You’ve read of my hatred for email in the past, but now there is scientific proof that email is a time killer. Says who? Says Adobe. I believe in Photoshop, so I trust the results of research now in its fourth year. Email sucks.
Many of us who are information workers need to learn to use new applications, upgraded applications, or even how to use a PC or Mac. Change. That’s the nature of the digital economy. We will never reach a point where change is not part of our work equation.
According to Adboe, white-collar workers check in on email 2.5 hours each weekday. The average worker checks work email three hours per day. Do the math. Email is a time killing scourge, a time suck of immense propotions– on average– across the good old U.S. of A. Or, at least in California where Adobe resides.
The results are interesting and worth a read, but all that time begs a question– what can we do to reduce the amount of time devoted to email; whether checking, filing, or responding to messages?
Therein lies the rub.
If you’re a Mac user, it’s likely you use Mail. Why? It’s there. It’s free. It’s loaded with features and comes with a built-in Junk Mail. The problem is simple. Mail has too many features, too much visual clutter, and no easy way to chew through a day of email.
Here are a few options I use but on different devices. Since all my email accounts– excluding Gmail, Yahoo! email, Exchange, and Apple’s iCloud email– are IMAP, it’s easy to keep them managed on different devices; Mac, iPhone, iPad.
Airmail – This is what I use to replace Mail on my Mac and I love it. It handles all the aforementioned email account types, and is highly customizable with more one-click options than most other email apps.
Airmail has a quick reply option, Gmail shortcuts, labeling and moving for easier file organization, per account notifications, a unified Inbox, easy access to IMAP folders, global search, split-screen, and filters, filters, and filters for easy customization. And, it works with SpamSieve so it handles spam better than Mail’s Junk Mail.
Yet, with all that goodness, I don’t use Airmail on my iPhone or iPad? Why not? First, it isn’t as stable as I like (I have a bunch of email accounts) and not all the settings from Airmail on Mac transfer to Airmail on iOS, so there is plenty of extra and manual effort.
Spark – This is what I use on iPhone and iPad. Like Airmail, it handles all the basic email accounts, IMAP, but does not have all the functions and features and bells and whistles of Airmail. That’s a good thing because Spark is faster and easier to use than any iOS email app I’ve ever used.
Spark is fast and efficient and when I’m mobile and moving around, I don’t want to wade through settings and options with email. I want to look at a message and swipe and know that it moved to the correct folder location. Plus, Spark has a great Send Later feature so you can respond to a message, and then set a time to have the message sent.
Guess what? Spark is free. It also comes with a bunch of built-in options for teams, but I use it for speed.
I don’t find it hard to believe that people spend hours a day on email. Add text messaging to that time hog and you can see why humanity has trouble with itself. Email does not help and the less time we spend using it the better.