Mailbox helps you put email in its place

Mailbox app icon

Mailbox is a free app that helps you decide what to do with the deluge of emails that bombard your inbox on a daily basis.

Right now, Mailbox only works for Gmail or Google Apps for Business users, and on iPhones and iPads, but other platforms are coming soon.

The makers of Mailbox say this app makes getting your inbox to zero and staying there a breeze. Let’s see if they’re right.

Have you met the Inbox Zero philosophy?

Inbox Zero is based on shifting your view of your inbox from an archive or To Do list, to seeing it as a temporary holding space for email. (The key word in that sentence is temporary.)  This philosophy promotes the idea that when an email comes into your inbox, you must immediately do something with it.

What you exactly do may differ from the next person. It depends on the system you have (or don’t have) already set up. The goal is to have zero email in your inbox at the end of each day.

My system for handling email

The decision points for me with every email I receive are the following:

1. Delete immediately if it’s junk or something I know is irrelevant.

2. File it in a folder for future use or reference.

3. Do it now (if it will take me fewer than 2 minutes) + Delete or File.

4.  Do it later (if it will take me longer than 2 minutes). These emails go into the following folders: Action, Pending, Read, Pay.  (Note: the emails in my Action folder are bound for my task or project list.)

How Mailbox works

With Mailbox, you use finger gestures or swipes to move emails out of your inbox.

Essentially, these tactile gestures make it easy and effortless for people to do something with each email in order to get them out of the inbox.

Mailbox gives you four options for handling email

1. Archive – with a quick swipe to the right, emails are sent into the archives in case they are needed at a later date.

2.  Trash – a long swipe to the right and your email heads to the waste basket.

3.  Later – this is the snooze button for email.  Swipe left and you can specify when the email will return to your inbox. (Love this!)

4. Lists – long swipe left will save the email to one of the lists (or folders) you’ve set up. The default lists within Mailbox are: To Read, To Watch or To Buy. These can be customized.












 Take a look at Mailbox in action


Pros + Cons


  • Nice interface
  • Easy to use once you’ve memorized the swipes
  • Customizable
  • Makes inbox zero a possibility


  • Only supports Gmail accounts right now
  • Only works on iOS devices (iPhone + iPad)
  • Still requires you to act on those emails filed away

Still wondering if Mailbox is for you?

If you’re the type of person who has no problem keeping your inbox close to zero, I’d say stick with the system you’ve already created. But if you’ve tried and failed many times and your inbox is overflowing and overwhelming, give Mailbox a try.

Now it’s your turn

Be honest, how many email messages do you have in your inbox? Have you tried getting to zero? Have you succeeded? If so, how? Share your comments below and let’s continue our conversation.

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