As the number of emails has grown from a few a day to a few hundred a day, many of us have struggled in finding the best email client. THE email client that could help us to stay on top of our Inbox.
As I bet many of you also did (please post your comments or beloved email software name), I probably installed and tested the majority of the email clients available on the planet.
At the beginning I was looking for fancy, features-rich email clients that could help me with productivity and with the zero inbox philosophy.
Then, I came to the conclusion that if your email client is too complex you have several drawbacks:
1. if your software is way too complex, either you will never use all the features or the learning curve takes months and you will give up before you really know the tool.
2. very likely you will create a set of rules and usage patterns that you will forget if you’re away from your computer for more than 2 days!
Then, I shifted towards much more minimalist email clients. Probably the best example in this category is Sparrow. I believe it is the best Gmail software out there, since it is perfectly compliant to all Gmail features and functioning criteria, such as labeling, archiving, etc.
After enjoying the software for several months, they announced they where bought by Google! This can mean two possibilities:
1. Sparrow will shine with a new light and will be THE best gmail client ever.
2. Sparrow will die.
As now, I’m actually not using any client anymore!
For the moment, I came up with the conclusion of using Gmail web based solution.
First of all, I have Gmail as the unique collector for all my email addresses. This means all other email accounts either forward to gmail or are read by the gmail POP reading feature.
This really makes it easy if your have multiple accounts and would like to configure new devices in seconds. You don’t need to set up multiple accounts every time you change computer, mobile device, etc.
And best of all, I came up with a “perfect” configuration for optimal GTD and zero inbox philosophy with some very useful browser add-ons.
Here are the ones that are always on my gmail page:
1. ActiveInbox: this simple yet powerful add-on lets you sort and organize your email based on the GTD methodology, simply pressing an added button for Waiting On, Next Action, Finished, Some Day or Scheduled in the future. This also lets you organize email for each project you have.
2. Boomerang for Gmail: I use this for keeping track of un-answered emails. Simply, when you send an email you can track if you receive an answer and if you don’t the email will magically re-appear in your inbox after a number of days you can select. Also I sometimes use it to send scheduled emails (e.g. you don’t want to forget a birthday and you can schedule the email to be sent the day you want.)
3. Rapportive: this is for the more social fans. It simply puts all the information related to a contact in the email on the right of your Gmail, pulling all the info from your Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
All the above extensions are available for Google Chrome and Firefox.