IBJOpinion

WEB REVIEW: E-mail sorting service brings sanity to your cluttered inbox

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Jim Cota

This morning, I opened my e-mail account to find 10 e-mails. Until about a week ago, I would have seen about 100.

Credit goes to a workhorse service called SaneBox (www.sanebox.com). But before you can fully understand how it might change your life forever, you need to understand the problem it solves.

For many of us, e-mail is both a blessing and a curse. I truly couldn’t do my job well without it, but all the things that make it so useful (fast, easy, works on my schedule, etc.) also make it easy to get out of hand. For example, on any given day, I get about 500 e-mails. Yes, I have filters created to automatically move certain things into folders. Yes, I have keyboard shortcuts set up to move, mark, delete, etc. But even after all the automatic stuff happens, I still have to manually deal with a few hundred, when only about 100 of them really need some sort of action.

Even a conservative estimate of 10 seconds per e-mail means I’m spending at least a half hour daily processing e-mail that’s essentially unimportant. Five hours a week, almost 300 hours a year. Folks, that’s about 7 weeks’ worth of lost productivity.

So last week, I started using SaneBox, which takes a little getting used to—primarily because you have to do so little for it to be effective. It works with most mail applications, and all you have to provide is your e-mail address and password.

SaneBox then creates folders in your e-mail account—things like SaneLater, SaneNews and SaneRemindMe. It begins to process your InBox to determine which of the mail you have is important (which it leaves in your InBox). Most of it—daily deal messages, newsletters, social media notifications, etc.—gets put into SaneLater. If you get a lot of “news”-related messages, they’ll go into SaneNews.

At this point, you are probably thinking about mistakes. Like you, I’m nervous that I’ll miss a message I really need to see. Spam folders are great, but you have to check them periodically for false positives, so I had similar concerns about SaneBox.

Apparently, the engineers at SaneBox had the same thought. So they integrated a digest into the system that you can configure to arrive as often as once an hour. I started with having it delivered every four hours, but I can tell you it isn’t necessary. When you get the digest, it prompts you to review the messages that have been auto-shunted into the SaneLater mailbox. If you find any false positives, simply move them where they belong. So far, I’ve had to move only a few.

Now, all of this is nice, even though most people could do the same thing by setting up really effective filters. But a few other features put SaneBox on my must-use list. The first two are reminders.

If you see a message that needs your attention but you want to delay it, you can just forward it to 2hours@sanebox.com (or 5minutes@sanebox.com or 10days@…). The message is immediately removed from your InBox and magically reappears at the time you specified.

The RemindMe function takes this feature one step further. Let’s say you’re working on a project with Todd, who occasionally lets things slip between the cracks. Currently, if you forward him something to work on, you have to remember to follow up with him to be sure it was finished. Now, with SaneBox, you can forward the message to Todd and send a copy to 1week@sanebox.com. At the time specified, if you haven’t received a response to Todd’s message, SaneBox will remind you to follow up. You may soon realize you need to fire Todd, but stuff will be getting done.

SaneBox costs about $5 a month, but you can try it free for a week. If you don’t like it (or you cancel your account), SaneBox automatically puts everything back just the way it was. I haven’t found anything else that works as well or as easily as SaneBox to streamline and optimize my e-mail work flow. I can’t recommend it more strongly.•

__________

Cota is creative director of Rare Bird Inc., a full-service advertising agency specializing in the use of new technologies. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at jim@rarebirdinc.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

ADVERTISEMENT