November 01, 2012

Use Boomerang to Make Your Email Vanish, but Return When You Need It

Andrew Legrand


  • Learn about email scheduling.
  • How many credits will you really need?

I’ve recently started using Boomerang to organize my email, and I’ve found that it handles a number of helpful tasks very well. Boomerang reduces clutter and helps me reach inbox zero with email scheduling. The scheduling works in two ways. First, you can set Boomerang to act after a certain amount of time has elapsed, such as 2 hours or 4 days. Or you can set a specific date and time, such as August 30, 2012, at 8:30 a.m.

If you want to be reminded that you didn’t receive a response to an email, you can set Boomerang to return the email to your inbox. For this task, I generally recommend that you set a period of elapsed time. If you receive a response, Boomerang is smart enough to cancel the return. This is great for following up on leads or other contacts who may not always reliably respond. You can also ensure that someone begins working on your request quickly. 

Boomerang can also archive an email and return it to your inbox. This is incredibly useful for emails with directions to meet a client, links for a webinar, or other information that you will need in the future. For this task, I recommend that you set a specific date and time. Before Boomerang, I used to just leave that email in your inbox until I was done with it. Now, I can get it out of my inbox and have it automatically return when I need it. It can also serve as a reminder of that webinar or whatever else was in the email. It even handles bulk rescheduling to clean out my inbox quickly.

Finally, Boomerang also lets you schedule outbound emails. If you don’t want opposing counsel to know that you’re crazy and are working on a response email at 3 a.m., Boomerang can send the email out in the morning at 6:30 a.m., when you’re still sleeping and opposing counsel thinks you’re working on the case during sunrise. You can also impress a client by sending the email early on Sunday morning. Compose the email on Friday or Saturday, then schedule it to be sent on Sunday morning. The scheduling feature is doubly useful if you use a web-based fax service to send faxes via email. Not only can you schedule emails, but you can schedule faxes as well. This is great when you’re preparing discovery responses, but don’t want to send them out until the early afternoon or the next day.

Boomerang is a freemium service. The free version gives you 10 credits per month, which has worked well for me. The company counts all messages scheduled with Boomerang (Send Later and Response Tracking) toward your credits. I’ve gone over before, and Boomerang has given me one “extra” credit per month, but if you need more than that, you’ll need to upgrade. Only the premium version works with Google Apps, but you’ll also get mobile access and recurring messages.

The app is designed to work with Gmail, Google Apps, and Outlook users. Gmail users will be charged $4.95 per month. Google Apps users are charged $14.99 per month for the pro version, which includes mobile access. Boomerang is compatible with Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010 for a one-time fee of $29.95.

All paid versions come with a “notes” feature that lets you attach a note when you schedule the message with Boomerang. When the message returns to your inbox, you’ll see the note, providing the context of the message.

Like most Google Apps, you’ll have to grant Boomerang access to your email system. Boomerang doesn’t store your Google password, because it uses Google’s OpenID system. Boomerang stores the headers of the message (subject, sender, time) so that it can uniquely ID the message you want to schedule. No message text is stored.

Boomerang is a great tool to help you declutter your inbox and get things done before you’re ready to send an email. I highly recommend it.

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