Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WotW: Achieve the Holy Grail of Inbox Zero

As you may have guessed from reading this blog and seeing the amazing things my wife creates, she is very meticulous and perhaps borderline OCD. Nowhere is her obsessive personality more prominent than in her email inbox.

She cannot rest until her inbox is completely empty. Everything has to be read, sorted, filed, deleted, etc. This is all good, as long as you can stay on top of it, which she's pretty talented at. For the rest of us mere mortals, we quickly fall behind and getting to inbox zero feels nearly impossible.

Enter Mailstrom, a brilliant solution from the genius minds at 410 Labs that simplifies the process of quickly trimming down your inbox until you get to zero. Mailstrom works with nearly any email account that uses IMAP, which includes Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Apple, and many more.

To get started, visit and enter your email address in the big box on the home page. This will put you on a waiting list. Mailstrom is still in beta stage, but the waiting list wasn't all that long for me, and it's definitely worth the wait.

Once you are approved, you will start receiving daily emails from Mailstrom (I know, funny that they clutter up your email about decluttering it, but it's a good reminder to get on it). After a week of these emails, I finally got around to doing it.

After logging in, I was taken to a screen that analyzed some of my top senders and top subject lines. Next to each grouping is a number that tells you how many emails fit that category.

From here, I was able to check the boxes of the senders or subjects I wanted and then choose to delete or archive. This quickly trimmed down my list. But, as soon as those items disappeared, new groupings appeared. Within minutes, I had archived and deleted hundreds of emails.

Soon though, I found the number of common groupings shrinking to single digits, so I moved to the more advanced (and honestly cooler) features.

This is like an Outlook on steroids. On the left, you see a number of broad filter categories. In the middle panel, you see all the filter groupings Mailstrom was able to analyze. In the large, right column are all the emails that meet this criteria.

Using this approach, you can actually see what the emails are before doing anything. If you click on a specific email, it opens up right in the window. You can then archive, delete or move items around. Oh, and if it's a subscription email, you can unsubscribe right then and there. How easy is that?

Some of my favorite filters are:


All the mailing lists you are subscribed to that clutter your account.


Again, email from social networks.


See what your largest emails and attachments are and then do something about them.


Go back in time, by month, and archive or delete all those super old emails.

As you go along, you'll notice a progress bar on the left shows your Inbox Zero progress. This automatically updates as you go along.

Personally, I always thought my wife's obsession with an empty inbox was strange, especially since the idea behind Gmail was to leave everything there and use the search features to find what you need. Even still, I find Mailstrom to be extremely useful in trimming down my inbox size and quickly organizing. Sign up today.
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