5 Tools to Manage Your Email Inbox - Senior Executive
Executive Life 6 min

5 Tools to Manage Your Email Inbox

You’re not imagining the daily wave of incoming email. Here are five management solutions designed to keep your inbox tidy.

by Brad Moon on March 15, 2022

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  • The average professional receives 120 emails per day and spends 2.6 hours daily responding to those messages

  • Inbox management tools can help you automate messages, keep track of important email and funnel out junk

  • See five email management solutions

You may feel like your inbox is bursting at the seams. No matter how much time you spend hitting delete, reaching that coveted inbox zero feels like an impossible goal. You’re not imagining your inbox management nightmare. 

The average professional receives 120 emails per day and spends 2.6 hours daily responding to those messages, according to 2019 research from Harvard Business Review. 

You may also have noticed an uptick in email during the pandemic. In 2021, 55% of email marketing pros reported sending out more email to customers than before the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Pathwire. What mission-critical emails are lurking amid all the sales pitches? 

You may have an executive assistant to help you sort through the noise. Or, perhaps you unsubscribe to mailing lists quarterly. But for many execs, email management solutions hold the key to a tidy inbox. These services seek to organize your inbox, automate certain messages and ensure you never miss an important email. 

We’ve put together a list of five email management tools that will get the job done. Each can be used across multiple email platforms. 

1. Clean Email

  • What it is: Clean Email is designed to organize or delete your email backlog. The program then automates email management, auto-archiving messages or moving email into folders of your choice. Key features include: 
    • Email smart view, which lets you see emails organized by similarities, such as sender, subject or date. 
    • Mute, which automatically marks an email that is part of an ongoing thread as “read,” so you aren’t interrupted by never-ending updates just because someone CC-ed you early on.
    • The “keep latest” feature ensures that only the newest in a series of messages remains in your inbox. 
    • Clean Email also includes filters that distinguish email sent by real people versus automated systems, making it easier to block email from specific users and unsubscribe.
  • Security considerations: Clean Email provides encryption for mailbox access details. Further, Clean Email does not store or sell data, even anonymized. Email body data and attachments are not downloaded or stored on Clean Email’s servers.
  • Compatibility: This email solution is compatible with most major IMAP email clients, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and iCloud. 
  • Notable customers: Spotify, Dyson, Sonos, Zoom and Harvard University.
  • How much it costs: A subscription to Clean Email is priced at $9.99 monthly for one user. 

2. InboxDone

  • What it is: Ever wish you could delegate your email to a personal assistant? That’s the concept behind InboxDone. This is not an AI system that manages your email inbox. It’s an actual human assistant. In fact, it’s two — so you always have coverage even if someone is on vacation. Here’s how it works: 
    • Users pay by the hour (based on plans that give a set number of hours per month). During that time, these vetted personal assistants remotely manage your email, including sorting and even replying. 
    • Assistants notify you when you receive an email that is critical and requires your personal attention.
  • Security considerations: InboxDone employs carefully screened personal assistants. Other security measures include VPN, document security and NDAs. 
  • How much it costs: InboxDone is priced at $1,795 for the first month, which includes onboarding and 45 hours of personal assistant time. After the first month, prices vary based on the plan you choose. The $895 basic monthly plan includes a guaranteed 22.5 hours a month with your assistants. The most advanced team plan runs $2,995 monthly and guarantees over 75 hours a month with your assistants. Advanced plans also include the ability to delegate research, social media replies, data entry and other administrative tasks.

3. Mailbird

  • What it is: One of Mailbird’s key features is its ability to combine multiple email accounts into a single, unified inbox. Users can also add Slack alerts and social media notifications to their universal inbox. Key business plan features include: 
    • An unsubscribe function. 
    • The ability to preview email attachments within Mailbird without having to open another application.
    • Customizable filters, folders and alerts. These features automatically action items. For example, email from your personal address can be sent to a “read later” folder immediately when they are received. This keeps non-critical email out of your inbox and ensures you see important messages immediately. 
    • The ability to undo emails. This feature allows you to set a timed delay before an email is sent (say, 15 seconds). Until that time runs out you can click a button or use a keyboard combo to recall the message.  
    • “Speed reader” lets you customize the scroll speed for long messages based on the number of words you can read per minute.
  • Compatibility: Mailbird supports most major IMAP email clients including Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook. A Windows-based solution with a Mac client is on the horizon, according to the company. 
  • How much it costs: Mailbird’s business subscription is priced at $9.84 per month.
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4. SaneBox

  • What it is: SaneBox identifies incoming email that is important — and shunts everything else to be dealt with later. Here’s how it works: 
    • The selling point of SaneBox is its use of artificial intelligence to analyze your email history — learning which emails are important to you. The program then uses AI rules to automatically sort new emails as they arrive. Only important emails land in your inbox.
    • Everything else is sent into “trainable” folders that separate the messages into categories, such as email that can be dealt with later, newsletters, mailing lists and copied emails. 
    • If you manually move a misplaced email from one folder to another, the AI’s machine learning kicks in to learn from your action for next time. 
  • Compatibility: SaneBox works with any device or email client.
  • How much it costs: SaneBox pricing ranges from $7 a month to $36 a month. Prices are based on how many email accounts are covered and the number of trainable folders.

5. Unroll.Me

  • What it is: Unroll.Me is the ultimate email management tool for the plugged-in executive who subscribes to many email lists and newsletters. Here’s how it works: 
    • The app will scan your email inbox and generate a list of all your email subscriptions. This allows you to unsubscribe from those you are no longer interested in. 
    • The remaining subscriptions can then be combined into a daily digest called “The Rollup.” Those subscription emails will no longer clutter your inbox. Instead, you’ll see an overview of their contents in one daily Rollup.
  • Compatibility: Unroll.Me is available for iOS and Android.
  • Security considerations: Unroll.Me owner NielsenIQ uses anonymized data about purchases stripped from commercial emails to identify industry trends. Personal emails are ignored by the program.
  • How much it costs: Unroll.Me is free to use. 
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