Discover Productivity In Your Email Inbox

Tips & Stories

Discover Productivity In Your Email Inbox

Posted by Taylor Pipes on 13 Aug 2014

Posted by Taylor Pipes on 13 Aug 2014

How many emails are in your inbox right now?

For the vast majority of us, reaching inbox zero is a difficult and ambitious goal.

Today, email has become the primary tool of communication for businesses. According to a study by the Radicati Group, there will be more than 4.9 billion email accounts by the end of 2017.

Last year, businesses sent and received more than 100 billion emails every day.

The challenge is building a personal methodology to tackle messages and remain productive at the same time. Whenever we open an email, it requires a conscious shift in focus, and that impacts your overall productivity. In the trenches of your daily work, interruptions are the primary enemy to getting things done.

Yesterday, Brigid Schulte, a Washington Post reporter, published a story on her recent quest to tackle the inbox starting with more than 20,000 emails.

Expunging emails for days (or weeks) can get you back to inbox zero, but that is a costly time expense. Simply deleting everything is a way to start over fresh, but you may lose important information to reference later.

Earlier this week, Schulte finally managed to get back to an empty inbox, but not after establishing some protocols and a rules-based system.

You can apply a similar strategy by using Evernote to streamline your email workflow in order to be productive every day.

Get ahead of future inbox excavation by making email work for you, starting now:

1. Automatically file daily and weekly recurring messages, status reports, and updates into specific Business notebooks. Once you’ve sent work-related content into Evernote, it’s all easily searchable. Just sync first.

2. Send email receipts, hotel confirmations, and other expense documentation to easily file a reimbursement report.

3. Premium users can customize your personal email address. Take advantage of this feature by contacting Evernote Support.

4. Use special characters (@, !) to control the destination notebook of your email. Learn more.

Call on Clipper

With Evernote Clipper for Chrome, you can save emails directly into Evernote, directly from your email folder. Save single emails or entire threads, add relevant tags, and immediately organize them into your notebooks.

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Evernote has a robust tagging engine and powerful search capabilities. Put them to work for you. Use the ‘#’ symbol to add a single tag (or multiple tags) to your email.

File first

For emails you frequently forward into Evernote, organize them into similar notebooks by enabling our Auto-Filing feature. Evernote will look for related notes in your account and apply the same notebook and tags. Enable Auto-Filing from your Account Preferences > Personal Settings. That checkbox looks like this:

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Set up your email client filters to automatically send email based on the sender (weekly newsletters and reports), or with a particular subject. Set the recipient email address to be your Evernote email address.

Apps to try

Stay updated by organizing incoming email into Evernote with these powerful partner applications.


CloudMagic is an iPhone and Android app that saves important  work emails to your personal Evernote or Evernote Business notebook. A few taps is all it takes to quickly save emails by auto-magically creating a new note inside your default notebook. Or, you can target the notebook by including the Evernote Business notebooks. Add tags to ensure that you stay organized and are able to find important content when you need it. Taking ownership of your inbox is difficult, but CloudMagic helps you focus on your daily work. Implement a few of these features into your daily Evernote work usage to figure what works best.

Dispatch, available for iPhone, makes it easy to immediately take action on your email when you’re on the move. Archive text from important emails — and attachments — by saving it directly into Evernote. The app was designed based on the ideas of Merlin Mann, an important figure in the GTD (Get Things Done) Movement that focuses on decluttering your inbox using delete, defer, and delegate as a way to respond to email.

Boxer, available for iOS, is the next generation of inbox. Whether you use Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, or Yahoo! Mail, Boxer manages your inbox so that you can diligently file and save important emails to Evernote. Stay on top of your work and increase your productivity.

Have you reached inbox zero with the help of Evernote? How did you get there? Share the best stories and tips about staying productive in your work in the comments.  


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12 Comments RSS

  • Alan Ralph

    I’ve changed my entire email setup in the last few months – I now use Boxer on my iPad and iPhone, and Airmail on my iMac. Both apps allow me to transfer emails to an Action Pending notebook in Evernote. I was inspired by this free video course, ‘The Secret Weapon’ ( that I discovered via LinkedIn.

    • Sandy Goodwin

      Thank you, Alan Ralph! i am in the middle of watching the Secret Weapon video series and i am convinced….i have over 5000 emails in my inbox (true confessions!). i need to install my new iMac, but am too embarrassed to contact my guru computer guy as he was so horrified by my then 2000+ emails…and had suggested the GTD…which i bought..but got bogged down…I think however that Evernote + GTD is the key! I am so stressed out by all the things i have to do…am on brain overload and am having trouble digging out! Thank you for the link and thanks to Brain Toniq for the incredibly useful info!

  • Fokke Kooistra

    Ever since the possibility to send emails to Evernote I have been using this feature to act on important emails. My workflow basically is still the same as I wrote about in 2008 on my blog.

    Emails that require just a simple reply done in two minutes are dealt with right away. Longer emails or emails with tasks in them are send over to Evernote.

    I basically use Evernote as my productivity tool for all tasks/lists to stay on top of things.

  • Walter van den Broek

    Another app to try is IQTELL, integrated with evernote. Change your emails into tasks, add to projects etc.

    • Frank

      Yep… I downloaded it today. It has some pretty detailed send to Evernote and integration features. That alone is a huge plus for them. I don’t know if I’m ready to use an email app as my whole GTD system, though… but that can be “ignored”.

  • Julian West

    One word for you – Sandbox. Love it. If I can’t get to Inbox zero for the day, I can drag everything to my “SaneTomorrow” folder and the emails be gone from my off-hours and front & center the next day. There’s also a “SaneNextWeek” folder. When used with a sane GTD system (I use Omnifocus, YMMV) you can make a good go of Inbox Zero. I’ve seen The Secret Weapon and I like it and have flirted with the idea of using Evernote instead of Omnifocus for my GTD system (since it would allow me to also perform GTD via a Web interface and/or on Windows machines). I already forward a lot of reference emails to Evernote and clip tons of material from various RSS sources, for research etc, so doing GTD there seems like something I should try.

    • Julian West

      *Sanebox 😉

  • Dave

    I use Evernote as my main tool as a School District CIO and manage my emails with it too. I even wrote about it: “Empty Inbox Courtesy of Evernote”

    Not sure what I’d do without Evernote.

  • Larry

    Why do so many people spend so much time looking for ways to complicate the simplicity of email?

  • Komrad

    For me, email usually is a notification ( we have you order, your order has shipped, your bank statement is ready, etc ) a list of new youtube videos, or information I need to save, such as the URL for my employers new web based email that I can get to from home. Some of that I would like to file automatically into every note, the rest requires an action on my part.

    I’ve heard good things about Dispatch and will look into it.

  • Francesco D'Alessio

    Extremely useful!


    Timely discussion ! I learned a lot from the details ! Does someone know where my company could get access to a template NOAA HMS Vessel Permit Application form to work with ?