Last Updated Jul 13, 2011 7:49 PM EDT
I've tried any number of e-mail strategies over the years, and despite some tough love approaches like E-mail Zero, I currently have about 300 messages in my inbox. I've recently uncovered a new tool that promises to streamline my inbox and make it easier to stay on top of the truly important messages. And it might work, because it does a lot of that automatically.
SaneBox is an e-mail management tool that automatically sorts your messages into a handful of "deferment" folders. Depending upon who sent the mail and the nature of the message, it will be waiting for you in your inbox, or relegated to a folder for tomorrow, next week, or the trash. Those deferment folders -- like tomorrow and next week -- aren't static, either. At the appointment time, messages automatically migrate back to the inbox, so you see them when you need to, and not a minute sooner.
As I said, a lot of this happens automatically, though you can also train SaneBox by creating new rules or just moving messages that that SaneBox has positioned on your behalf. The service works with a broad range of e-mail apps, including Gmail and Outlook.
When you first install SaneBox, it processes the newest 5000 messages. Everything older gets stored in an archive folder (so it's still easy to find and deal with) and the newest stuff is sorted between the inbox and other deferment folders.
The best part of SaneBox is that there's no sleight of hand going on that makes it hard to manage your messages manually; the important stuff stays in the inbox, and everything else is just a folder away.
You can explore SaneBox with a one-month free trial, but after that it costs $5/month, $55/year, or $100 for two years.
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