I get quite a lot of email – not as much as someone like Bill Gates, but enough to make Gmail inbox management a painful, time-consuming chore. In the old days, I filtered. I still do, but things are much less work thanks to a new tools and applications.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few things that anybody out there who is not actively managing their inbox can do to live a less stressed, more comfortable life. Note that while some of these suggestions will work for other email providers, for now the majority are Gmail only. Mailbox, for example, currently only supports Gmail. This may change in the future, but for now Gmail stands apart from other email providers because of the level of integration that it allows and the ease with which a bulging inbox can be whipped into shape.Play the Email Game
Whenever things get out of control, I set aside 5-10 minutes to play the Email Game. It presents your inbox to you one message at a time with a nice minimalistic action panel that allows you to delete, archive, boomerang (see our previous review) or skip. Clearing a mail takes mere seconds. I also love that it gives a time limit for responses (it can be paused for important stuff).Install Mailbox
Mailbox was already my favorite mobile email client before they introduced multi-finger swiping. Now, they stand way out in front of the rest of the pack. Swiping right to the edge of the screen deletes, swiping to around the half-way point archives… and you can shake to undo. Swiping your way out of trouble saves a lot of time.
If you are embarrassed about the high number of unread mails in your inbox, they have a trick for that too – in the settings, go to “App badge count” and select “Show ’1′ for new messages’ – alternatively you can not show the count at all, but it is nice to have a visual reminder that you have new mail waiting for you.Get an Unroll.me subscription
Unroll.me is fast becoming one of my favorite filtering services. It takes all of the mailing list emails out of your inbox and rolls them into one big email – with a nice, clean layout. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of those mails are going to be things that you don’t read on a regular basis anyway. I like my daily currency reports from Lloyds Bank, but I only open them when I am going to send money somewhere. Unroll.me is a great catch-all for that kind of thing. Just be careful to monitor the settings and check it each day – it is automated, so it occasionally catches things that you don’t want it to pick up.
Interestingly, the filtering system on Unroll.me kicks in a second or two after my Mailbox notifications – so it is not a substitute for managing the notifications in your social networks.Filter straight to archive (or trash)
You will probably still find that the odd bit of spam or semi-spam beats the Unroll.me. If it becomes too repetitive, the best way to deal with it is to create a custom filter. Word to the wise: I prefer not to filter based on address because that can change and sometimes you will find that a marketer hits you with mail from multiple addresses. I filter based on elements in the subject heading and/or the name of the business. Adding a tag to the filter is handy for taking bulk action on multiple mails of a similar type.
If it is something I might read later, I make sure that it goes to archive. If not, I send it straight to trash.Adjust the settings on your social network accounts
In the old pre-smartphone days, it was somewhat handy to get email notifications from social networks. These days it is unnecessary and annoying. If you have push notifications and badges on your phone, then you have all you need. You only need your updates from one source – so turn off email notifications… unless you do a lot of traveling without your phone.When in doubt, archive
I am surprised that more people have not embraced the archive feature on Gmail. I remember the first time I used it, it caused a little bit of panic. I could not see something in my inbox. Was it still there? Would I be able to find it again? Rest assured it is there and everything can be easily found. If you archive religiously, it will be the first place that you look.
My policy on archival is as follows. If something requires short-term action, i.e. an editing assignment that is due in a few days, then I keep it in my inbox. Once I do what needs to be done, it goes in the archive. It gives me a permanent record of all of the work that I do, prices that were agreed upon, that kind of thing.Suggestions
These are by no means the only means of keeping things under control and we are always open to new ideas. If you have something for us, please feel free to leave a comment or send us a Tweet.
Want to play the most epic and complicated game of all time?
Now you can.
Risky Settlers Knights and Allies of the Lords of Dominion of Earth: Pandemic Edition. I need to play it immediately.
Check out the video after the break.
One of the cool parts about Doctor Who is how it’s always in motion. The actors change, the TARDIS control room changes, and the opening credits change. Personally, I’m not a fan of the current version. It’s okay, but this imagining by VFX artist Xandercom is simply spectacular. He did this for free and all by himself. Let’s hope Steven Moffat has someone give him a phone call.
Watch the improved intro after the break.
If you ever wondered if someone has tracked all of the recurring jokes in Arrested Development, wonder no more.
The folks at Beuler Ink have created Recurring Developments; a nifty interactive infographic experience for all of your recurring joke lineage needs.
Want to see how often Buster’s hand gets eaten by a seal? They have that info.
Just be prepared, before you click, to spend some time at the site. You’ll need want it.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have never been particularly intimidating superheroes, but that’s about to change. Artist Ian Olsen has designed a realistic version of Leonardo that will have you looking at the team in a whole new way. Finally, a version of the turtles that looks tough and absolutely lethal. Now, if we can just get this version on a movie screen, then that’d be something to see.
See more pictures after the break…
This is absolutely the most brilliant university ad that has ever been created. It’s for the University of East Anglia which just happens to be Matt Smith’s alma mater. He studied drama and creative writing there, graduating back in 2005. They have a pretty impressive list of graduates, but I think graduating a Time Lord really does have all the others beat.