4 Email Productivity Tools That Actually Work

How many hours a day do you spend dealing with your email? It’s probably more than you think.

Although email is a useful tool for getting business done, it can also be a huge time suck when you’re wading through confusing team threads or sorting through newsletters you don’t remember subscribing to.

Fortunately, some very smart developers have the same problems with email that you do. There are a lot of email productivity tools out there, but these four are some of my favorite. They’ll actually free up time for you to get real work done, rather than spending your entire day “doing email.”

Of course, if you have any favorites not on this list I’d love to hear about them in the comments!


If you’re tired of scrolling through your inbox to pick the 6 messages that actually need a response out of the 50 that don’t, you might want to try Sanebox.

Sanebox analyzes your email usage to decide which emails to prioritize, and which to place in a separate folder for you to check later. That leaves your inbox filled with only the emails you need to see right now. The software works on any device or web client, and offers other features like SaneBlackHole (unsubscribe with 1 click), SaneSnooze (defer non-urgent emails), and SaneReminders (to follow up with people who haven’t responded to your emails).

Sanebox offers a free 14-day trial, then starts at $7/month to use.


I have a love-hate relationship with email subscriptions and newsletters. On the one hand, they can be incredibly helpful –hey, the local climbing gym is having a one-day membership sale! On the other hand, why are there so many of them?

Unroll.me aims to help with that. It combines all the subscriptions you actually want to see into one single email, so you scan through it all just once per day. It also gives you the ability to see everything you’re subscribed to, all at once, and unsubscribe with the click of a button.

Best of all, Unroll.me is free.


Tired of your teammates missing important emails, forgetting to copy you with updates, or forwarding you endless conversation chains without context?

Tandem creates a shared label within your Gmail account (or within your own email domain through a Google App), which all invited users can access. This does away with forwarding and CCing emails to everyone collaborating on a specific project, as all emails sent to this label will be automatically visible to all invited users.

Sub-labels can be used to assign tasks to team member and track current status.

Tandem is $5/per user per month.

Boomerang (for Gmail)

If you’ve ever wanted to have better control over the timing of your emails, Boomerang is for you. It’s a add-on for Gmail that lets you control when you see incoming messages and when your outgoing messages are sent.

With Boomerang, you can write an email now, and schedule it to be sent later. For example, if you know your contact will be out of the office until Tuesday, or you want to wish someone a happy birthday on Saturday, but you’re thinking about it right now. Boomerang also can remind you to follow up if no one replies to your email within a certain amount of time, which keeps projects moving instead of letting responses fall through the cracks.

A last fantastic feature is that you can set an incoming email to return to you later. Let’s say someone emails you the agenda for Friday’s meeting on Monday, you can boomerang the email to return right before the meeting on Friday, rather than having it sit in your inbox all week.

Boomerang is free for up to 10 emails/month, then ranges from $4.99-49.99/month after that.

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