Bring Sanity to your Inbox with Sanebox

About a year ago, the consulting firm McKinsey and Company conducted a study that concluded about 28% of the average workers’ time is spent on email. Thinking about my own email experience, I know a lot of those emails are basically useless. Or, at least, things that don’t have to be dealt with immediately.

SaneBox is an inbox management program that wants to help you deal with your chronic email bloat. Compatible with Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, and most other web-based email programs and email clients you might use, SaneBox gives you a toolbox to let you manage your email rather than having your email manage you.

There are a lot of products that help you manage your email, but SaneBox has given some deep thought to the problem, and their efforts show. Based in part on the principles of the popular productivity principles of Getting Things Done, SaneBox is more than a simple email filtering tool like Gmail’s priority inbox.

Though it does filtering quite well, too, which is the foundation of most email management tools. SaneBox defaults to two levels of importance, but is able to manage up to five. And while their importance algorithms work well on their own, SaneBox allows you to connect to you various social media accounts to better learn what’s important to you and what isn’t. Best of all, it summarizes your unimportant emails for you so you can decide quickly what needs your attention and what you can ignore.

But what makes SaneBox really interesting is what it can bring to your inbox besides basic filtering. One of my favorite features is the summary of email activity, which includes the summary of your latest unimportant emails, but more powerfully, provides a lot of statistics on your email behavior, which lets you think critically about how much time you’re spending and the load of messages you’re dealing with. A richer understanding of how much time I can expect to spend on email helps to plan my workload—and lets me consider whether I really need to read everything I think I need to read.

There are a whole host of other great features: one-click unsubscribing from email lists you don’t want to be on anymore, automated nagging features that will email you to let you know if an important email hasn’t been replied to, cloud-based attachment storage, and others. It also works with the email on your mobile devices, so you don’t have to worry about scrolling through a ton of useless messages on your phone.

SaneBox will cost you $5 per month (and you can try it for free for 14 days), but given that the company estimates that it saves the average user two hours per week, it just might be worth it to you.

Productivity Tip: Find & Archive Photos From Your Email Using the Lost Photos App

Lost Photos App for Finding Photos in EmailAt some point a few years ago, I basically stopped deleting email. Not the spam, obviously, or the marketing emails. But everything of actual substance, I basically still keep. That’s years of emails, with lots with attachments and important (at least to me) pictures. Enter Lost Photos, a great app that helps your retrieve all the photos from your inbox, even the ones you may have forgotten about completely.

Basically, Lost Photos is an app that finds all the photos you’ve sent or received from an email account. Then it gives you the option of how to use them. Facebook or Twitter is an option, but I like the “archiving” feature that lets you import to iPhoto, so you can keep and organize all those photos in one place. (For more info on backing up photos from across your social networks, check out Picturelife.)

The app will work on lots of different email service providers, including Gmail, Yahoo,,,, any account routed through Google Apps and more. To check whether your email account is compatible, visit their website.

Lost Photos is available for both Mac and PC. PC users should download directly from the Lost Photos website, while Mac users can pay $2.99 to download it from the Mac App store. Considering how many hours it would take to find and archive those photos manually, a measly $3 seems totally worth it.

How the New Microsoft Office 365 Can Work for Small Business

Microsoft Office365 from AT&TThe idea behind the new Office 365 is that there are two key needs for small businesses these days: mobile accessibility and streamlined IT. After all, time spent dealing with tech headaches is time you’re not actually working on your business. Office365 seeks to streamline your tech by providing all your productivity apps through one cloud-based service, and can include the Microsoft Office Suite so many of us have come to rely on.

Exchange Online
Exchange email is probably not a new idea for you. The trouble is, running an exchange server for email is complicated and not cheap. Microsoft has figured out how to have exchange email live online, so you can sync and manage email, calendars and contacts across devices. There are even shared calendars, just like the real (now old-fashioned) deal.

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24-hours into #iPadWeek: I’m an idiot. Also, email saved the day!

My new office set-up: got my iPad wrapped in soft, brown leather inside the Brookstone Keyboard Pro case.

If you’ve been following along, yesterday I found out that my MacBook Pro is going to be in the shop for longer than I expected and that I’m going to be working from my iPad all week. Last night I decided to try and get ahead on some of my work and started drafting a blog post for the site when I realized that I needed some screenshots from a website that doesn’t work on the iPad.

“No big deal,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just borrow my roommate’s computer for a minute.” So I hopped on his laptop, took a few screenshots, copied them to a USB flash drive, and walked back over to my iPad to plug it in. A brilliant plan except… why did I think that iPad’s have USB ports?

As I said in the title of this post, I’m an idiot.  Read More

Email: The Driving Force of Mobile

I love social media, I really do.  Instagram, facebook, foursquare, and tumblr; these apps are some of the coolest available for our handhelds.  But it’s interesting to think about how all this communication would likely not be there if it weren’t for their big brother: email.

Email, and electronic communication in general, has long been the driving force of the internet. When the world went mobile, email emerged as the single most important feature of a mobile device (arguably even more important than the voice features).  RIM built a massive company mostly based around the idea of instant, secure mobile email devices.  Now, iPhone users spend less than half the time using their phone as a phone.  And in the last year, the use of smartphones by IT guys has gone from two thirds to almost all of them.

More impressively, just like web views, mobile devices are cannibalizing the desktop’s market share of opens.  This means that important business messages are being read on phones more now then ever.  My congressperson emails me, and at the bottom of the message reads the now-ubiquitous, ‘sent from my iPhone’.  Read More

Notification Control Provides One Place To Change Email Notifications

Every time you sign up for yet another web service or social network, you have to decide what email notifications you want to receive. At first you think “I want all the emails because you guys rawk!” As time goes on you say to yourself “All these email notifications are getting on my last nerve!” Going to each service to adjust your notifications can prove to be a time-suck. Setting up filter, after filter, after filter in your email inbox may force some emails you actually want to get lost in the shuffle.

With Notification Control, you can adjust your settings from a number of services all in one location.

The cool thing about Notification Control is that you don’t have to go down the list to authorize NC to access each and every service you want to manage. If you’re already logged in to those accounts, NC will jettison you right to the correct page where you can change your settings. Read More

SugarSync Adds Outlook Support – Add Email Attachments From the Cloud

Not using the almighty Google Apps for your business but still want to take advantage of cloud storage when sending and receiving emails? The SugarSync cloud storage/syncing/collaboration service now offers Microsoft Outlook integration that allows users to add email attachments of any size straight from your SugarSync account.

SugarSync for Outlook works with Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 for Windows, and works on PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. You have the option of sending a link to a file or the actual file itself as an attachment. The advantage to using SugarSync is that you can send a file of any size as an attachment and not worry about getting dinged with a “file size too large” auto-response email seconds after you hit send. Read More

Offline Google Mail Service: Get to your Emails Sans an Internet Connection

If you’re a mobile warrior and have been known to set up shop at your local coffee shop to get some things done, you are at the mercy of that businesses Wifi to connect to the outside world. If for whatever reason, you can’t get a decent signal or no signal at all, you may have to relocate. If you use Gmail (or Google Apps) to send and receive emails and prefer the Google Chrome browser, you may just be able to read emails and do serveral additional functions by downloading the Offline Google Mail app from the Chrome Web Store. Read More

ToutApp for iPhone: Send Repetitive Emails on the go

The web version of ToutApp makes it simple to create templates for emails you find yourself constantly  sending. Once your templates are setup, sending your contact information, a follow up email from an event, a press release, or an business pitch via email is as simple as editing names and specific details. To complement the web service, The ToutApp for iPhone lets you access and edit the addressees and send an email via your smartphone. You’re still heavily dependent on the web version to create and edit the templates, but once you get those set up exactly the way you want, sending an email via the mobile consist of inserting the name and email address and boom! You’re good to go. Read More

Boomerang Gmail Plugin Goes Mobile – Schedule Outgoing Email on the Go

The cool Boomerang Gmail desktop plug-in lets Firefox/Chrome users schedule when their outgoing messages are actually sent. Additionally, you can write reminders or follow up messages to yourself via email and make sure they arrive right when you’re ready to read them (instead of getting lost in all the junk mail your receive first thing in the morning). Think of Boomerang as a Tweet scheduler…just for email. To use the service, you had to install it to your desktop browser. Now Boomerang offers a mobile option that lets you schedule your emails at anytime from anywhere. Read More