Sortd – The Best Way to Organize Your Gmail Inbox for Free

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Our email inboxes seem to get more and more communications everyday, due to the majority of businesses switching to digital marketing. The estimated number of emails sent and received each day in 2017 is 269 billion and this is expected to continue to grow (Radicati Group, Inc., 2017). With so many emails it can be daunting and a huge time sink to try and keep things organized. No-one wants to miss any important emails. I’ve tried a lot of different methods over the years but they all seemed to take a lot of effort and time to maintain. That is, until I discovered Sortd as a way to organize Gmail.
PC screen with keyboard, mouse, pen and white mug with blog title overlayed on top

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled upon it but I’m so glad I did. It was most likely when I was searching for some email tool because my home emails were such a mess with so many marketing emails that I just avoided it. This just caused issues with me missing important emails, like from utilities companies or my bank.

Sadly Sortd is a ‘Skin’ Only for Gmail Within the Google Chrome Browser

I can honestly say I’m more of a Firefox girl at heart but recently that has been changing. I moved my work related internet tasks from Firefox to Gmail and I’m pretty happy with it. Firefox seems to have become quite clunky and unstable lately. Not sure if it’s just me and too many add-ons, or Firefox isn’t as good as it used to be.

I haven’t made the leap to chrome at home 100% yet. I’ve moved all Gmail related tasks though, purely because of how awesome Sortd works at sorting my inbox. I currently have 2 personal emails with Gmail that are completely clear and have been for several months now. It also helps that I’ve setup Unroll.me.

Added Recently are Sortd Free and Paid Options

It’s worth noting that Sortd has recently gone from invite only to full fledged application with paid options. I have been using the invite-beta version for about 6months. It has been very reliable despite some minor bugs – loosing some progress, or the odd error message that doesn’t really seem to do anything.

Sortd Plan options for free, pro & team

The Sortd Free Package is All You Really Need

How things will progress with the inclusion of paid packages I’m not sure. It hopefully means more funding and even better development.

Since adding paid packages, I know they’ve limited some of the features such as items on lists and the total number of lists for free users. So far the limits are fairly generous and I don’t think most people will need the paid version. The free package should be all you need in my opinion. Hopefully they won’t impose further limitations down the line.

However, don’t get me wrong. I understand that good apps are rarely free and developers need to make money somewhere. I’d personally consider paying for the app if I needed to since it’s so good. But some companies go overboard with paid versions in my opinion. Dropbox for example is rather pricey and there is no in-between for the pricey paid version and the free version. I’ve just ended up putting my Dropbox files across multiple accounts and some into Google Drive instead.

To highlight the free version of Sortd has:

  • Up to 4 lists max
  • Each List as a limit of 25 incomplete tasks
  • No access to reminders
  • Limited Snooze emails

To upgrade to unlimited lists, tasks, reminders and unlimited snooze emails it’s currently $2 (£1.55 approx) per month. That’s very reasonable and affordable, although I think the majority of people will be very pleased with just the free version.

If you try to go over any limits you’ll be prompted to upgrade to a paid plan.

Sortd popup to upgrade plan to paid when reaching limit of free version

So How Does Sortd Work?

Sortd works as a layer over the top of Gmail. You can easily switch between views using the Gmail button on the right-hand side of the screen.

All emails come into 1 window. These can then be sorted into lists. One-by-one or simply archived straight away once read if no further action is required.

Sortd example task lists setup

My Sortd Workflow Example

In work things are very deadline based, so I had my lists setup as TODAY, ACTIONABLE, WAITING. As soon as an email comes in it can be read, I then decide if I need to do anything with this email. If no action is required then I can simply read and click the handy archive button at the top of each email.

Sortd quick toolbar icons for archiving, delete, mark as read, folder, tag, pin, snooze

If I need to do something with the email then I can either click and drag onto any of the lists I have setup or click the snooze button to set for a later time.

Sortd reschedule email buttons for later

I honestly haven’t used the snooze button much, I tend to prefer to just drag things onto my lists. I’m quite obsessive with sorting things into categories.

If it’s something I know I need to do today, I will move it to the TODAY list. When it’s something I can action but doesn’t necessarily need to be done urgently then I move it into ACTIONABLE. Or if it’s something that needs more information before I can action then it goes to WAITING.

Sortd example task lists setup

If I have multiple items in the list I can easily reorder them to prioritize by clicking and dragging items up or down.

Sortd example of dragging & dropping items between lists or up & down

I go through this process for all emails that have come in, one by one. This means when I’m finished the Inbox list is completely empty! I can then focus with dealing with the tasks I’ve put into the TODAY list and start getting things checked off.

Sortd individual task item example close up
Once tasks are complete it’s easy to click the little tick in the top right corner to complete the task and hide it from the list.

Other Features & Tips

Sortd Has its Own Today Checklist

There is a separate to do list for ‘Today’ in the bottom menu bar (Ctrl +Space). This is just a simple list that can be crossed off. It doesn’t seem possible to drag emails onto it to make tasks. You can view the history of previous priorities and move them to today’s list if still required. Personally I think the normal lists are much better, but I’m sure this little pop-up list has it’s uses.

Sortd Today list hidden

If you do like to use this feature, it’s worth noting you can set it to automatically popup daily as a reminder. You can do this through Settings > General > Daily popup to plan your day and setting it to On.

Sortd general options screen with option to turn off Daily popup for planning your day

Then each day you’ll get this little popup at the bottom of your screen.

Sortd separate Today list option with sun icon popping up

Add More Tasks & Lists

You can add extra tasks without an email by clicking the + at the bottom of each list. This makes it very easy to use your inbox as a to-do list without being completely reliant on emails to drive it.

The lists themselves can be renamed, more added, or dragged and dropped to reorder.

Groups Multiple Emails into One Task

You can group relevant emails together by pressing Shift while clicking and dragging. This helps to keep all information for a task on the list in one place.

Customize Your View

There’s an option to switch the view to date mode if you prefer to sort tasks this way.

Sortd Filter option to hide or show complete tasks, flags, or unread emails

You can apply filters to the list views. By default completed tasks are hidden but you can choose to keep these displayed. There is also the option to filter by unread and follow-up items by clicking on the FILTERS button and then clicking on the relevant icon.
You can resize your screen and the skin will scale fluidly with it.

Even if you don’t completely love the skin and would rather see gmail, there’s also the option to have it open only as a sidebar with gmail still visible to the left.

Quickly Access Compose to Start New Email Conversations

Sortd write new email button
The compose button is always nice and handy, sitting at the top left corner of the window.

Rename Tasks, Lists & Add More Details to Keep Everything in One Place

You can easily rename email subject lines to something shorter or more meaningful once you’ve added an email as a task on a list. Time to get rid of unclear auto-generated titles and make it useful to you.

Once you have tasks added to a list you can click the little down tab to add notes, or create reminders. You can also highlight tasks in a few different colours or mark for follow-up.

Sortd item options including highlight list item being set to blue

Some Minor Quirks

You can search for emails but more powerful options are available via Gmail’s native search bar. I recommend quickly switching back to the default view via the Gmail button on the right to do more precise searches.

The emails that get loaded sometimes can be a bit buggy and sometimes hitting the reload buttons brings up emails it should have listed earlier. Luckily the button is so handy and easy to reach I find I do this without much thinking and out of habit.

Summary – Sortd is a powerful tool for organizing Gmail with your to-do list

Sortd is an excellent way to organize your emails and tasks all in one highly customizable to-do list. It can help you achieve that inbox zero many of us struggle to maintain because of the constant stream of incoming messages along with trying to keep important emails in view.

Once you get everything setup and any backlog of emails sorted. You’ll spend less time maintaining an organized inbox and more time getting stuff done. Sortd definitely helps to boost productivity and is highly recommended by myself for both home and work use. It’s free so why not give it a try, you have nothing to lose. Who knows you might be pleasantly surprised! I know I was and I can’t imagine going back.

Pros

Cons

  • Increases productivity by focusing users more on tasks and task completion
  • Once your inbox is sorted is takes little to no time to maintain
  • It’s possible to have a completely empty inbox whilst still having all important emails in view
  • There’s a mobile version of the app
  • It’s easily customizable dependent on a user’s workflow
  • The user interface is intuitive and easy to use with drag and drop capabilities
  • Only supports Google Mail when used inside the Google Chrome browser
  • Some features of Sortd are now only in the Paid version
  • Search box is weak compared to Gmails native one
  • Sometimes you need to click the refresh button to load all emails if there are too many to load in one go

For further details and to try out Sortd for yourself, you can find full details here.

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