Keep Your Inbox Sane With The Amazing Boomerang
I have tried MANY Email clients for desktop and my iPhone. On my desktop, I prefer to use Gmail in the browser. I like keeping my email accounts separate, and I think not having an email client makes my computer run faster. I have written about the ways I use Gmail and how I keep my thousands of messages organized and under control using labels and filters. I have also been using the Gmail app on my phone, as I like how it separates out “Social,” “Updates,” and “Promotional” messages from the main inbox.
My favorite Gmail trick is Boomerang for Gmail. I have been using this extension within Gmail on my desktop and laptop for a while and love it. I discovered an app for my phone last year, but when I tried it, there were not enough features, such as the intuitive inbox category separation mentioned above. Since I last checked, the app has been updated and has now become my default phone app for mail.
What I Love About Boomerang for Gmail
Note: Boomerang also has an extension for Outlook.
I am a fan of Inbox Zero. My “Type A” personality favors a neat and clean inbox and I know I check my inbox too often throughout the day because I don’t like seeing unread messages and am afraid of missing something – those are really excuses for the limbic system high I get from answering, archiving or deleting messages and crossing things off my list!
Boomerang – Come Back To My Inbox Later
When I am going through my inbox but don’t have time to deal with my messages, I will identify those that need attention and Boomerang them to come back at a time when I know (or hope) I will have time to deal with them. I can choose a custom day and time, but often use “In 2 hours” or “Tomorrow Morning.” This way, the messages pop up fresh and I don’t worry about forgetting about them.
The Boomerang feature also allows you to set the message to return to your inbox if you don’t receive a reply, and you can add a note to the message as well. This helps remember important email threads so they don’t fall through the cracks.
Sometimes we solve problems really quickly or work long past normal working hours. It’s not a great idea to let clients know you work into the evening, or that you will drop everything to help them, as they may develop an expectation for this all the time. I will often use the Send Later feature to send a response the next morning for this reason.
There used to be a separate extension for Inbox Pause, but it is now part of Boomerang for Gmail. It is very easy to pause and unpause the inbox using the button. I don’t use this as often as I should (see above about my addiction to an empty inbox)!
A relatively new addition to Boomerang is Respondable. This is a tool that uses artificial intelligence to help you write better, more actionable emails in real-time.
What I Love About the Phone App
All of Boomerang’s desktop features work in the phone app. Before I started using the app, I couldn’t reschedule emails with Boomerang from my phone. The app lets me do that and it makes a big difference, as I often check email on my phone and don’t have the opportunity to deal with them at the time. I love having the ability to Boomerang messages AND schedule responses to send later from my phone.
But there’s more!
The “Brief Me” screen shows (or will read out loud) your upcoming agenda, and show you how many , get a complete overview of your work day and know exactly what you need to do at a glance without getting overwhelmed by your Inbox. It gives you a forecast of how ling it will take to get through your unread messages and tells you how many emails in your inbox need to be answered.
Inbox Pause is also easy to turn on via the phone app.
I am just getting to know the Voice Assistant feature and it’s pretty cool. You can ask Boomerang to reschedule meetings (And notify attendees if you are running late!), find any email you need, pause incoming emails, and more!
Boomerang is a powerful tool and a shiny object worth checking out! Let me know what you think if you give it a try.
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