You're not the only one overwhelmed with emails. The average person receives over 120 emails a day. This crowds their inbox and hides their 36 most important emails.

With this guide, you will discover the best ways to manage your email inbox, including tips, tricks, hacks, and tools. This guide is intended for anyone who wants to improve their email productivity but doesn't know where to begin. There are also some useful tips and tricks in this guide for those who already have a good handle on their inbox but want to take it a step further by using some additional tools, tips, or tricks. Though inbox zero enthusiasts may have their inbox under control through email filters and boolean logic, this guide may shed light on some additional insights that can help them truly master their inbox.

How to use this guide to maximize inbox productivity

The guide has been organized into different sections based on the type of strategy or suggestion. It includes sections on habits, browser extensions, inbox features, and more. The sections themselves aren't meant to be ordered or sorted in any way according to importance or value. Certain sections may be of greater value to some email users than others. 

Throughout each section, please bear in mind that it is not intended for you to apply all 101 tips, tricks, hacks, or tools to make your inbox more productive. If you follow all of the 101 tips, it is counterintuitive and will overcomplicate an issue that is, as you will read, very manageable and within reach.

Habits and Behavior Changes

In order to get control of your inbox, one of the most important things that you can do is to rethink how you look at email. Discover some of the most effective habits and changes you can make to maximize your inbox productivity.

  1. Timeboxing
Timebox: A Clock in a Box

The timeboxing method refers to setting aside specific periods of time for certain tasks. Similar to the Pomodoro technique, in which you set aside 25 minutes to do a task, creating a window of time to handle your inbox to get through your emails is an effective way to stay focused on your tasks. Once the timer expires, you're done with your inbox and ahead to another, likely more important, task.

Tip: Next time you are in a workflow and see an email notification, ignore it. Make a mental note to spend 30 dedicated minutes in your day going through your inbox. Doing so will keep you focused on what you’re currently doing while helping you avoid the constant distractions as well as the never-ending-rabbit-hole of your inbox.

  1. Limit Email Checking
Many email windows open

It is not unusual for email users to check their inbox up to eleven times a day. That’s a lot of interruptions in a workday on top of the countless times swiping away and checking notifications. 

You can keep yourself focused and productive by limiting the number of times you check your inbox each day. After all, it takes about 23 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.

Tip: Set up regular check-ins with your inbox for tomorrow. First, after your morning coffee or when you’re ready to start your day. Second, leading up to a lunch break. Third, following your lunch break,  and finally, your fourth check as you’re winding down for the day. See how limiting your inbox check-ins keep you productive.

  1. Triage System
Email Triage System

Developing a system or process for efficiently managing your emails is one of the most effective ways to increase productivity. A triaging system can be used to deal with emails as you start to go through them over a set period. Having a system in place for responding to emails by urgency can help you stay focused on the most urgent emails, so you can move through your inbox quickly and move on to other tasks.

Tip: As you go through your email workflow, identify urgent emails and action them immediately. For other and less urgent emails, you can assign them to a new folder, label, or mark an item in a to-do list to review them later in the day or week.

  1. Eisenhower Matrix
Eisenhower Matrix

In case you don't have a plan or method to organize your inbox, you should adopt decision-making frameworks like the Eisenhower Matrix to help you prioritize your emails.

By distinguishing between important and urgent tasks, the Eisenhower Matrix helps you improve your task efficiency.

Utilizing the Eisenhower Matrix will aid you in navigating your email workflow effectively. DO, means to respond to Urgent and Important emails as soon as possible. PLAN to respond to Important and Non-Urgent emails. DELEGATE urgent and unimportant emails and finally DROP, archive, or mark unimportant and non-urgent emails as read.

  1. Getting Things Done (GTD)
Getting Things Done

According to productivity expert David Allen, the Getting Things Done system emphasizes taking actionable steps to remove clutter from your mind, so you can keep your focus on the most important tasks to maximize productivity.

Every time you work through your email, you can apply Getting Things Done, or GTD, to your inbox. The first question to ask yourself when you come across an email is, "Can I do anything about it?”. If you answered "Yes", go to the next step, if not, archive it. When it comes to the emails you can action, you should analyze whether you can do so in less than two minutes. If you can, then action the email immediately, whether that means replying, forwarding, or doing something else prescribed in the message.  If you are not able to resolve a problem within 2 minutes, set a reminder for yourself to handle it at a later time.

  1. OHIO - Only Handle It Once
Only Handle it Once

Applying Only Handle It Once, or OHIO, can speed up your workflow and eliminate unnecessary back and forth with your outgoing email. You will be able to restrict the number of interactions you have with email in your inbox using OHIO because if a message is worth acting on, then you will act on it. Maintain discipline by enforcing OHIO so that emails do not linger in your inbox.

Tip: Try using OHIO for a day. As you receive an email that can be actioned immediately, then do it. If not, then you can assign a label or mark it as unread so you can return to it for the second and last touchpoint. 

  1. Inbox Zero
Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero, a popular email philosophy developed by productivity guru Merlin Mann, encourages the use of processes and frameworks to limit the amount of mental time spent on inboxes. Spending less time thinking about your inbox will free up your mental capacity for more important tasks.

Often confused with the concept of driving your inbox to zero unread emails, Mann's original concept was more philosophical in nature and combined different strategies and concepts to limit your interaction with your email. 

Tip: Become more aware of how you think about your inbox throughout the day. When you catch yourself thinking about emails, be mindful of the fact that those exact thoughts are limiting your ability to focus on other tasks. Think up ways you can spend less time thinking about your inbox by taking up a framework like GTD to get through your emails quickly so you’re spending less time on your inbox.



  1. Limit Email Notifications
Disable and Limit Email Notifications

Nowadays there are notifications on almost everything. They are not only on your smartphone, but also on your computer, smartwatch, and even headphones to distract you. If you are having difficulty keeping focused, snoozing, or even limiting some of your notifications may help.

Tip: The next time you’re headed into a focused workflow, try snoozing your email notifications on all devices. The added focus will do wonders for your productivity.  



  1. Write Shorter Emails
Write Shorter Emails

Email is a great way to communicate, but sometimes it isn't the best platform to use if you want to convey lots of detailed information. It is not only time-consuming to read long emails, but they could raise more questions by stretching the email's point out.

Make your emails more concise by shortening them. It is important to limit your emails to no more than 3-5 sentences to eliminate any fluff, stick to the point, and encourage actionable next steps. In the case that an email needs more information, then set up a meeting or have the discussion take place somewhere else to enable a two-way discussion to occur. Both you and your receivers will find that short emails eliminate some back and forth between them that can clog up your inbox.



  1. Use a Secondary Email Address
Use a Secondary Email Address

Want to avoid clogging your inbox with newsletters, ebooks, mailing lists, and other marketing content? Keep your primary inbox clean and tidy by setting up a new email address and using it for signing up for free trials and newsletters.


  1. You Don’t Need to Reply
Don't Reply to All Emails

It might sound somewhat controversial, but the best way to prevent emails from ending up in your inbox is to not reply to every email that comes your way. Responding may require another response, which will add to your inbox of back-and-forth emails. Instead of replying to an email, consider taking the conversation elsewhere to acknowledge receiving it or to continue the discussion.


  1. Reply All Email Etiquette
Reply All Email Etiquette

While replying to all can save a lot of time on some email threads, it can also add a lot of unnecessary clutter to receivers' inboxes. The next time that you’re considering hitting reply all, consider if it is absolutely necessary. Emails can be divided into chains, and topics can be discussed in different channels such as slack or over the phone.


  1. Set Email Expectations
Set Email Expectations

To ensure that the people you are frequently emailing are aware of your inbox boundaries, you should develop the habit of setting expectations with them.

Establishing email boundaries and expectations can reduce email anxiety while helping you focus on more important tasks. Consider using an auto-reply if you're working on a project with a tight timeline. This will communicate your current workload and any delays you may have in responding to emails.


  1. Don’t Delete Emails
Don't Delete Emails

The need to delete emails is a thing of the past. Our inboxes have more than enough storage space to keep all of our important emails for a long time. Aside from that, you never know if you might need a particular email down the road. Archiving your emails is a better option If you ever want to retrieve old emails from your inbox then archiving is the way to go. There is nothing more frustrating than wasting time trying to find a deleted email

Tip: Mark emails as read and they will archive themselves in Gmail. For outlook, hit the Archive button to automatically send an email out of your inbox.


  1. Make Your Emails Work Harder for You
Make Email work Harder

We believe that every email you send should not only be worth reading but should also provide vital information that we like to call the "so what?".” of an email. This means that every email includes next steps, actionable insights, or something to conclude a task or project. 

When you write your next email, think of how you can include something valuable or actionable so your recipients can avoid a lot of back and forth. Both your time and the recipients will thank you.


  1. Make productive use of your subject lines
Make Email Subject Lines Effective

Having a strong subject line is an integral part of an email, allowing the recipient to get a sense of the email's content by revealing just enough information that tells them whether or not they should read it. 

Many people do not use the subject line in a way that adds value to their email. You should try to ensure that the subject line is clearly highlighting the core information of the email rather than just using it ambiguously to save some back and forth between the parties


  1. Use Rich Text and Bold Key Phrases
Add Markup and Bold to Email

If you're sending a long email (be sure to limit it to 3-5 sentences as outlined in tip #9), you might want to consider highlighting key phrases to make the email easier to read.

Marking up your emails can be a very helpful way of highlighting important information. In addition, you’ll be saving the reader some time by providing them with visual cues as to the most important parts of your email. They will thank you later.

Top Gmail Inbox Features

Google has developed several features aimed at making your inbox more productive. You can enhance the performance of your email inbox by implementing some of these features. While some of them are no-brainers, others are a little lesser-known


  1. Email Labels
Gmail How To: Email Labels

Labels in Gmail are a convenient way to organize your inbox. Emails can be categorized and organized by using labels to make them easier to retrieve in the future.

By using labels, you can quickly identify the importance of an email without having to read the entire message. Labels can be used in many ways. For example, you can assign labels to important clients or other senders you can easily see when an urgent or important email has landed in your inbox.

  1. Email Sub-Labels
Gmail How To: Email Sublabels

Organize your emails more efficiently by adding sublabels to emails that already have labels to create a filing hierarchy. If you follow the Eisenhower Matrix described in Tip #4, you could create a label for Important emails with sub-labels for Urgent and Not-urgent.

  1. Auto Forward
Gmail How To: Auto Forward

When you receive emails that you do not have to look at or review and yet you have to forward them to another person, then you will need Auto Forward. By using automatic forwarding, you will be able to remove yourself from the middle-man role and automatically forward certain emails to another email address.

Some of the best use cases for Auto Forward include bill payment requests or invoices from vendors and clients that need to go to your finance team. Why not set up an auto-forward to remove the time needed to do it yourself to be more productive?

  1. Email Templates
Gmail How To: Email Templates

Depending on your role, you may have to send the same email over and over again. The good news is that Gmail comes with Email Templates that allow you to make prewritten emails which you can quickly change or send with a single click from your inbox

Reduce the time spent writing out a lot of commonly sent emails such as cold outreach, follow-ups, confirmation emails, and team collaboration emails.

  1. Email List Unsubscribe
Gmail How To: Email Unsubscribe

Getting buried in newsletters, mailing lists, and spam is a sure way to kill your inbox productivity. Finding the unsubscribe button can sometimes be like looking for a needle in a haystack. If you need to unsubscribe from mailing lists, then use Gmail's built-in unsubscribe feature which recognizes the unsubscribe button in an email newsletter automatically so that you won't have to


You don't need to waste time scrolling through a newsletter's footer to unsubscribe. Simply click the unsubscribe button in Gmail to remove the newsletter from your inbox.

  1. Keyboard Shortcuts
Gmail How To: Email Shortcuts and Hotkeys

Learn Gmail keyboard shortcuts to navigate your inbox more efficiently by saving the time you would normally spend scrolling through your inbox. With shortcuts, you can easily respond, mark as read, archive, and more while working through your inbox timebox or email triage.

  1. Email Auto-Advance
Gmail How To: Auto Advance

The Email Auto-Advance is a little-known but great feature that lets you automatically open the next message within your inbox when you work through your emails without having to return to your email list view.

To enable Auto-Advance navigate to settings, advanced, and enable Auto-Advance.  


  1. Undo Send
Gmail How To: Undo Send

Have you ever sent an email that contained a typo, inaccurate information, or you sent it to the wrong person? You’re not alone. Thanks to Undo Send, you don't have to worry about sending an incorrect email by adding a short delay to actually sending your email the moment you hit send, so you can cancel an email before it gets sent

It can be time-consuming to adjust a mistake in an email that has been sent. Undoing a sent email to quickly correct an error can easily be done by setting up undo send.

To enable Undo Send, head over to settings, and go to Undo Send in the General Tab. Select how much time you want to delay sending your email and you’re all set.


 

  1. Email Categories
Gmail How To: Email Categories

Organize your email inbox by organizing them as tabs in your Gmail inbox. This way, you will be able to focus more on the important emails and improve your inbox productivity. With pre-built categories such as Social, Promotions, and other "Call to Action" emails, your inbox will automatically organize itself based on the type of email you receive.

To enable Categories in Gmail go to Settings, See all settings, and change Inbox type to Categories.

  1. Gmail Tasks
Gmail How To: Tasks in Gmail

Using Gmail Tasks to keep track of your tasks straight from your Gmail inbox is a smart way to stay on top of what you're doing if you like to keep a task list or to-do list to keep on top of your workflow.

Since much of your work is already done in your inbox, why not keep your task list there as well? To enable Gmail Tasks, open Gmail on desktop and click Tasks on the right sidebar. If the sidebar isn’t open, click the arrow to open it.


 

  1. Gmail Keep for Note Taking 
Gmail How To: Keep Notes in Gmail

Need to make a note about some added context for an email? How about a reminder to respond to or follow up on a certain thread? Then Gmail Keep is for you. Keep allows you to jot down notes, access reminders, and checkable lists of items across all your devices so that you can stay on top of everything.

Enable Gmail Keep and continue working from within your inbox by clicking the Keep icon on the right sidebar.


  1. Inbox Snooze
Gmail How To: Snooze

Snooze is a great way of postponing emails that you want to read later. If you are performing a GTD session, following the Eisenhower Matrix, or following the OHIO method, then you can use Gmail's Snooze to do so. The Snooze feature allows you to temporarily remove emails from your inbox until you are ready to react to them.

Snoozing an email to return to it later that day, week, or longer can help you move through your email workflow easier.


  1. Priority Inbox
Gmail How To: Priority Inbox

The priority inbox feature of Gmail may be useful if you only have time to pay attention to important emails. In Gmail, Priority is a category that filters emails that you are likely to interact with and places them in a tab of their own.

As Gmail learns of your usage patterns, it will assign a likelihood to how likely you are to engage with a message over time. In the end, the result is an inbox that highlights the emails that you need to review, and that you should pay attention to.

To enable Priority Inbox go to Settings, Inbox Type, and select Priority Inbox.


  1. Use an Email Signature
How To: Email Signature

A signature can be used for more than just a reminder of your contact information. You can set up an email signature to take care of email sign-offs as a quick productivity hack. When your inbox can automatically sign off with "Best Regards" or "Thanks," it can save you the time of manually signing off. Saving a few seconds with every email goes a long way.

To edit your signature go to Settings, See All Settings and scroll down in the General Tab.


  1. Smart Compose
How To: Outlook Smart Compose

Gmail will make your writing life easier by providing you with suggested phrases as you compose an email, so you aren't wasting time typing out whole sentences when you reply, forward, or send an email.

Smart Compose improves over time so be sure to enable it by going to Settings, All Settings, and enabling it in the General Tab.


Top Outlook Inbox Features

Outlook has many features that improve your inbox experience. Take a look at the following list to make sure you're getting the most from Outlook.


  1. Email Folders
How To: Outlook Folders

If the emails are well organized, a quick glance at the number of unread emails in an email folder can give you quite a lot of insight. You know it's a good use of your time to deal with certain types of emails first when you prioritize certain types of emails in a folder and you see the unread count increase.

Tip: Set up email folders to compliment your email processes such as an Eisenhower Matrix or OHIO email method. 


  1. Favorite Folders
How To: Outlook Add a Folder to Favorites

If you're using your email folders effectively, your most important folders should be added to your favorites in the sidebar. If you have several folders set up, you can save time by adding a folder to your favorites. In this way, you can easily access your most frequently used or important email folders without having to scroll down.


  1. Use Quick Parts
How To: Outlook Quick Parts

In Outlook, you can utilize the Quick Parts feature to save yourself from repeatedly typing the same phrases and sentences. For those of you who send sales emails, respond to customer inquiries, or send repetitive emails, you may find it useful to use Quick Parts to quickly include a small snippet or block of text in your composed email in a single click.


  1. Using Delay Delivery to Schedule Emails
How To: Outlook Delay Delivery

Delay Delivery lets you schedule an email to go out when it’s most appropriate to do so. It can save you from having to log back into Outlook to send the email at some future time by using Delay Delivery.

No need to worry about the optics of sending off an email at 10 PM when you can schedule it for first thing in the morning.


  1. Use Quick Steps to Automate Email Actions
How To: Outlook Quick Step Automation

You might be tired of manually forwarding, flagging, or moving emails around in folders. Let Outlook handle the job for you with automation so you don't have to do it yourself. By using Quick Steps, you can automate common email actions to save time and be more productive. By using one-click, or hotkey-enabled quick steps, you'll be able to browse through your emails even faster.


  1. Conversation Cleanup
How To: Outlook Conversation Cleanup

If you need to clean up some space in your Outlook inbox then Conversation Cleanup is for you. Keeping all the emails that belong to a long conversation thread in your inbox doesn't make sense. Let Outlook purge the redundant emails that belong to a long conversation.

Removing redundant conversation emails that are captured in the body of the last email not only takes up space but also clutters your inbox. You will find it easier to retrieve emails once you've removed all the repetitive emails that are not only inconvenient but dated as well.


  1. Focused Inbox
How To: Outlook Focused Inbox

With Focused Inbox, Outlook's email inbox is divided into two sections - Focused and Other. This is where your prioritized emails are, messages that require immediate attention. Everything else will be under the other tab.

When you’re working through your inbox session in Outlook, you can use the Focused Inbox to prioritize which emails you need to attend to first. 


  1. Delegate Access to Your Mail and Calendar
How To: Outlook Delegate Access

Have an emergency? Headed on vacation? Or maybe you just want someone to manage your busy email inbox for you. With Outlook's delegate access feature, you can add someone to your inbox and calendar so that they can help you manage your inbox if you’re unable to or just need some additional support. 

When you're stuck within a deadline, granting access to your email and calendar can keep things moving along. In the future, when you know you won't be able to check your inbox for a while, consider giving it a go - your team and inbox will appreciate the more productive approach.


  1. Encrypted Email
How To: Outlook Encrypted Email

It is very easy to encrypt an email, and any attachments, in Outlook so that the information you send will be kept secure and out of the reach of unwanted third parties. By using Outlook's Encrypted Email function, you will avoid the hassle of arranging a meeting or a call to share sensitive information. 

To send an encrypted email go to Message Options, select Encrypt and select the encryption option that works for you, such as Encrypt-Only or Do Not Forward.


  1. Do Not Disturb
How To: Outlook Encrypted Email

You may find it helpful to temporarily mute and pause notifications if you are getting into a workflow. With Outlook's Do Not Disturb feature, you can avoid distractions so that you can focus on what you need to do.

Tip: Next time you wrap up an inbox session, hit Do Not Disturb and temporarily pause notifications and see if you can improve your productivity while avoiding inbox distractions.


Email Filters and Rules

Gmail and Outlook both have automated features that allow you to organize your email inbox as emails are received. This will save you time from manually triaging your emails by automatically categorizing and flagging them.

Here is a list of some of the best filters and rules to organize your inbox automatically.


  1. Auto Archive (Gmail and Outlook)
Archive Email

Whenever unsubscribing is not possible and you do not want to waste time on useless emails, put in an automated rule or filter to archive the email as soon as they are received. Emails you are sure don't deserve your time (or your attention) will be archived automatically.

To set up Auto Archive on Gmail, open the advanced search function and enter your criteria for the types of emails that you want to automatically archive when received. Then hit Create Filter, check Skip the Inbox (Archive It), and click Create Filter to finalize the setup.


 

  1. Mark as Important (Gmail)
Email Mark as Important

Some emails are more important than others - so why not automatically mark them so?
It is easy to create an email filter that marks important emails automatically. The important label also makes it easier to identify emails from your inbox once you've attached it to them, which simplifies email triage as you navigate through your inbox.

To set up a Mark as Important Filter, open the advanced search function and enter your criteria for the emails you want to be marked as important when they are received. Then hit Create Filter and check Always Mark it as Important, and click Create Filter again.

  1. Assign to a Label or Folder
Email Folder and Email Label

Automate the process of assigning an email to a label to save you time. Using automatic labels makes it easier to retrieve emails later if needed.

To Assign an email to a label, open the advanced search function and enter the criteria for the emails you want to assign a label to when they are received. Then hit Create Filter and check Apply The Label and choose an existing label or create a new one, and click Create Filter again to finalize the setup.

 

  1. Auto Forward
Gmail How To: Auto Forward

Is there anything more convenient than setting up automatic email forwarding? Nope. To simplify the process of triaging certain types of emails, you can set up auto-forwarding for specific emails you don't need to review. 

To automatically forward emails to another contact, enter the criteria for the emails you want to be automatically forwarded. Then hit Create Filter, Check Forward it to and select the email address to forward it to. To add a new email address to forward emails to click Add forwarding address. Gmail will direct you to your inbox settings where you then have to click Add a forwarding address. The contact you want to forward emails to will receive a confirmation email to enable the auto-forward. Once verified, click Save Changes.

  1. Mark as Read
Unread Email

You may not need to review all emails, but they might be useful to keep around in case you need them later on. With the ability to mark emails as read automatically, you can save some time from your triage timebox.

To automatically mark some emails as Read so your Unread counter doesn’t get impacted by particularly less-important emails, open the advanced search function and enter the criteria for the emails you want to have marked as read to when they are received. Then hit Create Filter and check Mark as Read, and click Create Filter again to finalize the setup.

  1. Avoid the Spam Folder
Spam Icon

No matter what you do, sometimes emails end up in your Spam folder. In addition to marking an email as Not Spam, you can set up a filter to ensure those emails always land in your inbox and NOT in your spam folder.

To ensure some emails will never land in your Spam folder, open the advanced search function and enter the criteria for the emails you want to avoid your SPAM folder when they are received. Then hit Create Filter and check Never Send it to Spam, and click Create Filter again to finalize the setup.


  1. Make a To-do List of Emails you Send Yourself 
Task Icon

Many people send themselves emails as a reminder to do something - if you are one of those people, you should create a Gmail filter that prioritizes these emails to make an on-the-go to-do list. By applying a filter of emails from yourself that applies a label, you can make sure that any email reminder you send yourself can be easy to action.

To set up an email filter to act as a to-do list every time you send yourself an email, open the advance search and enter from:me and to:me to create a filter for emails sent to yourself and from yourself when they are received. Then hit Create Filter and Apply the Label and choose an existing label or create a new one, and click Create Filter again to finalize the setup.


Inbox Search Tips

Find the exact email that you want in just a few seconds by using a search operator to cut down on scrolling and sorting through emails. With both Gmail and Outlook having advanced search capabilities, it's easy to find emails that were seemingly lost in a haystack of emails.


  1. Display all Emails from a Sender
Searchbar to display emails by Sender

A cluttered inbox can make it difficult to find emails from the right people. By searching according to the sender, you are able to narrow your results and make your life much easier. All emails sent by a specific email sender such as your boss, a partner, or a client will be displayed in the list.

To find all emails from a specific contact, enter FROM:[email address] followed by their email address in the search bar to see a list of all emails from them. Alternatively, you can use the advanced search function.

  1. Display all Emails with an Attachment
Searchbar to display emails with attachments

There are times when you need to locate a document in your inbox but don't remember who sent it or what it was called. When you choose to display your emails with attachments, you can refine your search to make it easier to find the email you're looking for.

To display all emails with an attached document, spreadsheet, or file, type “has:attachment” or click on the advanced search options button and check “Has attachments”.

  1. Display all Emails based on a Timeframe
Searchbar to display emails by time frame

If you want to find emails that are received regularly, such as bills, searching your inbox by date can be helpful. You can make it much easier to find emails that you're looking for by displaying emails from a certain time period instead of scrolling across older, or newer, emails.

To search your inbox based on a given timeframe, enter “before:YYYY/MM/DD” or “after:YYYY/MM/DD”. You can also use the Date Within fields after clicking the advanced search options button.

Tip: If you want to search for emails between to time dates, you can use both before and after operators in one search.

  1. Display all Emails based on a Label
Searchbar to display emails by label

When you search for emails with a certain label, like Important, or any other custom label, you can easily display a list of relevant emails so you can find exactly what you're looking for.

To search for emails based on a label, type “label:[label name]” to display all emails in that label. 


  1. Display all Emails based on a Search Term
Searchbar to display emails based on a search phrase

Using a search term to search through emails can make it easy to display and retrieve messages based on their content. This can be helpful when you need to look for emails about a certain project or task but can’t recall who else was on the thread or what the email subject was.

If you want to show all emails that contain a search term or phrase, you can simply type in the term in the search bar or use advanced search options enting keywords and phrases into Has the Words and Doesn’t Have for more precise searching.

  1. Display all Unread Emails in your Inbox
Searchbar to display unread emails

One of the most common Gmail search queries is to display all emails marked with the label unread. This allows you to systematically go through all of your unread emails without having to worry about sorting or scrolling past emails that you’ve already read. 

To display all unread emails in your inbox type “label:unread” and you will receive a list of unread emails regardless of any additional filters or labels.


  1. Display all Emails based on who they were sent to
Searchbar to search email by senders

Sometimes you want to find an email from someone in particular. By searching and displaying all emails from a specific email sender you can make it easier to retrieve emails by contact.

To search for emails from a certain contact type “to:[contact email address]” or enter the contact’s email address in the From field in advanced search options.  


Email Service Providers, Client, and Apps

With how much time you spend in your inbox, it may make sense to get an email client that helps your productivity. As there are countless email providers, clients, and apps to choose from, it can be hard to find the one that best suits your needs and enables you to maximize your ability to operate your inbox efficiently. Here's a list of some of the best email clients, email apps, and email service providers that you can use to increase your productivity.


  1. Gmail (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Free)
Screenshot of Gmail Email Provider

Google has put a lot of effort into making Gmail a great email client, and the official Gmail apps for Android and iOS as well as Gmail on desktop are one of the top choices for Google users. There are a lot of features offered by Gmail, including filters, labels, search, and many more. Gmail also has other GSuite products such as Sheets, Docs, and Analytics which are great additions to the line-up, which makes it no surprise that it is the leading email service.

Gmail’s apps are free to use on all platforms and operating systems.
Check out Gmail

  1. Outlook (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Free)
Screenshot of Outlook Email Provider

The official Outlook app for Android and iOS on mobile and outlook.com on desktop is Microsoft’s leading email client. As a pioneer in the email space, Microsoft has brought a ton of functionality to give you a fast and prioritized email experience. You can take control of your email inbox with the Focused tab, which runs analytics in the background so that the most important emails appear first. A lot of Accompli's functions and features were incorporated into the Outlook app after Microsoft acquired the company in 2014.

Outlook apps are free to use on all platforms and operating systems.
Check out Outlook
 


  1. ZOHO Mail (Email Service Provider and Client, Free & Paid)
Screenshot of Zoho Mail email provider

ZOHO is a Gmail and Outlook alternative that offers a privacy-focused and secure email service for businesses and enterprises. The ZOHO email control panel offers extensive and easy-to-use options for making email management, making it an excellent alternative to Gmail and Outlook.

ZOHO has a free forever plan that caters to personal users with paid options available for business and enterprise clients.
Check out ZOHO Mail

  1. Darwin Mail (Windows, Mac, Paid)
Screenshot of Darwin Mail Email Client

Darwin Mail is a productivity-focused email client with a multitude of features, including reminders, snoozing, multiple account management, hotkeys, and distraction-free modes. 

Darwin Mail pricing starts at $5/month that includes a free trial.
Check out Darwin

  

  1. Spark (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Free)
Screenshot of Spark Email Client

Spark is a free email client available on all platforms that focuses on productivity by categorizing emails so you can focus on the important ones. Sparks Intelligent email prioritization and noise reduction are focused to help you reach inbox zero.

Spark is a free email client on all platforms and operating systems.
Check out Spark

  1. Mailbird (Mac, Windows, Paid)
Screenshot of Mailbird Email Client

Mailbird is a paid email client that allows you to manage multiple email accounts simultaneously. Managing multiple email addresses can be time-consuming, plus remembering different hotkeys or shortcuts across the different addresses can be difficult. With Mailbird you can customize your client to meet your needs while also integrating with a handful of apps in order to enhance your email experience.

Mailbird is a paid desktop email client on Mac and Windows with pricing starting at $2.50/month.
Check out Mailbird

  1. EdisonMail (iOS, Android, Free)
Screenshot of Edison Mail Email Client

EdidonMail is a free email client with an assistant that categorizes emails and provides you with important information about your inbox. Your assistant will notify you of shipments out for delivery, price changes on past purchases, flight status updates, and more. EdisonMail's intelligent assistant makes your emails work harder for you.

EdisonMail is a free email client for Mac, iOS, and Android.
Check out Edison Mail


  1. Spike (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Free & Paid)
Screenshot of Spike Email Client

Spike is a free email client that focuses on making emails more conversational while prioritizing important emails. As emails become more conversational, Spike takes your inbox to the next level by removing the clutter of signed-off signatures, threaded discussions, and repeating headers that make email hard to read. With Spike, your emails take on the appearance of a chatbox, which makes them easier to follow.

Spike is available for free for personal use with paid options available for business and team accounts. Spike is available on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.
Check out Spike

 

  1. Superhuman (Paid)
Screenshot of Superhuman Email Client

Superhuman is an email client focused on speed so you can reach Inbox Zero faster and spend more time on other tasks. Since we all spend a lot of time in our inboxes, why not use an email client that improves the speed of our email experience? Hotkeys, shortcuts, and more make Superhuman the best email client for users trying to reach inbox zero.

Superhuman is a paid email client available for $30/month.
Check out Superhuman
 


Email Add-Ons and Extensions

You can't stop improving your inbox productivity just because you downloaded a more productive email client or developed some new habits. The use of browser add-ons and email add-ons can take your existing inbox and supercharge it to the next level.

  1. Right Inbox (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)
Screenshot of Right Inbox Email Productivity Suite

Right Inbox adds a bunch of features to Gmail that you may have wished you had at some point to save time or be more productive. Whether you hoped to find out if someone read your email, wanted to schedule an email to send later, or set a reminder to yourself about an email - Right Inbox has you covered. 

Right inbox has a free tier with paid options starting at $5.95/month. You can download Right Inbox as a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Check out Right Inbox

  1. Boomerang (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Boomerang Email Scheduler

Boomerang enhances your Email experience by adding easy calendar reminders, email scheduling, and a writing assistant to your inbox. Boomerang’s set of features that make your inbox more productive. For example, their one-click calendar invites help you avoid the back-and-forth of suggesting calendar times.

Boomerang has a free tier and paid options starting at $4.99/month. Boomerang for Gmail can be added to Gmail from the G Suite marketplace. Boomerang for Outlook can be added from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Boomerang 

  1. Slack (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Slack Email Communication and Chat

Slack for Outlook and Gmail makes your slack experience more productive by allowing you to bring in an email and any attachments straight to a Slack channel or user. Need to coordinate a response to a customer question? Flag your teammates in Slack and use the email content to set the context.

Slack for Gmail can be added to your Gmail from the G Suite marketplace. Outlook users can add Slack from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Slack 

 

  1. Trello  (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Trello Email Kanban Board

Turn your Gmail or Outlook into a productivity board with Trello’s Gmail and Outlook to-do list. If you already use Trello to prioritize projects, tasks, sales leads, or support tickets then using Trello is a no-brainer. Trello for Gmail helps you get from To-Do to Done with one-click card creation as the subject line as the card title.

Trello for Gmail can be added to your Gmail from the G Suite marketplace. Outlook users can add Trello from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Trello


  1. Inbox When Ready (Firefox, Chrome, Edge)
Screenshot of Inbox When Ready Email Focusing App

If you tend to get caught up in email distractions then Inbox When Ready is for you. By setting a schedule when your inbox is accessible and a budget for how many times, and how much time, you spend in your inbox, Inbox When Ready will ensure you’re making the most of your time in your email. 

Inbox When Ready is available as an add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Inbox When Ready has a free tier with paid pricing starting at $4/month.
Check out Inbox When Ready 

  1. FlowCrypt (Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Android)
Screenshot of FlowCrypt Email Encryption

Sending a secure message can be a challenge because you have no control over an email after it is sent. Save time and worry about sending a sensitive email with FlowCrypts email encryption.

FlowCrypt is available as an add-on for Firefox, Chrome, Brave, and as an app on Android. FlowCrypt is free for up to 100 users.
Check out FlowCrypt 

 

  1. Todoist (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Todoist Email Todo list App

Todoist, one of the best to-do list apps, can be added to your Gmail or Outlook inbox to allow you to assign emails to tasks. You can set up reminders, priorities, and more to help you move through your timebox without switching between apps, windows, or screens.

Todoist has a free tier with paid pricing starting at $4/month. Todoist for Gmail can be added to your Gmail from the G Suite marketplace. Todoist for Outlook can be added to your Outlook from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Todoist


  1. Checker Plus (Firefox, Chrome, Edge)
Screenshot of Checker Plus  for Gmail

Save time by avoiding switching tabs and windows while checking multiple Gmail accounts with Checker Plus. It is easy to manage multiple accounts, view notifications, listen to emails, or delete them without opening Google Mail.

Checker Plus is available as a browser Add-On for Firefox, Chrome, and Edge.
Check out Checker Plus


  1. Zapier (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Zapier for Gmail

Use Zapier to bring data from your emails to other apps in your workflow. With Zapier connected to your inbox, you can automate some of your workflows by connecting your Gmail or Outlook to thousands of Zapier apps. Save time and be more productive by removing manual work.

Gmail users can add Zapier from the G Suite marketplace. Outlook users can add Zapier from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Zapier
 


  1. Toggl: Time Tracking (Firefox, Chrome)
Screenshot of Toggl Email Time Management

Time tracking tool Toggl has a Pomodoro timer built in that keeps you focused and aware of your idle time. Make your timebox more productive by setting a timer to keep you on schedule. With Toggl's integration with Gmail, you'll be sure to adhere to your set time and get insights into your past behavior as well.

Toggl has a free tier with paid pricing starting at $9/month. Toggl is available as a browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome.
Check out Toggl


  1. FindTime (Outlook)
Screenshot of FindTime for Outlook

FindingTime is an add-in for Outlook that assists people with finding a time for meetings that everyone can agree on. The great thing about FindTime is that it will eliminate the back and forth of trying to find time in someone's calendar and instead let attendees vote on the best times to meet.

FindTime is a free Outlook add-in available from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out FindTime
 


  1. Yoyomeeting (Outlook)
Screenshot of Yoyomeeting

Yoyomeeting is designed to help manage your meetings, from preparation to post-meeting reporting. By using Yoyomeeting, you can save time while keeping track of follow-ups, tasks, and meeting notes.

Yoyomeeting is a paid Outlook add-in starting at $2.50/month. Yoyomeetings is available from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Yoyomeeting


  1. Lookeen (Windows, Outlook)
Screenshot of Lookeen Email Search

Take full advantage of Lookeen's Outlook integration and maximize your search efforts. Search files, emails, notes, files, and more at lightning speed with Looken's enhanced search.

Looken is a paid desktop application for a $69 one-time purchase.
Check out Lookeen
 


  1. Translator for Outlook (Outlook)
Screenshot of Translator for Outlook

With the Built-In Translator for Outlook app, you can translate incoming emails to another language directly from your email. Translator for Outlook enables you to translate emails in your inbox to your preferred language if you work with contacts who write and speak in different languages.

Translator for Outlook is a free Outlook add-in available from Microsoft AppSource.
Check out Translator for Outlook

Email Integrations

You may feel overwhelmed with your inbox with so many apps, clients, add-ons, and extensions. The good news is that there are a handful of email integrations that do some work behind the scenes to make your inbox experience more productive. Below is a list of the best email integrations to help you maximize your inbox productivity.


  1. InMoat (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of InMoat Email Productivity Tool

InMoat is an email tool that prioritizes emails based on your preferences so you can focus on the more important tasks. It is impossible for Gmail and Outlook to keep up with a busy and changing inbox without guessing which emails are important. By allowing you to choose the types of emails that matter to your workflow, InMoat allows you to be in control of incoming emails. Emails based on your selection will always be prioritized so you can be more productive.

InMoat makes your Eisenhower Matrix workflow, timebox, or GTD process more effective by knowing which emails are worth reading. Maintaining a prioritized and organized inbox will help you stay focused and improve your email productivity.

InMoat is available free with Paid plans starting at $6/month. InMoat has a native and secure integration with Outlook and Gmail.
Check out InMoat

  1. Unrollme (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL)
Screenshot of Unrollme Email Unsubscribe

Unrollme is a mass unsubscribe tool that helps you remove your email address from unwanted newsletters, email lists, and promotional emails. Using Unrollme, unsubscribing is effortless as you can immediately clear your inbox of newsletters that are clogging your inbox.

Unrollme is available for free but uses your data to help Rakuten understand e-commerce data from emails. You can use Unrollme for any Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or AOL email address.
Checkout Unrollme

  1. Cleanfox (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of CleanFox Email List Management

Cleanfox helps you eliminate clutter in your inbox by showing you newsletters or promotional emails you're currently subscribed to so you can delete them all, keep them, or auto-archive them moving forward. 

Cleanfox is available for free but uses your data to help Cleanfox Intelligence understand e-commerce data from emails. You can use Cleanfox for any Gmail or Outlook email address.
Check out CleanFox

 

  1. EmailAnalytics (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of EmailAnalytics

EmailAnalytics is an email analytics tool that allows you to track and visualize your email use (or your team's) and visualize Gmail. Analytics and insights enable you to understand how to increase productivity in your inbox. When you use EmailAnalytics, you can see your email usage by sender, label, time, and day. These insights can help you optimize your inbox and improve your productivity.

EmailAnalytics is a paid integration with pricing starting at $5/month. You can use EmailAnalytics with any Gmail or Outlook email address.
Check out EmailAnalytics


  1. Email Meter (Gmail) 
Screenshot of Email Meter Email Analytics

Gmail and G Suite users can use Email Meter to see detailed reports and insights into their inbox. You can improve email efficiency by knowing what's happening in your inbox, and your team's. You can easily understand how much work your inbox is doing to improve your email productivity by using Email Meter.

Email Meter is a Gmail integration that has a free tier with paid pricing starting at $19/month.
Check out Email Meter


  1. MailReach (Gmail, Outlook, and other Email Service Providers)
Screenshot of MailReach Email Warming Service

If you are starting off with a brand new domain, you may have trouble getting your emails delivered properly. With MailReach, you can automatically generate positive engagements to emails from your domain to improve your email reputation. You can use MailReach to get a head start on warming your Email IP address so that your marketing and sales outreach emails get delivered with confidence.

MailReach is a paid email integration starting at $25/month.
Check out MailReach
 

Email CRM, Sales, and Project Managemet Tools

Most sales professionals, marketers, and support teams use their CRM  as their second most important tool apart from their email inbox. For operations and development teams, a well integrated Project Management platform is critical to staying organized. Listed below is a list of CRMs and PM tools that are built-in Gmail, so you can take your team’s performance to the next level.


  1. Pigeon for Gmail (Chrome)
Screenshot of Pigeon Email CRM

Pigeon for Gmail brings CRM, templates, email tracking, and more to your Gmail inbox. Because Pigeon for Gmail understands the importance of email in your business, Pigeon has decided to add essential business tools right into your inbox. You will spend less time switching between apps and tools, and you will be able to accomplish more with Gmail.

Pigeon for Gmail is a browser add-on for Chrome. Pigeon for Gmail has a free tier with Paid pricing starting at $19/month.
Check out Pigeon
 


  1. Hive
Screenshot of Hive Email Project Management

Work productivity is changing, and Hive is transforming work management. With Hive, all of your workplace tools are accessible through one dashboard. You can collaborate with coworkers, chat with them, start Zoom calls, or even send emails without ever leaving the platform. By linking your Google or Outlook account to Hive, you can have all of your email functions in one place, including access to your inbox, composing and sending emails, and synchronizing calendar events.
Check out Hive


  1. Streak (Chrome)
Screenshot of Streak Email CRM

Using Streak, you can manage projects, partners, support tickets, and more straight from your Gmail inbox. Using Streak's ability to tie all of your pipelines, notes, timelines, and more into emails, you can significantly improve the way you manage your relationships.

Streak is a browser add-on for Chrome that includes a free tier and paid pricing starting at $15/month.
Check out Streak


  1. Copper (Gmail, Chrome)
Screenshot of Copper Email CRM

Copper is a Gmail-based CRM that helps you manage your relationships easily. If you are already familiar with GSuite then you already know how to use Copper. Save time from learning a complicated CRM system and manage your relationships with ease.

Copper has a native integration with Gmail with a more robust browser add-on for Chrome. CopperCRM paid pricing starts at $25/month.
Check out Copper


  1. MailTrack (Chrome)
Screenshot of Mailtrack

If you are used to sending emails to leads, it is helpful to know if the recipient has opened your email. Integrating Mailtrack directly into your Gmail account allows you to track email opens directly from your inbox.

MailTrack is a browser add-on for Chrome. You can get started with MailTrack for free with paid plans starting at $4.99/month
Check out Mailtrack

  1. Yesware (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Yesware

Yesware is an all-in-one toolkit for sales professionals integrating directly into your Outlook or Gmail inbox. Reaching out to potential clients, scheduling meetings, and following up is easy with Yesware. As an added benefit, you can track daily activity and engagement to determine what's working best to optimize your outreach efforts.

Yesware integrates natively with Outlook and Gmail inboxes with pricing starting at $15/month.
Check out Yesware


Email Templates and Writing Assistants

Writing assistants can simplify your writing process by not only saving you time but also improving it. There is a lot more that writing assistants can do than simply fix spelling errors, because they are able to simplify your writing, meaning there will be no back-and-forth emails asking for clarification.

  1. Grammarly (Outlook, Gmail)
Screenshot of Grammarly

Everyone wants to avoid sending an email that has a spelling error, a punctuation error, or an incorrect sentence. Grammarly saves you time by automatically suggesting edits to your emails, so you don't have to proofread or reply to a mistake. Using the cross-platform writing assistant will help you compose emails that are free of errors.

Grammarly is available for Outlook, Gmail, and as an add-on for the most popular web browsers and operating systems. Grammarly has a free tier with paid pricing starting at $12/month.
Check out Grammarly
 


  1. Wordtune (Chrome)
Screenshot of Wordtune

Wordtune uses artificial intelligence technology to help you adjust tone and formality while retaining the meaning of your message. You can boost your email writing skills by taking advantage of intelligent suggestions that not only speed up your email writing but also assist you in broadening the vocabulary in your writing.

Wordtune is available as a browser add-on for Chrome. Wordtune has a free tier with paid pricing starting at $9.99/month.
Check out Wordtune


  1. Magical (Chrome)
Screenshot of Magical

Magical, formerly known as Auto-text Expander, allows you to create hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts to expand and replace text as you type. With Magical, you no longer need to type repetitive and commonly written sentences for customer service, email outreach, and more. 

Magical - Text Expansion is available as a free browser add-on for Chrome.
Check out Magical
 


Email Calendar and Scheduling Tools

Our inboxes are clogged with emails for scheduling meetings, calls, and follow-ups. Thanks to a handful of excellent tools, you can automate your scheduling process and minimize the need for back and forth emails. Here is a list of the best calendar scheduling tools to clear up your inbox to maximize productivity.


  1. Clockwise (Firefox, Chrome)
Screenshot of Clockwise

Clockwise combines an optimization engine with a personal calendar assistant to streamline your workday. You and your colleagues can take full advantage of Clockwise's Autopilot feature, which will optimize your calendar for the most focus time possible. This will eliminate the back-and-forth emails that usually occur to set up a meeting.

Clockwise is available as a browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome. You can get started with Clockwise for free with paid pricing starting at $5/month.
Check out Clockwise 


  1. SavvyCal
Screenshot of SavvyCal

SavvyCal is a scheduling add-on that makes it easy for both parties to find a time to meet. By overlaying the recipient's calendar on your own, SavvyCal makes it simple and convenient to schedule meetings that work for both parties -- not the recipient alone. SavvyCal lets you schedule meetings without having to send emails back and forth.

SavvyCal integrates directly with Gmail and Outlook with paid plans starting at $12/month.
Check out SavvyCal


Books on Email Productivity

To clear your inbox and get back in control, sometimes a more philosophical and academic approach is needed. Take a look at some of the best email books to help you maximize your inbox productivity if you're interested in learning more about how email and inbox experts do what they do.

  1. A World Without Email - Cal Newport
Book Cover for A World Without Email

Cal Newport, New York Times bestselling author, describes how workers can free themselves from the tyranny of the inbox and unleash new levels of productivity.

In A World Without Email, you will discover tested methods for becoming less distracted and more productive to escape from the impact that plagues our inboxes.

You can buy A World Without Email at all major bookstores including Amazon.



  1. Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done - Jocelyn K. Glei
Book Cover for Unsubscribe

Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done shows you how to get rid of email anxiety, regain productivity, and spend more time on what matters. Jocelyn K. Glei provides an urgent call for reason that can modify the way you spend your time and improve your relationship with your inbox.

You can get Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done at all major bookstores including Amazon.


 

  1. Brilliant Email: How to Win Back Time and Increase Your Productivity - Monica Seeley
Book Cover for Brilliant Email Productivity

Dr. Seeley's highly effective techniques are developed after years of working with individuals and organizations of all sizes. You will see how these techniques will transform how you send and receive information.

The objective of Brilliant Email is to share the advantages of using email effectively You will be able to win back a significant amount of time while also improving your personal productivity and work-life balance.

You can purchase Brilliant Email: How to Win Back Time and Increase Your Productivity at all major bookstores including Amazon.


  1. The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox - John Freeman
Book cover of The Tyranny of Email

Freeman knows his history, and he offers an engaging account of the evolution of correspondence. Put your smartphone down and contemplate the toll of email on our time. Email consumption is reducing our leisure time and forcing us to endure unending and lonely battles with the inbox.

You can purchase The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox at all major bookstores including Amazon.


  1. Intentional Inboxes - Brandi Parsons
Book Cover for Inentional Inboxes

Brandi Parsons introduces tools for being deliberate with your inbox in this conversational and action-oriented book. As the title suggests, Intentional Inboxes walks readers through a workflow system to handle emails, texts, and direct messages with care.

You can purchase Intentional Inboxes at all major bookstores including Amazon.

Email Productivity Guide Conclusion

There you have it. 101 Tips, tricks, hacks, and apps to enhance your email experience to maximize inbox productivity. If you have an insight that we missed, feel free to shoot us an email and we will add it to the list.

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