There’s nothing quite like sitting down at your desk in the morning and watching your email inbox fill…and fill…and continue to fill. Whatever handy time management plans you had concocted to schedule your morning have long since departed, fleeing in the wake of that still-loading inbox.This has described many of my own mornings, and I know I’m not alone. Fortunately, here on KCL, not only are we focused on saving funds, but we also know that how well we use our time—or don't—can impact our bottom line.

Rather than continue to serve your inbox, use these free tools to make your inbox serve you!

1. IFTTT

  • Cost: free

IFTTT, a.k.a. "if this then that," is pronounced like "gift" without the "f" according to their website. But why go to all the trouble of producing such a complicated acronym, let alone having to explain it? Simply put, IFTTT allows you to set up repetitive patterns to handle inbox events. You can select from 82 different channels. Channels encompass email accounts, social media accounts, calendar items, online file sharing (such as Dropbox), project management accounts (such as Campfire) and more. So "if this happens," "then that happens" is the general concept. Once you set up these actions, they stay put until you change them—inbox clutter solved!

2. Mailstrom 

  • Cost: free

Featured by the likes of The New York Times, Mailstrom works seamlessly with your inbox to help you clean house whenever the need arises. The program detects inbox patterns to route urgent and non-urgent emails, provide one-click unsubscribe features, and auto-syncs with your mobile tools.

3. Boomerang: 

  • Cost: free

Boomerang offers free and paid plans and a 30-day trial of their Professional plan (the most expensive plan at $14.99 per month). Boomerang essentially permits you to schedule your emails—the same way some social media managers permit you to schedule posts and tweets for later dates and times. The free plan will give you 10 free scheduled emails per month. You may also find the response tracker feature helpful. This feature prompts you to follow up on an email if you haven't heard back after a certain period of time.

4. Gmail Canned Responses

  • Cost: free

If you use Gmail as your email provider, Google now offers a service called "canned responses" that basically functions like a template you can use and reuse, saving you the trouble of typing the same response over and over again. You can also edit each template when you need to make a change.

How to install and use Canned Responses:

  1. Log in to your email account
  2. Visit "Settings" (look for the gear icon in the upper right hand corner)
  3. Click on the "Labs" tab
  4. Where it says "Search for a Lab," type in "canned responses" and hit "enter"
  5. Click the "Enable" radio button
  6. Click "Save"
  7. Compose a canned response
  8. Click on the "Canned Response" menu
  9. Choose "New Canned Response"
  10. Name your new canned response and save it
  11. Type "Insert [NAME]" the next time you want to use your new canned response to reply to an email

5. Pocket

  • Cost: free

Pocket is an app that works with your computer, tablet or smart device. It allows you to e-file emails and e-newsletters you want to read—just not right now. Pocket also integrates with over 500 other apps and your social media accounts. With 11 million users and counting, clearly this app is an inbox-clearing hit.

 

For similar articles, check out:

10 Ways to Reduce Your Junk Mail 2.0: Email Edition

Disposable Email Addresses: Sign Up for Offers Without Worrying About Spam

7 Ways to Reduce Your Junk Mail: Snail Mail Edition