Revisiting email management. Fav. tips? [Overdone?]

Hello all,

Aside from “Sanebox,” what are some of your favorite ways to ensure you see important email messages?

Could be software, a process, rules or a combo of all of these.

I almost missed an important reply because it was buried (and pushed way down the list of inbound messages by the usual flood of stuff).

I’m about to have a “business-specific email address,” that could fix some of this; but maybe not.

Some friends ONLY use their business email address for everything (the two I am thinking about who do this the most are the founders of their own businesses).

I don’t think I’ll do that. Not sure about the best solution yet.

SaneBox may be a great way to manage this; but I have too many email addresses(!). It would be expensive to manage that way.

The exact scenario is:

I emailed someone I knew about setting up a business lunch soon with a third person (cc-ing the 3rd person).

This is someone I have known for a while but did not have his email address until recently; so he is not yet in my address book.

I was just about to call him and say, “Hello, I think I made it to your junk-mail folder… Unless your reply made it to MY junk mail folder; then I’ll have to apologize.”

JUST before I used my phone as a phone, I thought, “Let me search my inbox for his name.”

Bam! There it was: He replied to me a week and a half ago!

He has actually been on vacation most of this time; but it was still almost a serious slip-up.

I have listened to several email episodes and have enjoyed hearing our hosts’ and guests’ (and even listeners’) opinions; but feel free to reiterate something or share something new.

Who knows? You may be reiterating something I missed the first time around! :wink:



P.S. I’ve searched the forums and may go back and re-listen to Eps. #421 (Business Workflows) and #303 (Email Clients and Workflows). Those are from 2018 and everyone may’ve come up with more cool ideas since then.

I’ve also enjoyed reading the posts/threads I’ve found including:

Email app indecision - gmail or - Software - MPU Talk

which had a lot of info. on the pros and cons of Gmail and w/ SaneBox.

MPU Forum member wweber’s comment on that thread may echo my mood (currently channeling, “Diogenes the Cynic”). … wweber said, “Some day I’ll find one I like… maybe.”


@TimInHouston, I found my sweet spot with MailMate + SpamSieve, this combo helps me power through communications and handle spam on my own conditions without the necessary monthly subscription to sanebox.

MailMate is pretty much eMail for Power Users, its filter capabilities is extensive and full featured. Think of Apple Mail on steroids and everything you would wish it to be.

SpamSieve, advanced spam filtering and control over what gets considered spam, there is some training required (good reference) but the rewards are well worth it.

Hope this helps.



I’m on the Airmail beta and have been playing with the Smart Inbox feature, it excludes newsletters from your inbox and that definitely helps. I’m also a big fan of Unibox for seeing (and clearing out…) email by sender, it’s a different approach but is pretty handy. The Mac version is included with Setapp too which is a definite win.

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I’m pretty comfortable in using separate email addresses for separate areas of my life.

right now i have two work accounts (“normal” and certified email - the latter being an italian unique thing, afaik) a personal one and a “newsletter / general ID” one.

I generally use unified inbox but if I want to focus I just have to switch to the appropriate one.

Other than that, I have some rules that flag and archive some kind of messages (whether work related or not), and use some smart folder.

To give context: overall I receive 60-70 mail a day, and try to triage all the work related every day. And I use the stock mail app.

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I just downloaded the Mailmate trial this week, and I’m impressed. I haven’t even set up rules yet, but it’s fast and the search is great.

Tangent: I had given up on third-party apps and returned to Mail, but it’s slow and doesn’t even do the little things right. Things like “when I click ‘Forward’, place the cursor in the “TO:” field because there’s a 90% chance I just want to enter an address and send. Making me click into the “TO:” field is the kind of thing I expect Windows to do and MacOS not to do.

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I’ve been considering MailMate for a while. And I’m a fan of SpamSieve’s developer (I regularly use another app of his) but since I pull email from services (Yahoo, Gmail) that already do spam filtering I don’t think I need a Mac-based spam filter, do I?

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I periodically use Unibox the same way you do. It’s a neat app, but not something I’d rely on as my main email client.

I owned the last, non-subscription version of Airmail on my iPhone and constantly had bugginess problems: swiping gestures locking up, swipes not acting on mail and general bugginess well-reported by others. Its search speed was super, though the stock Gmail and Yahoo mail apps are pretty speedy as well.

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What is that? Never heard of it. Care to elaborate?

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I have been using MailMate for more then 4 years now. Its the best. Once you get more into rules and smart mailboxes, its pretty much high on steroids.


I’m 99% sure I’ll buy it when the trial is up. I’m hoping to dig into the mail rules this weekend so I can start harnessing some of the untapped potential of DEVONthink 3 in conjunction with mail to auto-file some stuff I’ve been filing manually (or forgetting).

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I tried sanebox for awhile. It was fine. The thing that has worked best for me is keeping the amount of email in my inbox low with some quick and simple methods to get stuff out of the inbox, and to keep stuff from getting there in the first place.

  1. I don’t use folders. I archive. I use the keyboard shortcut (recently the touchbar on my Mac) And I’m ruthless and fast about it. There’s not a lot of thinking that has to happen. And my inbox is quickly cleaned from all the non-actionable cruft that can bury the important stuff. Everything is searchable.
  2. I’ve shifted newsletters away from my inbox and into Feedbin/Reeder. It keeps more stuff out of my inbox, and I feel like I’m actually reading newsletters now.
  3. I use a “bacon” email address when I sign up for anything that feels like it’s going to cause email. I can check it for things when I need them or want them, but generally don’t ever need to look at that account except when i have to verify my email address for something.
  4. I make judicious use of Omnifocus Mail drop for email that is a task. I don’t always organize it in OF before I do the task. But They’ve added a feature to mail drop so that messages forwarded there have a link back to the actual email if you need it. This still works if the email is archived. I also have a perspective that pulls up un-processed tasks that were sent from email by using “Fwd:” as the search.
  5. I (Sometimes) set up VIPs so I know when a client or someone else important is in my inbox. Doesn’t help for people that aren’t yet in my address book. But it can be helpful.

It’s not bulletproof but it’s simple, it’s fast, it’s free, and I don’t have to worry about the folders that a service has created, or what happens if I decide to stop using the service.


Here is a 13 part short video series of MailMate. There are some good concepts covered It might help you.

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Thank you, @sangadi!

um, Why are things still in your inbox?

No rules or software will sort it perfectly for you. You have to do the work, read, delete or handle messages regularly. Now you can set expectations to only do it a couple times a week or something, probably dependent on your email volume but you can’t ignore it and there is no software available to mortals that can do a really good job of parsing natural language and deciding what is spam.

White listing has never worked for me. I gat far too many important messages from people I’ve never heard of. The hazards of 15 mail accounts and being an officer in 3 organizations, one of which covers both the US and Canada.

Separating out mail by the account it comes in from is helpful. I can pretty much guarantee that everything to or is about sheep or is spam. My account gets lots of spam because it’s live on a web site but also gets real messages.

Of the spam catchers I agree with @DWillitzer

is the best of the lot

That plus plenty of mail rules that sort out the newsletter and advertising stuff I don’t want to see in my inbox but also don’t want to stop from coming works well. There are coupons I use frequently enough that I want to keep on those advertising lists but I also don’t want them in my face every day. I sort that mailbox weekly.

I use stock Apple Mail and I usually get between 250-500 email messages a day. Incoming mail spikes in the spring when it’s lambing time as I get questions on registering sheep and on general neonatal lamb care from Black Welsh breeders.

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I know!

I’ve never done inbox zero and my smallest (newest) account (Gmail) has a gazillion messages in it – I’m sure a lot could be archived/deleted in all of my inboxes.

I think One problem is that I stay in an all-inboxes view too often and that includes my “bacon” address that I’ve used to register software and products for years – Trouble is that account is also the email address some important things show up in (tax stuff, car-related stuff [the “gentlemen” where I bought my last car sold my cell phone number, I’m so glad I didn’t give them an important email address!], etc.)!

Will work on filtering/archiving!! Thank you!!

Thank you to all!! … I’ve learned about programs/services I’ve never heard of (and non-subscription ones, Yay!!).

Thank you again!!

Will keep looking at this thread as I’m sure there are more things to learn and more info. will come in!!

Tried it but found it added no benefit to my work/life. For my personal accounts, I use SpamSieve (with mild pre-sorting using SpamAssasin), my corporate mail addresses use whatever filter the IT implemented.

Then I use a lot of rules to sort/mark mail.

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In a few words: it’s an email account that italian law states every business and professional (lawyers, accountants, architects etc) must have, and that gives to email the same legal value of registered mail (wikipedia link, just because I suspect that has a different name in every country): it gives the proof of delivery. Oh and the address is in a public registry.

Your provider, when you send a certified email to another certified email address, generates a report that states that you sent the email, and the other party provider sends you a similar report that states that the email has been delivered.

Other than this use case, we (lawyers) use it to file acts and documents to the courts without the need to go there in person, or to notify acts to the other parties, so it’s quite handy, if you ask me :smiley:

Edit: ok, it looks like there’s a wikipedia page for this kind of email :stuck_out_tongue:

I get twitchy if my combined inbox has more than 50 messages in it and I make a valiant attempt to get to zero at least twice a week. The most often reason a few messages stick in is I am unsure what to do with them. Sometimes it’s just me being tired of processing stuff and the brain is fried. I do email last and sometimes I just plain am not sure what to do with it or whether I really DO need to do anyting and even waiting a few hours might get me another message that will answer that.

I set rules for mails I receive. I know it’s a bit of work to establish it. Every email thats sent to me should get a Label (In Gmail parlance) I remove the Inbox Label and assign it appropriate Label at the server settings. If it reaches my Inbox, it means I have to decide what I need to do with that sender and he does get a label (Work, Friends, VIP, Family, Education, Sports, Forums, NewsLetters etc). So if I happen ti receive an email and it reaches my inbox then it means it needs some attention.

So basically my inbox is always zero , as my mails are well classified. There is no way I can miss them as they are in Bold Unread and I can deal with them just by knowing what the Labels they are in.

I set these rules on the Server side, so that any client I use, they are uniform across the board. But I use MailMate to further set more granular rules for Smart Mailboxes and stuff like that.

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