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The Best Tools for Email Productivity

Lifestyle |

Feeling flummoxed by a flurry of daily emails? Here are a few “freemium” productivity tools that may help make your life easier.



What: A way to remind yourself of things to do, right in your email. You can cc or bcc yourself with tasks (more info here).

Cost: Free version: unlimited email follow-ups in the free version. Premium version: $4.99/month or $49/year including attachments in follow-ups, SMS reminders, etc.

If you are overwhelmed by project management software and use your email inbox as a to-do list, try putting tasks into your emails with FollowUpThen. You can bcc yourself a reminder such as “TO:” and FollowUpThen will send that email back to your inbox with the reminder on that date.

Contactually and Nimble

What: For power networkers with more to spend

Cost: $15 – $99/month

If you don’t need enterprise-grade CRM tools, consider using Contactually or Nimble to remind yourself of when to follow up with people in your network or sales pipeline. Beyond the trial period they’re not free, but depending on the plan, it’s a lot cheaper than Salesforce (and easier to use too).


What: Rapportive shows you everything, including social, about your contacts right inside your inbox.

Cost: Free

You can also take notes on your contacts in the Rapportive sidebar, without having to go to another website—it’s all in the Gmail interface. The way it works is that when you hover over or type in an email address, Rapportive checks to see if that email is connected to a LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter account. If the email is connected to another account, you’ll see that person’s contact info in a Rapportive sidebar where Google ads usually go, at the right of the screen.


What: A plugin for Gmail where you can schedule an email to be sent later, or create easy email reminders.
Cost: Free version: 10 boomeranged messages (scheduled messages or mark-as-unread-if-recipient-doesn’t-respond-emails) for free per month. Premium version: $4.99/month for the Personal plan or $14.99/month for the Professional plan, for unlimited boomerangs and more features (e.g. recurring messages). They also have group subscriptions for companies.

You can schedule an email to send at 9:30 am on a Monday, even if you write it at 2 am on Saturday. If someone doesn’t respond to an email, you can get the message “boomeranged” back to your inbox as unread, so you know to follow up with the person.

What tools do you think are most useful for email productivity? Let us know in the comments!

Watch Office Hours with Lauren Crampsie, Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer at Ogilvy & Mather, to learn more about how she manages her day!

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I've heard of Rapportive before, but did not know much about it. Thanks for sharing!


After reading your article I installed rapportive. It's one of those things were you say I can't believe I just found out about this. It is an amazing tool. Thanks for sharing.

Katharine Bierce

Katharine graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago with a degree in Psychology. Over the last few years, she’s been thinking about what makes organizations tick and how to connect people to career development opportunities, whether through compiling resources like this Google Doc ( or making introductions. In 2012, she was a Finalist for the Net Impact “Impact at Work” award for her “intrapreneurship” in a global employee volunteering group at work. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, reading, cooking and meditation. You can follow Katharine on Twitter @kbierce.