The concept of inbox zero is nothing new. It is a nirvana-like inbox state that many people try to attain. We all know the feeling of glancing at a bulging inbox with emails that are yet to be read, more that need to be responded to, and yet more that need filing or deleting. Doing this by hand can be time consuming, but if you have thousands of messages to deal with, Mailstrom could be the tool to get you back on the right track.
Mailstorm is a new beta email app designed to help you keep your inbox under control. Lets see if it’s the app you need to take your unread messages in your inbox by storm.
What is Inbox Zero?
There are strong arguments in favour of inbox zero – it makes a great deal of sense. Inbox zero says that if you have emails that need a response, you should respond to them; if emails need to be labelled or categorized, do so; if there are emails that are no longer needed, delete them.
At least that’s the theory. It sounds easy, and if you have never let your inbox run out of control you would be forgiven for wondering what all of the fuss is about. Despite the name, Inbox Zero need not involve working through your inbox until you literally have no messages in it – if you can do this, great, but it’s not the point.
You do not need to delete or move every email that reaches your inbox, but you do need to process it and then deal with it in one way or another. Many people look at their inbox like a todo list, and Inbox Zero is all about nothing more than ensuring that you have as few (preferably zero) emails that need attention. This does not mean you will never refer back to old email, or will have to start deleting everything you receive – it’s about getting organized.
The dictionary definition of maelstrom is ‘a powerful often violent whirlpool sucking in objects within a given radius’, and this is what your inbox is in danger of becoming. Mailstrom is the tool that can help you to avoid this.
The tool can be used with any IMAP email account, but it is particularly helpful with Gmail. While Google’s webmail service provides users with a variety of ways to filter and search messages, it is lacking in several areas – such as an inability to sort emails by size or use column headings to sort messages.
Mailstrom is not an email client, but it acts much like a proxy sitting in between you and your inbox. This is likely to immediately start security alarm bells ringing, but the service is only able to read email headers – these can then be used to analyze your mail – and you can revoke access at any time.
Clear Out the Clutter
You may have to wait a while as your inbox in analyzed – at time of writing there is a queue of a few thousand people, but this is reducing gradually – but it won’t be long before you can start taking advantage of Mailstrom.
Once you’re in, you’re presented with various views of your inbox. Your emails can be filtered according to sender, subject, size, and much more. Just click one of the headings over to the left of the page and your messages will be filtered. As we’ve mentioned, this is not necessarily something you would not be able to do in your webmail without help, but it makes things so much easier and quicker.
Having made a selection from the left, you can then use the central column to home in on more specific email. For example, if you select the Social category, all of your emails from social networks will be filtered, but you can narrow this down so you are only looking at messages relating to Facebook.
With email filtered in this way, you can then deal with messages in chunks. You may decide that you don’t need to keep all of the notification sent to you by LinkedIn, or you may opt to archive all of your Facebook related messages. All you need to do is click the relevant button in the right hand column.
There’s also the Move button. This can be used to move message out of your inbox into another folder but, importantly, it gives you the option of creating rules so that similar messages will be automatically moved to relevant folders in the future.
This can cut down the amount of work you have to perform yourself, and another way Mailstrom can help you out in this area is by picking out emails that originate from mailing lists. This means that you can not only quickly delete those messages you’re not interested in, but also make use of the incredibly handy Unsubscribe button which does precisely what you would expect.
The thing to remember here is that Mailstrom is not a magic solution; it does not provide you with anything particularly out of the ordinary. In fact, you could do the job of Mailstrom yourself by performing a variety of searches and setting up filters. But the point is that if you have reached the point where you are considering using Mailstrom you probably fall into one of two camps.
It could be that you’re the sort of person who has just become overwhelmed by a massive quantity of email and don’t know where to start. If this sounds like you, you’re unlikely to start investigating the search and filter options of your email service, and Mailstrom is going to make things a whole lot easier for you.
Or it could be that you’re just looking to get a little more organized, using your inbox as a tool to increase, rather than hinder, productivity. Wherever you stand, this is a great tool that can cut through thousands of emails in a next to no time. You should be sure to signup and give it a try as soon as you can get a place in their queue.