Information overload got you down? Welcome to the club. We're over capacity.
If you're still thinking of resolutions to make in January, might we suggest proper e-mail management? Here are a few tools to help you along the way:
This post was inspired by a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Xobni between November 5th and November 9th of this year. It calculated the feedback from a total of 2,179 adults ages 18 and older, and revealed the following highlights:
- 59 percent of American adults check work e-mails during traditional family holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas
- 55 percent of these adults check work e-mail at least once a day
- 28 percent of these adults check their e-mail multiple times throughout the day
We knew e-mail was a pain at work, but at home? During the holidays? That's just sad.
Xobni's most recent efforts to fight information overload include contextual Gmail gadgets for Outlook. Basically, they enable Outlook users to see previews of images, videos and feeds from Flickr, Huddle, Yelp and YouTube without leaving their inbox:
"Sometimes a preview is all you need to save the seven-second trip to the browser. Other times, the preview will simply be a quick way to click straight to the full browser page," explained Xobni's Josh Jacobson. “We’re seeing users who literally will spend 8 hours or more using Outlook. Even if it’s a minor change to something they do 100 times a day, that ends up saving tons of time.”
ClearContext is another Microsoft Outlook plugin designed to help you organize your inbox. Its functionality addresses three major areas of interest: E-mail management, attachment management and folder management.
The e-mail management functionality organizes a users inbox by filing messages, providing filing suggestions, and highlighting what the app determines are the most important messages. Meanwhile, the attachment management tool makes it possible to view all images and attachments from a selected folder. This means no more browsing!
The most recent iteration adds task and project management capabilities, as well as a sidebar option if you're not a fan of dashboards. Check out a short demo here.
Baydin's Boomerang is like a snooze button for your Inbox. The tool was built specifically for the messages that you can't deal with when they come in, but know you need to address at some point. If you receive a message that requires your reply at a future time or date (such as event registrations), you can schedule it to reappear at a customized time. Out of sight but not out of mind:
The add-on is currently for both Gmail and Microsoft Outlook. Check it out.
Google Priority Inbox
Speaking of Gmail, Google Priority Inbox automatically categorizes messages as they arrive. In order to do this, Gmail tracks and remembers your habits, such as which e-mails you open, which contacts you regularly exchange messages with, etc. Should Big G make a mistake, you can adjust the rating manually with a new set of plus and minus buttons (sort of like Pandora).
If you're on a budget or looking for something even more basic, EmailTray is a free solution affectionately known as "your personal e-mail concierge". Developed by Web CEO Ltd, EmailTray automatically checks multiple accounts and notifies users of important messages (importance is dictated by a user's inbox behavior).
EmailTray also attempts to arranges e-mails based on their priority, though some users have reported that classification can be a bit wonky (come on, it's free!).