Picking up the slack with email

I have been exploring email clients today to see if I should make a switch.

I am currently using GMail (Gsuite – Business) which works okay but there are certain tools or features within it that I am missing that would help me in my work if I had them to hand.

Here’s my email wishlist:

1. Canned responses with custom fields

I often find myself retyping emails for repeated tasks – say, sending out documents to a client for approval. Although there is a ‘canned responses’ feature within GMail, it doesn’t allow for custom fields e.g. {{ firstname }} etc, which would allow me to scale up the speed of my email processing.

Postbox does seem to offer this feature but I am less keen on the interface of this email client to make it worth the switch.

2. Automated workflows

It would be nice if there was an email client that would allow for custom automated workflows (sequences) so that emails could be set up to ‘fire’ at certain steps or dates.

There are marketing email (saas) offerings that offer this feature but they are add-ons aimed specifically at outreach marketing rather than for day-to-day email use.

MixMax is a great solution that offers decent workflows but it is expensive and it also seems to be shifting more towards outbound email marketing than an everyday productivity tool.

3. Task Management

It would be helpful to have a decent task management system that is built into the email dashboard that can also link into the email sequences and workflows (noted above).

So that there is no need to jump out to Trello or Asana etc. To have it all built into the email dashboard.

4. Collaborative inbox

To be able to see a shared team inbox with the ability to assign emails and tasks all within the email interface would be great.

Wrap-up

There’s a relatively new solution called Karbonhq that I think meets much of my brief but I trialled it a while back and couldn’t quite get used to it. Maybe I should revisit it…

So my search continues, although part of the problem may be that I am so used to Gmail that I find it difficult to get used to working with anything else. One killer aspect of Gmail is its search capabilities (which should be no surprise as a Google product) and nothing else I have used comes close. It is surprising how often I find myself searching my inbox for old messages. Plus their keyboard shortcuts are awesome.

My most likely solutions lie in Gmail plugins that add my wishlist features. The search continues… Unless I opt to dump email altogether and shift to Slack…?

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