Email can be a wonderful thing -- until it becomes unruly. It's on your home computer, work computer, mobile phone and tablet, and most likely across multiple email services. You have business messages, personal messages, reminders, invites, newsletters and so much spam. Where is that email invoice for your most important client? Can't remember if you emailed your vendor about a change in schedule? It's not a good situation.
The good news is your email inbox doesn't have to be a source of stress and frustration. These tools can help you clean up your out-of-control inbox while making sure you don't miss any important messages.
This free online tool categorizes all of the email in your account so that you can quickly review, archive and delete messages in bulk. Sort your incoming messages by sender, subject, social or shopping. Choose every item in the list with a single click then choose an action. Mailstrom relays that information to your actual inbox and moments later the posts are either deleted or archived. You can also assign Gmail labels and set up rules to handle recurring messages.
It works with Gmail, Microsoft Outlook.com and other email services that are enabled for IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), a standard method of accessing and storing mail on a mail server. Since you can add multiple email accounts, you can see all of your incoming messages on one page. Even better, Mailstrom has a one-click unsubscribe button so you can rid yourself of future list emails without having to go through them one by one.
With Triage, your messages show up on your smartphone as index cards. Flick the card up and it goes into your archive. Flick in down and it stays in your inbox. If you need more detail, you can open the message and even reply to it if you have time.
With Triage on your phone, you can clear two dozen messages while waiting in line at the bank. The app works with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud Mail accounts and most email services that support IMAP. The only downside is that it can't handle more than one email account at a time.
Triage is available for all devices using iOS 6 or later and costs $1.99.
3. Boomerang for Gmail
For people who use their Gmail inbox as a to do list, there's Boomerang. This app archives your messages then sends them to you or another recipient on the scheduled date. Need to follow up on an email after a conference? Send the email to Boomerang and the app will send it back when it's time to respond. Client gone on vacation? Write the email now when you're thinking of it and schedule it to be delivered a few days after their return. Boomerang can even send a message back to you if the recipient doesn't reply within the time frame.
Boomerang is available online as well as an app for Android.
The service connects with Gmail or Google apps and it's free for up to 10 messages a month. For $4.99 a month you can get unlimited messages on Gmail or pay $14.99 for unlimited messages with a Google apps email address.
If you want email downtime but are afraid of missing an important message, consider signing up for AwayFind. This app can send you a text message, voice call or push notification when you receive a specified email. You can set it to watch for a specific subject or an incoming email address such as an investor or a major client.
The service connects with Gmail, Google Apps and most providers that use IMAP. Accounts start at $4.99 a month for up to 100 alerts and one email account. For $14.99 you can monitor up to five accounts and receive 1,000 alerts including voice alerts. If you need more, there's a $49.99 Max account with unlimited email address and alerts.