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Goodbye Gmail! (Or the Best Gmail Alternatives)

Goodbye Gmail! (Or the Best Gmail Alternatives)
    Gmail Logo from Google

    Last week we helped you identify some of the best alternatives for Google Reader. Google has made some significant changes to the Gmail interface in the past few months – all which lineup with their direction towards a more “Google+” type of world.

    Google has introduced their new, more simplified interface for Gmail which they have been toying with for a while now. Some people love it. And of course, some people can’t stand it. I tend to be somewhere in the middle because as a geek I usually don’t do too well with change but don’t overreact.

    The new Gmail interface is intended to provide the user with a simplified experience. You can even choose how you want your line spacing (“display density”) to be – Comfortable, Cozy, or Compact. And, heck, you can even “temporarily” revert back to the Gmail’s old look.

    So, instead of keeping up with Google’s relentless quest to change everything that you are use to in the name of G+ and the word “temporarily” scares you, here are some alternate interfaces (mail clients) you can use with Gmail.

    Sparrow

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    Sparrow Mail Client

      If you are a “won-over” Gmail user and you use a Mac, then Sparrow is probably something you have checked out, if not changed to as your email interface of choice.

      Sparrow provides the user with a clean interface as well as all of the awesome Gmail shortcuts that you’ve come to know and love. The thing I like about Sparrow is just how easy it is to setup and use. Just take a peak at the preferences pane and you will find that it isn’t bloated at all.

      There is a free trial, but if you want to use it after that it will set you back $9.99 (a small price to pay for native Gmail client perfection on the Mac).

      Thunderbird

      Thunderbird
        Thunderbird

        has been around for while and it’s maintained by the Mozilla foundation, the same people that give you Firefox web browser. Thunderbird is a standard IMAP and POP email client that can be setup for just about any email address including your Gmail account.

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        Thunderbird is free and open source. It’s a decent, simple, and with some of the latest iterations, quite attractive (at least on the Mac). Also, setting up Gmail with Thunderbird is as easy as signing in with your Gmail credentials and then telling Thunderbird to use IMAP. Thunderbird is a cross-platform mail client available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

        Microsoft Outlook

          Ahh, Microsoft Outlook. The one app that I love and hate all at once.

          I’m not a Windows user at home but I do use Windows 8 hours a day at work and during that time Outlook is always running. For using simply as a Gmail interface, Outlook may be a tad bit expensive and sort of overkill. But, if you’re on Windows and you want a good integrated experience as well as some nice calendaring and mail rule features, then Microsoft Outlook may be a good application to look at.

          There is one thing that I do like about Outlook quite a bit though; you can integrate your email, calendaring, and tasks all in a single app.

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          Mail.app

            Mail.app

            is the default mail application that ships with the Mac OS X. Since the new Lion 10.7 update, Mail has taken on a new form (a new form that has made some Apple users quite upset). Once again, if you’re an avid Gmail user, you may find some of the new features of Mail make you feel like you’re right at home.

            You can archive messages (about time), view messages in conversation form, flag messages, etc. There’s also better searching which was something that Mail has needed for a while. In my opinion, Mail.app for Lion is a great upgrade to that of Mail.app in Snow Leopard.

            Another nice thing about Mail.app is that you can use any email settings, not just Gmail.

            Evolution

            The Evolution mail client is available for Linux and there is even some builds out there for Mac and Windows (for all you hacker types). This is the email client that was default with Ubuntu, but appears that it has been replaced by Thunderbird mentioned above.

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            Evolution is simple and has many features that you would come to expect from an email client. Evolution can support IMAP and POP and integrates mail, calendar, address book, to-do lists and memos.

            Evolution is open source and of course free.

            Opera Mail

              Opera Mail

              “ships” with the much loved Opera browser and is super easy to set up to work with Gmail and other email providers.

              One thing that I don’t quite like about Opera Mail is that it is integrated into my browsing experience (that is if I used Opera for my default browser). I like to have a clean seperation of my email and everything else.

              Regardless, Opera Mail can be used inside of Opera and has offline support, great searching capabilities, a cool “attachments section” that allows you to see all of your attachements in one place, and good folder/label support.

              What’s awesome about today’s technology is that we have a bunch of options. This is a good thing, especially when something you use like an email interface can be such a vital part of your workflow. If you are not happy with Gmail’s recent changes or just want a new way of viewing your email, the above email interface options are the best to date.

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              CM Smith

              A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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              Last Updated on May 28, 2020

              18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

              18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

              No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

              If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

              But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

              Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

              Let’s dive straight into the list.

              1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

                If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

                RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

                  If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

                  This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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                    This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

                    Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

                      Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

                      Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                      5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

                        There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                        6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                          Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                          Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                            Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                            This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                            Available on iOS and Desktop

                            8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                              This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                              This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                              9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                                Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                                MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                                  1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                  Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                                  11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                                    When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                    12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                                      This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                                      Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                      13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                                        This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                                        Available on desktop (macOS)

                                        14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                          Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                          The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                          15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                            Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                            16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                              Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                              17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                                This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                                Available on iOS and Android

                                                18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                                  Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                  The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                                  So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                                  More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                                  Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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