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How Shortwave tamed my inbox with smart organisation and a dash of AI

I have a confession to make: I’m a one-email kind of person. That means everything from work, personal, social, and even spam messages end up in the same Gmail inbox. You can imagine how messy and chaotic that can get, especially when I receive about 50 emails per day. Sometimes I miss important work emails because they get buried under the avalanche of newsletters, promotions, and random offers. That’s why I was curious to try Shortwave, an email app created by ex-Googlers that claims to “cut through the noise”. And boy, did it deliver.

The first thing that struck me about Shortwave was how it organises emails. As someone who hadn’t gone through the fine print (I assume most people wouldn’t), the interface did take some figuring out and getting used to. Shortwave sorts emails into categories: Updates, Promotions, Newsletters, or Social. This was super useful in helping me decide which emails to attend to and which ones to ignore.

Another bit that helps organisation is the fact that emails can be clubbed together into a bundle and given a name. For example, if I’m working on a group project, I can create a bundle with all the emails from my team members and keep track of my tasks. No more angry teammates because I forgot to reply or do my part.

Shortwave also has an interesting way of looking at emails. The app doesn’t treat them as mere messages, but as tasks that need to be done or dismissed. With a simple tap of the check button, I could mark an email as done and move on to the next one. On days I felt particularly free-spirited, I even marked all emails as done (using the double-check button) and started afresh.

Since shortwave looks at emails as tasks, it offers special features to treat them that way. For instance, what if one could receive an email at a time that suits them best and not when they’re busy enjoying their weekend?

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As someone who tends to forget about emails that are not urgent or relevant at the moment, I love Shortwave’s snoozing functionality. It lets me hide emails until a specific time when it becomes actionable. Then the email reappears in my inbox as a new message at the time of my choosing. This is particularly useful for mail related to meetings or events as it acts as a reminder that it’s time for those.

But the organisation and convenience doesn’t just end at your inbox. It goes over to your mail itself, thanks to Shortwave’s star feature – AI summariser. With a tap of the sparkle icon on top of every email, I could get a summary of the main points and save myself from reading long and boring emails that beat around the bush and take aeons to get to the point. And not only that, but the sparkle icon also lets me generate draft responses using smart and professional language. It’s like having ChatGPT at my fingertips, but without the hassle of copying and pasting text or typing lengthy prompts.

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If you’re looking for a new way to manage your inbox, you should definitely give Shortwave a try. It’s available on Android, iOS, and desktop for free. There’s also a paid tier that costs $9 per month, but most users shouldn’t feel the need to upgrade considering the only difference is that you can access email history older than 90 days.

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