Do you often dread even opening your inbox for fear of the clutter monster that’s been quietly but quickly growing while you’ve been working with clients?
Seeing an inbox of 20, 40 or even 100 unread emails can feel super overwhelming. Where do you even start?
When it comes to managing my inbox and emails, my favorite piece of technology is Boomerang for Gmail.
This handy piece of programming, which works as an inbox extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera, allows you to take back control of your inbox. What the what?!? Yes, having a decluttered, organized is possible!
What the what?!? Yes, having an organized, decluttered inbox is possible!
For me, I operate my inbox at zero messages, which means I process and respond to emails with the goal to have NO EMAILS IN MY INBOX just sitting there. It may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s how I’ve always operated.
To keep my inbox as close to zero as possible, here’s the top two ways I use Boomerang:
Send an email at a later time
You’ve been there – you want to respond to an email, but don’t want the timestamp to read 4 am. Or you know a specific email will need to go out in a week or two. You can’t send it now and you want to cross the task off of your list NOW.
No problem – write your email today and schedule it to automatically send at the desired future date and time. You write your email as your usually would, but instead of clicking the blue Send button, you now have the option of the red Send Later button to send out your email in the future.
Here’s how it looks when sending instructions to a guest on my client’s podcast:
- Type up the email as if I want to send it today, including the PDF attachment of instructions for the guest.
- Click the red Send Later button, which brings up the calendar selector.
- Select or manually type the date and time for when you want to send the email. This is usually 4-6 weeks out for me.
- Click the blue Confirm button and the message will be on its way at the designated date and time.
- Cross the task off my list a few weeks early!
Remind myself to follow-up if I don’t hear back
My clients frequently comment on how on-the-ball I am with reminders. My secret – I set emails to boomerang back into my inbox after a certain amount of time.
Here’s how it looks when sending an invoice to a client:
- Send email with a notice of new invoice on Day 1. When sending the email, I also set the email to boomerang back into my inbox after 7 days. I also select for the email to be returned regardless of if anyone responds to it or not (note – you also have the option to only return the message if no one has replied or clicked or opened it).
- The message appears back in my inbox on Day 7, which prompts me to check on the invoice and see if it has been paid.
- If not, a gentle payment reminder email goes out and I set another boomerang on the message so that it reappears in my inbox after another 4 days.
- This cycle is completed until the invoice has been paid.
This way, emails, systems, tasks, and projects don’t fall through the cracks and I can continue to provide a high level of service without having to constantly think about if something was done or not.
There is a free version, which has a limit to how many messages you can ‘boomerang’ in one month (as of this writing, that limit is 10) and a paid version that allows for unlimited ‘boomeranging’ of messages.
I bought my annual subscription with a promo code and it cost $34.99 for an entire year. Less than $35 for a personal assistant in my inbox – crazy amazing deal, right?
There is also a version for Outlook, and it works with mobile devices too. Since I work on Gmail only and try my best to not conduct business on my mobile device, I cannot fully comment on the functionality of those versions, but if you’re on those platforms, give Boomerang a whirl.
Dip your toe in the water and test out the free version today. Then, let me know it helped you streamline your inbox. Already using Boomerang? I want to hear how you love it!
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash