Typically, I manage email accounts with the tools provided by the email service I'm using, Gmail or Outlook. The tools they supply, though not extraordinary, serve me very well and with customized settings, filters, flags, labels and rules I am able to manage email accounts efficiently and productively. My clients like the simple solid look of their accounts and the fact that their systems are lean and very flexible. Working this way allows me to have a nice tight control on the correspondence and the filing; for me and my clients, this system works beautifully.
That being said, I think it's safe to say that a lot of people don't have access to an assistant nor an email management specialist to do do this work for them, or they do but their personal email inbox is overflowing and they need help managing that. No matter, there are a lot of people who need an automated email management tool and as part of my 'New Year. New Tool' challenge I went in search of just that. My prerequisites: it had to be solid, reliable, easy-to-install, easy-to-use and accurate.
And I found it. SaneBox. In a nutshell, SaneBox is about smart filtering. Very smart filtering, my friends.
SaneBox works with your existing mail service so you don't have to install new apps or learn a new interface. It goes into your email on the back-end and figures out what's important to you and moves what's not important to their SaneLater folder, all the while leaving the important emails in your inbox. There are other folders and services they offer that you can use to filter your emails, making it even easier for you to process your work. What makes SaneBox extremely interesting to me is that it is customize-able. It allows you to take the lead and train it to filter emails to the SaneBox folder of your choosing.
I installed SaneBox on one of my already organized email accounts thinking I would have to undo some filters and rules to see the full benefits of its services. Before I could do anything SaneBox went to work on my inbox. I was surprised to see how fast it worked and to what level it was filtering and organizing my already quite lean inbox. Once I saw this automatic filtering in action I saw how I could take it further and make me even more productive. I turned on some of the the other options offered (SaneBlackHole, SaneReminders, SaneNoReplies, etc) and saw more intelligent filtering happen. Further proof that there is room for improvement everywhere.
SaneBox pricing is subscription-based product with three levels (plus a business tier) at very reasonable monthly, yearly and bi-yearly rates (with discounts).
I love that I was able to find a tool that I can recommend to clients, friends and family. As it turns out you can teach an old dog (me) new tricks.
Next week: I look at Todoist, my long-time favorite task management app.