As someone with multiple email accounts, a full-time job, and a full-time school schedule, I am painfully familiar with the struggle of a crowded inbox. I’m constantly catching up on threads, avoiding promotional emails I don’t remember subscribing to, and drafting responses I obsessively proofread. I can only imagine how chaotic it gets for solopreneurs managing all the different parts of a business on their own. I’ve only just discovered that email organization apps are an actual thing and now I can’t wait to try one out.
What I love about this shortlist of email organization apps is that they tackle different types of inbox problems. Personally, the sheer volume is what sends me over the edge, along with a self-created sorting system that never seems to work past those first few weeks. Others may want to schedule when email responses go out or when they see new messages coming in. A common theme I’ve heard among friends is that a significant amount of inbox stress stems from simply watching the number of new messages go up throughout the day. If you don’t have time to address each email as it comes in, you may eventually be discouraged to play catch-up.
Whether you like it or not, organization is an integral part of productivity. Having a handle on your inbox, and, well, everything else, usually promotes progress. So while you’re probably more focused on your social media strategy, I suggest looking into some of these apps if your email inbox feels beyond repair.
If your primary email address is Google, this free plugin allows you to write a response now and send it at a different time. Boomerang will also send follow-up reminders for emails you don’t get responses for, handle calendar scheduling in one step, and help you write better, actionable emails via a virtual assistant. My favorite feature is Inbox Pause, which stops new email from coming into your inbox until you’re ready to see it.
Have you subscribed to more email lists than you can count? This free service will show you a list of subscriptions you can break up or stay with. For those you keep, “The Rollup” will make the ones you love most the easiest to access. For those concerned about their data being used, here is more info on Unroll.me’s protocol.
This email organization app for Google is a level up from other options in that it completely transforms the look and feel of your inbox. It is especially helpful for teams using G-Mail, as some of its star features include being able to share emails without CC’ing or Bcc’ing, a CRM for managing sales/marketing correspondence, and extensive template gallery for color-coding your system. You can try this one for free but will have to pay once the trial ends.
Email tracking is a controversial subject. Some find it incredibly intrusive and others find it helps them to better gage communication with others. If you count yourself among the latter, Streak will let you know when and where an email you sent has been read. There’s also a sorting feature that allows you to organize messages not by when you sent them but by when they were viewed.
Email tracking is also part of this full-on productivity suite, which also boasts one-click scheduling, automation, integration with other commonly-used business tools (Salesforce, Slack, and Dropbox, to name a few), and a chatbox for collaborating on emails with team members.
On the other hand, if you’re among that rare breed who spends too much time in their inbox, this G-mail plugin will give you the ability to set a “lockout schedule” so you can get work done uninterrupted. It can also hide your inbox during time periods determined by you.
If you’re someone who reads emails as soon as they arrive and find your work suffering as a result, this one will only deliver emails to your inbox at certain times of day so you can answer messages in batches instead of individually.
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