I hate email. There. I said it. I’m not alone, either. I don’t know anyone who has more than a few email accounts who doesn’t hate email. I can only describe email as the scourge from aliens intent upon driving mankind totally mad. They’re succeeding beyond their wildest expectations.
Alright, with that said, we all know email isn’t going away anytime soon. Sure, we have Messages, WhatsApp, and other ways to communicate, but the de facto standard in business and academia is email. For Mac users, most of us stick with Apple’s default Mail app, and there are ways to improve the experience.
The Mail Add-on Industry
As one who hates email and almost loathes Mail, why do I use various add-ons and plugins? To ease the pain, to soothe my misery, to put salve on my digital discomfort. Here are a few must-have add-ons for Mail.
MailFollowUp – it ain’t pretty, but it works. MailFollowUp is Greg Welch’s little baby that could; it adds follow up items to a message within the contextual menus of Mail so what you quote when you follow up looks prettier.
MailRecent – another plugin for Mail from Welch. MailRecent also adds a Copy to Recent, Move to Recent, and Go to Recent menu items in Mail which keeps an updated list of recently used mailboxes so messages can be store properly, quickly, efficiently. Anything to help.
Both are free and highly recommended.
Herald – just as free and even more useful is Herald, which is nothing short of an email notification system which acts like an email app. It pops up when email arrives, but within the popup window you get email message tools to respond, delete, read, etc. That means you can attack messages when they arrive, rather than when the list of messages grows so large it scares you.
Mail Butler – the folks at Mac360 have mixed emotions and differing perspectives on Mail Butler. If you use mail often, day and night, there are functions here that you must have and will be willing to pay for. My absolute favorite function is the Scheduler (formerly, the standalone app Send Later).
Yes, you can schedule an email to be sent at a later time. That way, no one knows you’re up and away and responding to email. I do lots of work at night to catch up, but the Scheduler in Mail Butler makes it look as if I sent it first thing in the morning– nobody bothers me late at night. Very handy.
Mail Butler is for those of us who live on email. There’s a built-in Tasks feature so email becomes a to-do item (that’s actually useful). The Snooze option lets you keep a message but not let it show in the inbox. Tracking may be the second most useful function because it lets you know whether the recipient has actually read the message you sent.
The only complaint users have is the price tag. It’s a subscription and priced like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photo’s monthly fees.
SpamSieve – if you hate email, then you hate email spam; it’s a worse plague for some of us than simply a full inbox. Apple’s Junk Mail filter is OK in Mail on the Mac, but doesn’t perform well as the number of accounts grows. Get SpamSieve. Try it. It will kill your spam problem, and there’s a way to help it kill the spam that comes to your iPhone and iPad. Mac only, though.