streamline your Gmail through swipe gestures. The app is quite similar to the standard Apple Mail client but it’s much easier to use. Swipe a message to the left, and Mailbox saves the e-mail for later. Swiping a message to the right and holding deletes it. A big thumbs up!
Boxer Packs A Punch… Another swipe-friendly tool, the Boxer iOS app takes organization and responsiveness to the next level. By swiping a message to the right, Boxer lists a menu of five items. The “Quick” option gives you a list of canned responses such as: “I’m out and about and will confirm shortly.” Very handy if you are on the run quite a bit. Boxer also links with Dropbox for file sharing, and syncs up with LinkedIn and Facebook to give your contacts profile cards. It’s free to download, so there’s no harm in giving it a whirl.
Mailstrom Leaves You In Control… If I am to practice what I preach and be more efficient with my e-mail accounts, then I need to hang to Mailstrom. It’s currently the king of clear-out. The service allows you sort messages by Sender, Subject, Social, Size, and Shopping. So say “adios” to all of those Facebook tag notifications in one instant and a single cluster. It’s sorting powers are unparalleled.
Google Keeps It Simple… It’s worth mentioning the tool that has been the catalyst for my change in attitude to the e-mail user experience. Simply put, the new Gmail inbox update helps users easily identify the messages that matter to them most and ignore the rest.
The five new filters also work with the Gmail Mobile app for Android and iOS. The mobile inbox doesn’t use tabbed categories; instead, small tags act as shortcuts to the Social and Promotions category folders. To use the new features, simply open Gmail, click on the gear icon on in the upper-right corner and select the Configure inbox. Then check the boxes of the tabs you want to see, and save.
Feel free to share your e-mail organization experiences with us in the comment section below.