Simplify. Don’t simplify for the sake of being minimalist. Simplify because your time is a finite resource.

Simplify your emails routine. Reject labels or folders; that’s the main culprit that keeps you occupied. Write clearly; less questions equals to less emails. Unsubscribe newsletter that doesn’t bring abundance in your life. The concept is to reduce noises and choices. Do it until you’re left with reply, archive, or delete.

You can write with a pencil, a fountain pen, or a chalk. The choice is yours, but the way to simplify the process is similar. I practice them with my favorite mail client: Unibox.

Unibox for Mac Preview

Unibox is best known as the mail client that mimics the messaging apps. It focuses on conversation between people, not the subjects. People accustomed to the traditional way emails are laid out will find Unibox difficult to use at first. But this is why Unibox is perfect for keeping inbox organized.

The Flow

Think about the people, not the subjects. In order to use Unibox effectively, you must stop thinking within subjects. I know it sounds weird, but subjects are secondary. The most important part is the person. Who sent the email?

This flow helps me to narrow down where I should look for an email. Instead of digging through the conversation grouped according to subjects — sometimes that contains over 20 replies — I just need to browse the conversation with the person who sent the email. It’s Claire who sent me the graphic assets. It’s David who requested the sales report. There is no subject, only people.

Inbox Zero. This is a useful concept brought by Merlin Mann. You only keep the emails that require action in your inbox. You can also apply this practice with Unibox, although some adjustments are required to make it work.

Archive contacts, not the messages. Here is another idea that contradicts with the inbox zero philosophy. Don’t archive your messages. The reason why we archive messages in the first place is to reduce clutter and distraction. You won’t feel this way with Unibox. No matter how many messages you’ve received, the list will be limited to the number of senders. The rule is simple. When you’re no longer have anything to do with the senders, archive them.

The Features

I’ve discussed the philosophy behind Unibox. Now I’m going to show you some of the noteworthy features from this app. Those are the features I use regularly which should be useful for the rest of us.

  • Browse attachments in a beautiful grid and list view. Since attachments are also grouped according to the senders, instead of asking “Where is the files?”, we can just ask “Who sent the files?”. No longer we need to browse each subject looking for the attachment we need.
  • Follow the conversation like the traditional mail client. You can still get the conversation view by selecting the arrow icon right to subject title. This allows you to follow the conversation from different senders easily.
  • Flawless Contacts Integration. This is Unibox’s essential feature. You want to consolidate all the emails from one sender — sometimes with multiple emails — in one contact so it doesn’t clutter your inbox with different senders. Unibox manages to integrate Contacts so well that changes are seen immediately.
  • Gravatar can fill the faceless contacts found in your inbox. While not every contact sign up for Gravatar, this is an additional feature that can help us fill the faceless contacts from most of the companies.

Personalized Mail Client

Unibox is one of the most beautiful mail client I’ve used. The design is extremely simple and well-thought. Yes, it lacks features. But I love how everything are laid out to help me practice inbox zero.

Another reason why I love this mail client is it constantly reminding me one important thing. I’m dealing with people, not just tasks and problems.