One of the best things that has happened to us as professionals is that we can get email on our phones.
One of the worst things that has happened to us as professionals is that we can get email on our phones.
Even for me, email is one of the most frustrating tasks in my job. But if you use technology to upgrade the email app you’re using to access your inbox, you can get to inbox zero faster and more efficiently. Or at least that’s the theory. I’ve yet to prove it.
To Simplify your Inbox, Use a Third-Party Email Tool
When most of us received our new smartphones, we clicked on the button called Email, entered our email info, and stuck with that technology. But the basic email apps on most phones don’t come close to the capabilities of other email tools. Here are three of my favorite third-party email apps that will make you more productive.
NOTE: Even though these are wonderful tools, configuring them to work with all your email accounts can be a total pain. I have about 5 email addresses from different domains and platforms, and I configured them in Gmail in my browser. It was a pain in the rear to say the least. And since I use Inbox by Gmail, my configurations work there as well. But if I were to switch full-time to Outlook or Astro (below), I’d have to jump through all kinds of hoops. It can be done, but it takes patience.
Inbox by Gmail
This is the app I use on my phone to access my email on the go. As you will see from the short video below, Inbox by Gmail adds a layer of artificial intelligence on top of your normal email tasks, such as replying to emails, sorting and categorizing emails and prioritizing.
Microsoft Outlook App
It’s kinda crazy that plain ole’ Microsoft Outlook makes it to this list of innovative email apps, right? In truth, it’s an awesome app that can simplify your life. Not only is it great with email triage capabilities that let you swipe to snooze, archive, reply and more… this app’s secret weapon is its calendar integration. Because Microsoft ate two of the best email/calendar tools and integrated them into its own app, you now have an inbox/calendar combo tool that keeps you from switching back and forth to make appointments.
The improvements with the Outlook apps keep coming. Here’s a recent development with the iOS version.
Not to be overly dramatic here, but Astro looks like the future of email. With most email apps, you are the active entity to get rid of your inbox clutter. Astro changes that dynamic with a proactive artificial intelligence feature called Astrobot. Astrobot sweeps through your inbox to learn what’s most important, and it helps you find tasks buried in emails. With a chat-based interface, Astrobot will gently remind you of the things your email messages told you to do… like send that report to Molly or buy flowers for Mom.
I’m really excited about Astro’s possibilities, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to get your accounts configured to send and receive from different email addresses.