Home You Can Still Get To Inbox Zero Fast Without Mailbox

You Can Still Get To Inbox Zero Fast Without Mailbox

This post appears courtesy of the Ferenstein Wire, a syndicated news service. Publishing partners may edit posts. For inquiries, please email author and publisher Gregory Ferenstein

My favorite email application, Mailbox, is shutting down in February, so I’m scrambling for an alternative. Fortunately, Mailbox’s trailblazing features have been widely adopted by many of its competitors, so there are plenty of options. My favorites are Google’s Inbox and Microsoft Outlook (yes, Outlook works for iPhone and Gmail users).

Mailbox pioneered a strategy for tackling email overload that has dramatically increased my productivity: We should get to inbox zero every day, even if it means postponing answering messages for later. Instead of sitting idle in your inbox, a user “swipes” a message out of the inbox and it re-appears if it goes unanswered or if there’s a better time to compose a thoughtful response. 

See also: Why Google Doesn’t Hire Based On Ivy League Credentials 

So, for instance, I may wait a week for an editor to get back to me on a story pitch before sending them a reminder email. Instead of staring at the message for a week in my inbox, Mailbox pioneered a “swipe left” feature that allowed users to quickly schedule a time for an unanswered message to pop back into the inbox. 

The swipe-based user interface became so popular that top tech companies, including Google and Microsoft, overhauled their email apps to incorporate this new design into their own revamped mobile apps, Inbox and Outlook, respectively. 

To quantify which app was the quickest at getting me to inbox zero, I created an experiment with 20 mock emails and timed how long it took me to get through them with Dropbox’s Mailbox, Google’s Inbox, and Microsoft’s Outlook. Mailbox was the fastest. 

  • Mailbox: 5:08 seconds
  • Google Inbox: 7:15 seconds
  • Microsoft Outlook: 9:08 seconds

But, now that Dropbox is shutting down Mailbox, it seems like Google’s inbox will be the fastest email application.

I’ll still end up with both Outlook and Inbox on my iPhone. Outlook has some nice features, including Dropbox integration (a backup service I use to store and transfer files). Also, it can be frustrating to use Inbox for some emails, such as when I need to switch a recipient to CC. When one email application fails for some simple reason, it’s nice to have a backup.

I’ll be porting over to Gmail’s Inbox this week. And, if another great technology comes along, I’ll be sure to try those too, to find the best apps to tackle one of our most persistent enemies in modern life: the inbox monster. 

Image courtesy of Dropbox

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Gregory Ferenstein
Staff Writer

Former Staff Writer for ReadWrite. I started my career as a freelance writer in 2009 covering business innovation, did peer-reviewed research on Silicon Valley,(2016), architected bills in Congress (2017), and ran economic field experiments (2019).

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.