Email productivity hacks: Inbox Pause

I have tried several things to get my email in order in pursuit of inbox zero. Gmail was a good mail client for various reasons but one of the problems I had with Gmail was the fact that it did not give me any control over when I sent or received my email. The auto refresh feature which was a good standout feature of Gmail was the culprit here. What I was hoping for was that someone would come up with such a feature among various other Labs features. I was even thinking of posting such a requirement so that some developer somewhere out there could pick up on that and maybe develop a solution.

After a couple of months I came across this blog that spoke about something called Inbox Pause. And while reading the blog I came to realize that this was developed by Baydin; the company that also happens to be the creators of Boomerang for Gmail. I almost had a feeling that this is exactly what I was looking for. I quickly proceeded to do the installation; it installed on my computer as a Chorme addon. And to my amazement, it worked was better than I had ever anticipated.

Once you install, there is this “Pause” button that appears on the top left hand corner of the screen. When you click that a prompt appears which will also let you a set an auto responder (prewritten & customizable) if you wish. You can check or uncheck that and proceed to pause your inbox. Once your inbox has been paused, then no more emails reach your inbox until you click “Unpause”. This is really neat since now you don’t have the distracting effect of emails popping up on top when you are in your inbox processing your emails one by one.

What the application really does is that it captures all your incoming email, applies a label and archives it. On clicking unpause, all mails from that label are moved back to the inbox. It’s a very simple implementation if you ask me but the value that I gain out of it is immense.

Now, I have inbox pause and everything was going good. There was this one problem still. The pause button worked only with Chrome and on the desktop browser. And I was using mail from a desktop email client. Now the thing was that I had decided to check my emails once a day. And I didn’t want fresh emails getting into my thought process should I have to log into my inbox for any reason. And to that end, the inbox pause method worked super brilliantly. The small niggle was the fact that, in the morning when it was time to check my email, I had to log into Gmail from my browser, unpause it, sync my desktop client, unpause it again and close the browser.

Now I knew that it was a series of boring and monotonous steps but what I had not thought about was the fact that there could a solution to this. So its like saying that I wasn’t even expecting anything. But then the other day, while I was in my inbox pause process, I realized that something had changed in the prompt that pops up when you press the Pause button. Now the prompt asked one more thing; at what time (s) you wanted the application to move your files to your inbox. This was super sweet! Now the application by itself will move the emails to my inbox at pre specified times and will save me from the monotonous steps that I have to go through to get that done!

It was a really neat well thought through implementation and it further re-emphasized by belief that these Baydin folks have a much better understanding of my problems with email and is constantly coming up with amazing insights as to how it can be creatively solved. I have done my first scheduling yesterday and im looking forward to its first actual implementation to have its effect on my inbox at 8am today. And its 7:57 now!

Update: It worked like a charm!