There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who are compulsive about keeping their email inboxes as streamlined and up to date as possible, and those who have that little red “967 unread messages” notification just staring at them every time they look at their home screens. Being good at email is not an easy skill to learn, especially if you’re busy or get so much anxiety about all those useless promotional emails sitting there that you end up just never deleting them. Luckily, there are apps for keeping your email inbox under control that you can use to help you out.
We’re pretty sure that no one is inherently badass at tackling their email. It takes time and a real desire to stop letting your inbox be a hot mess, just like every other bad habit you try to kick.
If you admire the way your colleague seems to always be on top of her emails and you have a backlog from 2017 you still need to respond to, just know that they likely have used at least one of these apps or some other trick to make that happen.
In other words: Your crazy inbox is a product of the nature of email, not you. But you really should do something about your inbox if you’re not prioritizing them the right way, find yourself flooded with “deals” from every skincare company website you ever visited, or just want a better way to keep track of things.
If you’re drowning in email subscriptions, this is the app for you. Of course, you can always spend some time each day manually unsubscribing, but this gets it all done in one shot. The app collects all of the newsletters and listservs you’re subscribed to and presents them to you. You can unsubscribe with one click from the ones you don’t want and then opt to have all the ones you kept to Rollup. Instead of going to your inbox, the newsletters you want go to a separate folder you can check at will. And it’s free.
The Email Game turns sorting your email into a timed game, which means that you can “play” it whenever you’re procrastinating. At least it’s productive, right? You can choose to do some things right away, like respond or forward, or do things later. Skipping an email and leaving it in your inbox is possible, but “frowned upon” by the game’s creators. The catch is that it only works with Gmail.
Boomerang works with Gmail and Outlook and it’s an all-around great tool. It’s not going to help you sort emails, but it does allow you to decide when you want to see an email. So if your friend sent out an email about her bridal shower that’s not happening until JUNE, you can Boomerang it to have it come pinging back in May, which is a more reasonable time to RSVP and get the deets anyway. It also works for shorter term deadlines and allows you to compose and schedule emails.
This is a good one if you have a dedicated time in your schedule to sort and deal with email, but get distracted by the in real time emails that keep flowing in. This app, which works for Gmail and Outlook, allows you to pause non-essential emails for however much time you want. The emails are stored and then sent to your inbox when you want them and people are informed that you’re taking a break so they won’t think you’re rude or anything.
This is for people with a super loaded inbox. It’s not a free app, but it does work with you and help you sort through groups of emails and then archive, delete, move, and even “chill and block sender/subject.” You can make up custom rules to filter the onslaught of emails into folders, which is really helpful if you get a couple hundred emails per day.
Chuck is another app to help you filter your email by archiving, creating folders, and snoozing emails until you’re ready. It’s only available for Apple devices, though, so it’s not for everyone.
Finding an email solution is no simple task, and you’ll inevitably find that some things work better for you than others. But getting your act together when it comes to emails is absolutely necessary if you want to reduce work stress and and wake up every morning knowing that you’re not letting anything slip through the cracks and have a plan. Really, it’ll change your life.