I’ve written before about cutting back on notifications. Today I want to talk a bit about how I’m using a paid service called SaneBox to reduce unwanted email notifications even further.
I initially found out about SaneBox six months ago from David Sparks. His enthusiastic recommendation was enough to get me to give the service a close look, but I was still hesitant to sign up. I take the security of my email very seriously, and I wasn’t to keen on handing over access to my email to a third party.
But, as the months went by, I kept hearing more and more wonderful things about the service from more and more people I trusted. And my own email situation was causing me grief. Every morning I’d wake up to fifty or so emails I’d have to wade through. Very little were ever of any consequence. Even fewer actually warranted a reply. I kept wishing I could setup a filter just for the emails that actually mattered and leave all the rest to be ignored or skimmed over on the weekend.
And that’s exactly the promise of SaneBox. They analyze all of your past email history, and from that they determine which emails are important and which can wait till later.
So, skeptical and a little wary, I gave them a shot.
I couldn’t be more impressed.
After scanning my eleven years of email history, my SaneBox was setup and ready to go. The whole process took less than an hour. Immediately, emails began arriving and were filtered out into a folder called “SaneLater”, which I was told to read through only when I had spare time. SaneBox promised anything important would remain in my inbox – and then show up as a notification in my email client.
It’s hard to describe just how magical this service is. Of the fifty or so emails I used to wake up to every morning, only two or three actually make it to my inbox. The rest are silently stashed away in another folder that I check every other day or so.
I can report that there have been surprisingly few false positives. And if one does slip through, I can just move that email back to my inbox and SaneBox will learn how to classify similar emails in the future.
They also offer an amazing bonus feature called SaneBlackHole. This is a special folder in your email account they create for you. Any email you move into this folder will tell SaneBox to immediately delete all future emails from that sender. It’s like an instant unsubscribe that actually works.
SaneBox has other crazy helpful features, too. You can snooze emails for later date. And they can also monitor your spam folder and report back any emails that might have accidentally been marked as spam by your email provider.
I swear SaneBox is not paying me to write any of this. The service is just that good. If you do feel like giving them a try, you can use my affiliate link to sign up. Use that link and we’ll both get $5 off.
It’s also worth pointing out that SaneBox runs entirely server-side. There’s no software or special email client you have to use. All you need is an email account that supports IMAP.