Email. You can’t live with it; you can’t live without it. The deluge of work assignments, special offers, newsletters, and junk mail can easily spin out of control, the little number beside your inbox steadily and silently climbing, until it seems insurmountable. How do regain control of your inbox?
Thankfully, other equally-stumped minds who have faced this grueling challenge have decided to make the world a slightly better (or at least simpler) place by creating some pretty amazing apps that help you clear your inbox. Here are three of the many.
One of the biggest culprits responsible for filling up your inbox is probably subscriptions. Everything from Groupon and Facebook to Redbox and The Skimm fall under this subscriptions category. By now, you probably know which subscription emails you actually open and which ones you regularly ignore, but who takes the time to unsubscribe from each one individually?
Unroll.Me shows you a list of all your subscription emails and allows you to select which ones you don’t need anymore. Then, it unsubscribes you from all the unwanted emails in one beautiful fell swoop.
Wait—it gets better. All of the subscription emails you choose to keep will now come to you in just one email. That’s right. Unroll.Me will combine all those messages into one single daily email.
You can use this service online or as an app. And yes, it’s completely free.
If you use Gmail and have a competitive streak, this one’s for you. With this service, you’re still the one doing the decluttering, but in the form of a game with a time limit that pushes you to move quickly.
Sort through your inbox, choosing whether to reply to, delete, label, or archive your messages before you run out of time. Should you choose to reply to an email, you’re given a three-minute time limit to compose your message. Don’t want the email to be sent right away? No problem. Schedule a sending time, and the Email Game will take care of it for you.
If ticking timers, visual goals, and emoticons are your thing, give this service a try.
Once you’ve regained control of your inbox, how do you keep it from getting out of hand again? SaneBox is an invisible service that works behind the scenes of your inbox all the time, filtering your emails. You don’t have to download or install anything, and by simply entering your email and password once, this service instantly begins working on any device you use to check your email.
It distinguishes important emails from not-so-important ones, such as spam, Twitter notifications, and receipts. All the non-critical emails get sent to a folder called SaneLater, where you can look through them at your leisure.
Do you want receipts to stay in your main inbox? No problem. You can teach the system which emails should stay in your inbox and which ones should be moved to the SaneLater folder.
Additionally, you can use this service to clear out an already over-stuffed inbox. Just start the system, let it sort through your emails, and breathe a sigh of relief as your number of unread messages takes a nosedive. SaneBox also comes with other features to help you unsubscribe quickly, set reminders, “snooze” emails, and more.
A service that offers this much doesn’t come free. But you can try a free trial and then choose from reasonably priced plans, starting a $7 a month.
With email management systems like these, you can have one less reason to stress. What are your favorite tips & tricks for keeping your inbox under control?
Stay tuned for part 3 of “Declutter Your Life” to learn about apps that simplify your business life. And in case you missed it, check out Part 1 – Apps for Organizing Your Lists.