Email can be both a lifeline and an anchor, lifting you up at the same time that it weighs you down. While email provides a vital communication link to your clients, processing an inbox stuffed with messages can be a serious time drain on your work day. If you’re self-employed or running a business on Zoondy, sorting important client messages from the daily deluge of ads, notices, social media alerts, cat videos and spam can take a serious bite out of your day.On Computer

A new group of free email tools and apps are available to help you tame your unruly inbox. Here are some worth trying:

  • Cloze is our top pick for well-connected entrepreneurs. This app for iPhone and iPad pulls all your messages from email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into a single, handy location where you can review all of your conversations with a particular client no matter how they were originally generated. Cloze helps you stay organized by scoring messages for immediacy and frequency.
  • Another top pick, Alto, an ad-free AOL service, gathers emails from all your accounts — Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. — into a single account. Ads, spam and social-net notices are automatically stacked in holding areas for later viewing or quick deletion.
  • Mailbox for iPhone is a Gmail product that allows you to push less important emails into the future when you, hopefully, will have more time to deal with them. With a swipe, banished emails disappear from your inbox, reappearing at the designated time, hours, days or weeks in the future.
  • Mailstrom is an email annihilator that can cut email traffic down to size in seconds. A selective mass deletion tool, it allows you to delete all messages from a specific sender even if you haven’t read them.
  • If you’re serious about cutting back your email response time, Tenxer analyzes your email habits; then acts like a stopwatch, tracking your response time and encouraging you to get up to speed with motivating charts and stats.

For more tips on self-employment and maximizing your productivity, check out The Zoondy Daily.