5 Inbox by Gmail Alternatives and Workflows


Bad news: Google is shutting down Inbox by Gmail in March 2019.

Inbox by Gmail was the email playground, where Google tried out all kinds of new features that they didn’t want to roll out to their main Gmail app. Those included reminders, snoozing messages and bundling emails into different categories. But now it’s going away.

You’ll need to develop an alternate system of managing your emails and tasks before it fades out. In this post, you’ll learn some of the top ways to track your emails, tasks, and reminders.

Good news: At ClickUp, we’re developing our own version of the Inbox app that will be released later this year. For now, you can still use ClickUp for all things productivity and check out the following tips for your own Inbox by Gmail workarounds.

1. Use the Get Things Done Methodology

This isn’t a new app, but a new way of thinking. It’s motivated lots of users to focus on the next task at hand, sort through their inbox clutter and take action to achieve the coveted #InboxZero. The basics of ‘Get Things Done’ in regards to email is to only touch it once. You immediately decide to:

  • Take action
  • Track
  • Save for reference

You could set up boxes in your email for each of those three things and delete the rest. Do what you can immediately, and then follow up later. This article describes how to set up your inbox in detail if you’re interested in using this method with your Gmail.

But if you’re only using your email to manage your tasks and reminders, then lots will slip through the cracks. Attachments, details and more will still get lost in the shuffle, especially if you’re receiving requests for multiple projects or clients. Having multiple inboxes for a client isn’t ideal. For instance, do you want to “take action”, “track” and “save for reference” for multiple clients or projects? That’ll be overwhelming. Instead, a task management tool like ClickUp will track your tasks and projects more effectively. Go here and here for more on how to use the Get Things Done methodology in ClickUp.

2. Create tasks and send attachments with the ClickUp Chrome Extension

One way to help solve the email/task list dilemma is to create tasks from your emails. When you do this, you won’t lose any important details or attachments and you can automatically redirect conversations to your project list and tasks. One of the big issues with managing your projects in only email is that threads can be intertwined, and attachments get sent back and forth, taking up valuable server space. And even if you’ve set up your inbox well, you’ll still have to collaborate with others and they might not be as fastidious in their email hygiene.

With the ClickUp Chrome extension, a small ClickUp emblem will appear in your Gmail messages. Click this and you can create a new task and send attachments to any of your projects and tasks in ClickUp. Your attachments will be saved as rich images directly in your task details. Now, you’ll have a central place for details, attachments and any comments from other team members.

When you create a new task from the email, the subject line will default as the name of the task, but this is easy to change. The ClickUp Chrome extension works so much better than how other popular task management tools handle it–like forwarding the email to a generic inbox and hoping it magically appears in your projects a little later on.

See our help docs for more on how to create tasks from your email inbox.

clickup chrome extension

3. Set up Zapier Workflows

It’s difficult and time consuming to sort all of your emails and then copy and paste the relevant information over to to-do list or project management software.

If you want a simple way to quickly sort through your inbox with only a few clicks, another option is to create Zapier workflows to send emails to your task management software, like ClickUp.

With Zapier, you can send your emails over to ClickUp and Google Sheets, or even sync your Google calendars from your inbox to ClickUp or a different app. Though ClickUp has those services natively, it may be a good option if you use multiple tools and already use Zapier for integrations.

By starring your messages and having them sent to ClickUp, your focus is fully on your emails and not drawn to task switch.

Zapier also has nifty features to send email messages and notifications into Slack, if your workflow depends on real-time communication and collaboration.

4. Find another Email App

Another alternative to the Gmail Inbox shutdown is to find another email app. Google isn’t the only one out there, and many other mail apps have functions that haven’t quite made it to the mainstream.

Astro features an AI-powered assistant who can help you search unread messages and make suggestions for archiving and deleting. You can snooze, send later and have a unified inbox across all your email clients. However, they were just acquired by Slack and are shutting down this version of the app…so what does that mean?

Another one worth checking out is Spark. Spark prioritizes your message as a “Smart Inbox” and has a beautiful interface for snoozing and reminding later. The natural language search is also a lifesaver for when you can’t remember the exact phrasing of a topic or subject.

5. Find a New Email Client

LOL, this is the nuclear option. Maybe you’re so fed up with the monopolistic industrial Google complex that you’ll jump to Microsoft Office 365. Ha. Or maybe you want to live in the 90s again and take a look at Yahoo? Or maybe you want to appear really important and old-school and go back to AOL. It’s a status symbol after all 🙂

What About Reminders?

 The Google Inbox aficionados are mourning another part of the app: the reminders. However, the thing about Google is they use reminders across all of their apps: Inbox, Keep, Calendar but there’s no unified way to track all of those. There’s not a tool called Google Repository®  to see each and everything you’ve saved over your Google life. This is a major downfall.

Another problem with Google Reminders? It’s really hard to collaborate. There’s not an easy way to share anything with your team.

And what about recurring tasks, the things you need to do over and over again? The only way to do this in Google is by creating a recurring event in your Google Calendar. Not the prettiest option.

Why It Makes Sense To Choose Task Management Software like ClickUp

You can see how ridiculous it’s starting to get. Google is great at a lot of things and has undeniably offered incredible tools off of their core search product.

Inbox is a valuable and beloved app– no doubt about it. But accept the demise of Inbox as an invitation into something better, like a useful task management system.

With ClickUp, you get amazing features for free that you won’t find anywhere else (not at that price, especially!) These features are helpful for keeping track of reminders, and tasks, and they have lots of integrations with tools you already use, like Slack, GitHub or Harvest.

list in clickup


The Gmail Inbox app is ending and there’s nothing you can do about it except…take action. But you don’t have to leap blindly. As a Gmail user, there’s time to try out productivity apps and task management software to see what works best for you. A task management system creates a central place to store everything, and an easy way to comment and track tasks with statuses and priorities. You can also collaborate a lot more easily with team members than you can in just an email inbox. Here are even more advantages to having a productivity platform in place.

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