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Tons of productivity apps and new tech products come to market every month. How do you know which ones are worth your time and effort? I recently explored two new apps that support productive email management. To help save you time and effort, I want to share my experiences with a spam filter called SpamDrain, and message-alert systems such as AwayFind.

First, do you have a habit and process for managing email well? To understand why these apps may or may not be useful, you may want to read about my process for managing email.  (If you have Personal Productivity Secrets, there’s more about email management in chapters 10-12.)

SpamDrain is my new favorite. Even though I have a good system for email management, my email hosting service does a horrible job of filtering spam, and that’s a drain on my time. Desktop clients (Apple Mail, in my case) solve the spam problem when I check messages on my computer because the spam goes into the junk folder before I see it. But when checking from my smart phone, I had to view all the spam – literally hundreds of messages. When “reviewing” (see “Review, Process, Do“), I had to scroll through all the spam to find the “real” messages. I would often miss one or more amidst all the clutter. The best solution may be to change hosting providers, but I am looking for an easier fix at this time.

SpamDrain intercepts all spam before it reaches my computer, tablet or my smart phone. (I’m not sure I understand the technical “how” of this magic drain, but it works.) So the only messages I see in any inbox are actual messages from real people, or things I’ve agreed to receive. SpamDrain also has a newsletter/marketing filter that adds another layer of protection. At any time you can review your filters from your web browser or smart phone app and release any that shouldn’t have been filtered. SpamDrain learns your preferences. It also tells you what percentage of your mail is spam – in my case, it’s been 90%! Also, marking a message to be blocked by SpamDrain is faster and easier than unsubscribing.

SpamDrain has a two week free trail and then starts at a very reasonable $14.99/year.

Peak personal productivity means being in control of all of the details of your life so that you can make progress on your significant results, and doing this requires both aprocess and the right tools to support the process. I’ve found SpamDrain to be an integral ingredient in this recipe.

Up next, using technology to tame your email inbox, part 2: “message alert” services.

Thanks for reading!