Back in 2007 I switched over to using Google Apps for my email. Since that time I’ve used its online interface almost exclusively. The advantage of using the same interface to check my email anywhere far outweighed any negatives that came from not using a desktop mail app. What’s more, as the Gmail interface has matured, I’ve come to prefer it over any desktop clients I’ve used in the past. So, when I first heard about the Sparrow for Mac, I wasn’t too interested, but after picking the app up on sale this past weekend, it has become my goto email client because of one simple feature: Quick Reply
I’d never really thought a “quick reply” feature would be that useful to me. I receive many emails for which a short, brief reply won’t do. However, now that I have the feature available, I’ve found that I have use for it often. It has helped me stay at #inboxzero for the majority of time since I’ve started using Sparrow. “Quick Reply” ends up being a nice combination of its design, my technique, and my motivation which work together to make me much more proficient with my emails:
- Streamlined, Focused Design – Quick Reply is implemented in a fashion similar to the update forms you find on sites like Twitter and Facebook. You click on the Quick Reply button at the top of an email, and the reply box invites you to type your message and hit “Send”. If you’re used to Gmail’s online interface, the lack of any other distractions (i.e. ads, folders, etc) is something I found very helpful.
- Don’t Start Emails with Salutations or Your Recipient’s Name – Since emails have a “to:” field, adding a “Dear John” at the beginning of an email is often redundant. I say “often” because there are still times when starting with a salutation is fine (e.g. the first email in a thread you send to someone), but if you are conversing with someone in a long thread of emails, a name and salutation is unnecessary. Dropping those things from your email threads can save you time over a week’s worth of emails.
- It’s fun – Once I got used to shooting off “Quick Replies”, I realized how fun it is. I get my client’s emails answered, out of my inbox and off of my mind. And, my clients have appreciated my promptness.
NOTE: If you end up grabbing a copy, one thing to keep in mind: When you first use the app, it will start syncing and indexing all of the messages on your email server. During this process it can use a lot of memory on your system. Once it finishes things return to normal, but depending on how many messages you have online, this process can take many hours.