3 free apps to conquer your Gmail inbox
In churches the amount of email flying around can be scary. Last week we checked out 8 Google Labs customisations that can make you more productive with Gmail.
It’s not just Google who want to make their mail program more efficient. There are many other apps that can help you to triumph over your Gmail inbox and get down into the valley where you are needed the most.
And the good news for your church budget is that the following trio of helpful apps are all completely free.
Churches are all about relationships. Rapportive is a clever widget that shows you information about your contacts. When you're reading mail, you can see what the senders look like, where they are, and what their interests are.
What’s clever is that it sits right in your inbox. I have it where the Google ads normally sit. Rapportive suggest that you can "establish rapport by mentioning shared interests" and increase your network by connecting on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. You can also leave notes about a person for future reference.
Once you have tried it, it seems a natural thing to do. Rapportive provides context for who I’m communicating with. And whether this is a good thing or not I’m not sure, but it means I will never miss a tweet from my pastor again…
Boomerang for Gmail is a neat little app that helps you to stay on top of your email and even to achieve inbox zero.
The main thing I use it for is to schedule emails to be sent later. It puts a ‘send later’ button next to the usual ‘send’ one. Simply click it when you’ve written your email to be shown options for timing. You can pick a date from the calendar or type in an instruction like “next Monday”.
This is handy for scheduling emails late at night to give the impression I work late! More seriously, I schedule emails before taking leave to make sure something gets done in the office while I’m away.
Another nifty feature of Boomerang is it removes messages from your inbox until you need them again. You can bounce emails back at a later time and date so you can forget about them and just act on them when they pop up again. The app archives the message until the time you chose. You can select if you want it to reappear marked unread, starred, or at the top of your email list.
Boomerang is also useful if you need to follow up an email that you have sent within a specific time frame. You can choose to only be reminded if nobody replies, or just be reminded anyway. It stops messages from slipping through the crack and prevents you from forgetting important issues if you have not had a reply.
Finally, you need an ad blocker to remove the annoying adverts on the right hand side of the screen. This makes more room for your messages, or for other useful apps like Rapport.
If you are using the Chrome browser, Webmail Ad Blocker will remove both the ads and the people info on the right.
If you are using Firefox, you can download Gmelius to get rid of all the ads in Gmail and improve the interface.
Gmail is a fantastic mail program for churches not least because it is free. Taking a bit of time to find and install apps that improve the interface and features is worth it because they can help you to make your workflow more efficient. They allow you to quickly conquer your email, freeing up more time for other important church activities. And as we've found out, they don’t have to cost a penny either.
What else do you use to stay on top of your email? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter.