But I digress. Email is what can only be determined as a necessary evil. You can’t live without it. You don’t want to live with it What can you do? Or, put another way, “What can you do for free?”
Small Is Beautiful
Life can be complicated. Humans are complicated, complex creatures, so it makes sense that we have learned to make mountains out of mole hills. Mole hills small. Mountains big.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I entered adulthood as a member of the small is beautiful and less is more generation, yet, here I am, a bona fide adult living in a complex world, and some of the blame resides on me.
Take Apple’s Mail app. Please. Mail is decent, built-in, free, and works well. Except for one thing. Or, maybe it’s 40 things. Mail is packed with features and if your email life is light, then features might be useful to you. If your email life is heavy, then small is beautiful and less is more.
Enter Spark, my favorite Mac, iPhone, and iPad email app. Spark has some features not found in Mail, but more importantly, Spark does not have most of the features found in Mail. Remember: less is more, small is beautiful.
What we want from an email app that actually helps our lives are basic options that lead toward digital nirvana. Inbox Zero. Spark easily sets email prioritization and reduces the visual clutter that makes up most email inboxes.
The Smart Inbox lets you see threads. One click and you’re back to the standard list of messages. From there you can decide which are important, which need attention now, and which need attention at a later date. Even better, Spark has a built-in Send Later feature so you can respond to an email but have it sent at a different time.
The Follow Up Reminders feature lets you chew through email, work toward Inbox Zero, but get important issues to come back to you as a reminder. Guess what? Calender is integrated so you can see the best times to work on whatever issue is plaguing you in whatever message.
I have come to be a strong proponent of what is called Swipes. The option to swipe left or right on a message and move it into a pre-determined action quickly and easily. Messages can be Snoozed and Shared and Delegated. Set a Reminder to follow up on a specific message. Set up a Smart Notification so only important messages make noise.
Now, if you’re like me and have far too many email accounts, then Spark shines. Accounts can be synced between devices. Even Mail cannot do that. Even settings can be synchronized and personalized settings work on Mac, iPhone, and iPad versions. In fact, the new iPadOS Spark handles multi-tasking with multiple open windows.
All of this inbred ability to help you chew through messages to reach Inbox Zero comes at a price.
Don’t’ ask why. It’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature. If you want more features, particularly those useful to teams in business, Spark has a price tag. No, you won’t find the same features as Mail or Outlook. What you find are just the features you need to get through the Inbox so you maintain control.