Buried under emails? Losing control of an overflowing inbox? New apps are designed to help consumers deal with seemingly endless streams of electronic mail.
Three apps, Dispatch and Boxer for the iPhone, and Boomerang for Android devices, try to make email management on smartphones fast and simple.
Another app called Sanebox, which works on any platform and costs between US$2 and US$20 each month, creates a folder in a user's mailbox where it filters unimportant messages. Algorithms in the app learn about a user's behavior to understand what he or she considers urgent.
"You think you're being productive by clearing stuff out of your inbox, but no matter how good you are, more emails will keep coming," said Dmitri Leonov, a vice president for Boston-based Sanebox.
The average office workers spends 13 hour each week reading, writing and replying to emails, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of McKinsey management consultant.
The Dispatch app works by communicating with 16 other apps, such as one for note-taking and another linked to-do lists to simplify email. Users can send a link to Instapaper, an app for reading articles at a later time, and can also customize messages to help them respond to emails faster.
Boxer has a feature so users can "like" an email and put it on the app's to-do list for later processing. They can also request that a coworker handle an email, and there are templates for quick responses, such as "Good idea," and "When do you need this?"
Both Dispatch and Boxer cost $4.99 and are available worldwide.
Boomerang, for Android devices, allows users to defer messages until later, schedule emails to be sent at a particular time, and track responses. The free app only works with Gmail.
Leonov suggests people focus on dealing with urgent and important messages, rather than trying to keep up with everything that lands in your inbox.
"Email is a to-do list that other people can write on for you," said Leonov.