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If you’ve ever tried to get to “inbox zero,” Maintain Inbox Zero Daily With This Flow Chart Maintain Inbox Zero Daily With This Flow Chart Personally, I try to maintain Inbox Zero despite receiving over 500 emails on a daily basis. That's zero unread emails -- that's right, I address every single email sent to me every morning. And trust... Read More you know that it can feel like a monumental task—and even if you get there, you have to manage dozens of Gmail labels, Evernote notebooks, and task management categories. There’s a new mail client on the block, and it aims to change all of that.

We’ve showed you how to use Outlook as a GTD organizer Transform Microsoft Outlook Into a GTD Organizer With Jello Dashboard Transform Microsoft Outlook Into a GTD Organizer With Jello Dashboard I am always in search of a better email client. Don't get me wrong, Gmail is great and everything, but there's just something about a desktop email client that feels so much more powerful and... Read More , and reviewed some apps that help you keep your tasks organized Manage Your Tasks Online Using GTD with PlanCake Manage Your Tasks Online Using GTD with PlanCake Read More , but this is something totally different.

IQTELL is an email app available for iOS and Android, as well as on the Web. It is specifically designed for use with the Getting Things Done system—a quick look at the dashboard shows that all of the GTD categories are there: actions, next actions, contexts, projects, someday, and the rest. The cool part of IQTELL, though, is how it integrates all of these categories with your e-mail accounts.

iqtell-inbox

Seamless Mail and Task Integration

Other apps promise to help you manage your e-mail, and some manage your projects and tasks as well, but few have integrated them to this degree. IQTELL allows you to turn e-mails from multiple accounts into actions, projects, and other types of items while simultaneously archiving them, meaning that you now have a record of those e-mails in your task management app without them taking up space in your inbox.

Let’s take a look. Below, you’ll see an e-mail in my inbox, a press release that needs to be written about. That sounds like a good thing to turn into an action. As with the other buttons at the bottom of the message pane, tapping Action does two things: copies the body of the e-mail into the notes section of a new action, and archives the e-mail.

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iqtell-project

You now have a new item in your task management app and one less e-mail in your inbox. Inbox zero, here I come!

Once the action has been created, you can add details, like the parent project (Writing, in this case), the context it belongs in, any subtasks, a due date, a reminder, and notes. It’s automatically added to the Actions category of the dashboard, ready to be tackled later. And the e-mail is linked to the action, meaning you can always go back and look at it with just a couple taps.

You can also add e-mails to pre-existing actions, which archives the e-mail and adds a link to that e-mail from the action item, making it easy to gather all of the messages relating to a particular topic in one place.

The Web Interface: Maximum Functionality

The web interface includes everything that you can do from your mobile, but also allows you to take more actions that will help you manage the finer points of your productivity system. You can manage bookmarks and notes, turn e-mails into calendar events, and record phone calls and meetings.

iqtell-web-interface

Accessing IQTELL from your browser gives you many more options than the mobile client, and even allows you to customize some of the actions you take from your phone. Because there’s so much functionality packed into this app, it’s best used with a lot of screen real estate available—the online interface allows you to open different views in tabs, so you can easily switch between your dashboard, inbox, calendar, and projects.

The web interface of IQTELL also integrates your Evernote account, which is great if you use Evernote to manage your GTD knowledge base. You can clip e-mails directly to notes, attach notes to actions and projects, turn notes into action items, and set up reminders to bring notes to your attention later.

iqtell-evernote

A lot of people use Evernote to manage their GTD categories (and the rest of their lives), making this addition a crucial factor in making IQTELL a successful GTD app.

All in all, the web interface is looking like the best way to use the app, with the Android client not quite stacking up in terms of the things you can do. It still works when you want to perform simple actions and read your e-mail, though.

The Best GTD App Yet?

This app is really slick. It does everything you could want from a mail client—with one exception that I’ll detail in a moment—including unifying multiple inboxes and making it easy to send e-mail from any of your linked addresses. And it provides more GTD organizational capability than most task management apps. Put those together, and you have a single app that could drive some serious productivity.

What’s the one thing missing from IQTELL? Gmail labelling functionality. Like in a lot of e-mail clients, Gmail labels are currently treated as folders, which means they can’t be applied in the inbox, and each e-mail can only take one label. I’m told, however, that the IQTELL team is brainstorming ways of dealing with this issue.

iqtell-new-macro

Mobile access to Evernote, integration with Google Drive and Dropbox, and more mobile features are also in the works. This will likely make the mobile app a bit more useful—right now, it’s best used for just reading and linking e-mail, while the more complicated tasks are better left for the web app.

Even without multi-labelling capabilities, IQTELL is one of the best productivity apps that I’ve used. The ability to turn e-mails directly into projects and actions is such a great idea that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first. And it’s quite customizable, letting your workflow dictate how you use the app. Whether you use GTD or not, you can use this app to manage your e-mail and task list more efficiently than before.

One potential drawback of the app is that it’ll probably take you a at least a few days to get it up and running at full speed. It’s very complex and takes a while to learn your way around, but IQTELL’s considerable online demos, tutorials, and articles will help you out.

iqtell-calendar

As of right now, everything in IQTELL is free. However, that’s not always going to be the case. The team is developing a pricing structure that will kick in after a 60-day free trial; the app will continue to work, but e-mail and Evernote sync will stop, making the free account fairly pointless.

You can expect to pay about $50 per year for the premium service, and you’ll most likely be able to sync up to five e-mail accounts. Keep checking the IQTELL website for more news on the pricing structure.

IQTELL has the potential to be one of the best productivity apps out there. Right now, it suffers from the mobile app’s lack of integration with other services and its difficulty in meshing with Gmail labels. Once these get ironed out, though, the yearly subscription fee and hours of optimization time might be a steal for how much organizing power you get.

Download: IQTELL for iOS / Android (Free)

What do you think? Will this be the app that will finally help you get your inbox under control? Is it worth $50 per year when you can use a combination of free apps instead? Share your thoughts below!

Photo credit: USPS via Wikipedia

  1. Michael Valos
    September 16, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Michael V

    I have paid for active inbox and am about to set it up https://www.activeinboxhq.com/ but wonder if you can compare it to IQTELL. They both are highly regraded.

    Rgds

    Michael

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 16, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Hey Michael, IQTELL is shutting down, so definitely go with Active Inbox now. https://getsatisfaction.com/iqtell/topics/important-announcement-iqtell-shutdown

      • Dann Albright
        September 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        Thanks for responding, Mihir—and yes, go with Active Inbox. Too bad about IQTELL!

      • Pat
        June 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm

        Umm, IQTell is still up and running as of June 2016 -- where did you hear they're shutting down?

        • Dann Albright
          June 27, 2016 at 3:25 pm

          You know, I remembering hearing that they were shutting down, too. Maybe they make a comeback?

  2. Ashok k
    March 31, 2014 at 7:16 am

    IQTELL seems to be a good tool to manage my inbox untill it is free to use as I use different email services for work and personal and other services usages which makes them fairly easy to manage.

    • Dann A
      March 31, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Yes, the ability to use more than one e-mail account in IQTELL is extremely useful—definitely one of my favourite parts of the app. I manage three e-mail addresses on a regular basis, but I keep tasks for all of them in a single place, so having an app that easily supports that is great.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Chris
    March 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    In my opinion, IQTELL is the best GTD app yet. I have tried many, but none have been as comprehensive as IQTELL. I have been using it for over a month now and I continue to be impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the developers. In addition to the robust web app, the mobile app is truly helpful for triaging my emails. I can add tasks on the fly, complete tasks on the go (e.g. errands context), and effectively manage my email. I agree that it is a little bland in appearance and that there are a few enhancements that I would like to see, but I remain very pleased with the current functionality. I highly recommend this app to anyone who is willing to invest a little time in setting it up.

    • Dann A
      March 31, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Chris! I've been in contact with the developers a bit, and I agree—they do seem very thoughtful and thorough. Nice bunch of guys, too. Glad to know that someone else is finding it super useful, too. If you think of anything that we should know about it (tips, tricks, hacks), let us know. I'm probably going to start changing my task management system over to it, so I'm looking for pro tips. :-)

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