Good old email still remains the primary mode of communication among people for varied purposes. However, all those daily newsletters, thought-of-the-day’s, promotions and the generous people who want to send millions of pounds to your bank account, can quickly crowd your inbox and bury important messages under a slushpile of rubbish. Important emails get pushed below the fold and you often miss key information because of this. And if you’ve ever tried deleting a batch of emails in one go or unsubscribing each one individually, you know how utterly unproductive that process is.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help save your time and sanity, as well as clean up your inbox, and automate follow-ups and subscriptions. From sorting your emails to reading them out aloud, here are 5 free tools that make your email a lot more productive.
No matter how many times you clean up your inbox, you cannot solve the problem unless you address the root cause, which is in this case, unmanaged subscriptions that amount to a dozen emails a day, everyday like clockwork. Every once in a while, you want to take stock of all your subscriptions and politely say ‘no, thank you’ to the ones you no longer want to receive newsletters and emails from. But doing that is a long and tedious process.
That is why Unroll.me turns out to be a fantastic tool for almost everyone who uses email. Unroll.me is a free tool that easily mass unsubscribes you from all the emails that you don’t read. You have the option to sign in to it from their website, or download the Unroll.me app. Once you do, you instantly see a list of all your subscriptions in one window, from there, you can either wipe the slate clean by unsubscribing from all, or select the ones you want to keep. You even have the option to club all your subscriptions together in just one email, called The Rollup. The Rollup then appears as one email, every day. You can open it to read what you want when you want. The rest of the time, it sits in a corner, making your inbox roomy for the important stuff.
Sortd is another nifty tool that essentially turns your Gmail into a tidy to-do list. One can see how email inboxes weren’t designed to be to-do lists, but they might as well be, as that’s where most to-do’s come from. Sortd does just that for you. It works within your Gmail, like a skin, and transforms your inbox into a super organized planner with plenty of clever functionalities that make email management a breeze. This is what your inbox looks like, once you’ve created categories for all your emails in Sortd.
You can create categories based on your needs, emails, tasks, deals, alerts, anything you like. This way, you don’t have to switch between any other apps for planning your day. You can drag important messages to the top of a list so you never lose key information under the fold. Sortd even has the option to track your sent emails so you know when someone has received/read it. To top it off, you can reply to emails right from the column view, making the entire Gmail experience faster and more productive.
For those who use multiple accounts on a daily basis, such as Mail, Drive, Calendar and more , Shift comes with a solution. Shift allows you to switch between different accounts with just one click and access all your emails streamlined. Shift also has a bevy of Chrome extensions making your email experience even more rewarding. You can access Grammarly, Asana, WhatsApp, HubSpot and much more. What’s even more convenient is Shift’s search function that brings up all your important information from any of your accounts. When all your workflows are streamlined in one place, you save a great deal of time switching between apps and make more time for the important stuff.
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It does a lot more than just managing your email. It is one of the most fascinating productivity tools we’ve come across on the web. IFTTT allows you to make what they call ‘recipes’ which open up a world of options and let you automate pretty much any action. It gets all your apps and devices communicating with each other, to do some truly amazing things. You can set up commands to the tune of ‘if this happens, do this’, and you can get as creative as you like. Being specific to email, you can add recipes like getting a text message when you get a specific email, automatically send email attachments to Dropbox, add email to-do’s as Trello cards, and a whole lot more. Visit the IFTTT website to know more about the things you can do with it and check out this nifty post on Digitaltrends.com for some of the best IFTTT recipes you can add.
FollowUp Then makes it easy to never forget an important follow up again. It happens to all of us, we send out an email and eagerly anticipate a reply for a few days, but wait to follow up yet, as that seems a little too desperate. We think we’ll wait a week before following up, and then, we forget.
Well, FollowUp Then helps you never be in such a predicament again, as it automates the follow ups for you, and does so in a super simplistic manner that’s easy for the busiest people. You can decide when you want to send out a follow up email right at the time of composing the email, and you can even decide how the follow up will happen. Here’s how it works:
First, you compose an email. Then, all you need to do is add a tag in the format of [any time]@followupthen.com.
Now you can be as flexible in the [any time] area. You could say
Or anything else really, you can automate FollowUp Then to send out a follow up email any time you like.
Now, how that follow up happens depends on where you put the @followupthen. If you do so in the Bcc field, you’ll receive a follow up email, without anything going out to the original recipient. In the Cc field, the tool will schedule a reminder for both you and the recipient. If you add it in the To field, the tool will send an email to your future self. You can decide how you wish to be reminded of the follow up, and FollowUp Then will do the rest. This way, you never forget a critical follow up again.
There are other tools out there. Google’s own Google Inbox makes the Gmail experience better, there are Special Stars within Gmail and there are paid tools like SaneBox. But the above 5 are the most intuitive, useful and free tools that make email management more productive and allow you to do more with your day. So go ahead, try them out, and tell us what you think.
About the author:
Hiral Atha is the Founder & CEO of MoveoApps, a mobile apps development agency. She has over 13 Years of experience in the IT industry. During that time she managed and lead many app initiatives from inception to implementation. Atha holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology.