Search the blog

After switching from Apple Mail to CloudMagic (which then became the now discontinued Newton) I soon realised the standard email experience is not good enough. Such email clients offer a bevy of additional features such as read receipts and snoozing. One of the most useful features is the ability to schedule emails to be sent at a later date.

“Send later” might seem like a useless gimmick on the face of it but I have been using it for a while to improve my productivity and efficiency and now regard it as something I could not live without. Here’s why.

Gives a customisable edit window

Some emails clients give you a few seconds or so to undo, or cancel sending, an email. This means if you send it in error you can recall it — so long as you’re quick! By scheduling to send an email later you can effectively choose any window you like to edit or cancel the email before it’s sent.

This isn’t just useful for the mitigation of errors. When I send a detailed email I often schedule it for a few hours later. Sometimes I think of things to change or add throughout the day. By using this method if I do nothing, the email still gets sent but I can refine it throughout the day should I need to.

Send it when it’s most likely to be read

There are certain days and times when your email is more likely to get lost in the sludge pile of other emails. You can use this to your advantage. Since most email clients that offer email scheduling also offer read receipts you can soon learn when is best to send emails to your recipients.

Stops you setting unrealistic expectations

Working outside of typical nine-to-five hours can do a freelancer more harm than good. Clients can come to expect you to be available on weekends and evenings. If you do occasionally work anti-social hours and need to send emails you can schedule them within your working hours to prevent your clients having unrealistic expectations of you.

You may also be the kind of person who likes to deal with emails immediately. The problem is clients then expect you to reply right away when you can’t. With email scheduling you can satisfy your desire to reply right away while still not putting yourself under too much pressure.

Prevents “knee-jerk” phone calls

Some people can be a little email-averse and almost instinctively pick up the phone to reply to an email. Emails and phone calls have their own strengths and weaknesses but it can be frustrating to get a phone call to something that would be more appropriate to deal with over email.

For example, if you request login credentials or DNS information over email and want to copy and paste the data to prevent human error or you want a written record of an exchange then you can schedule the email out of hours to make it less likely for the person will call you. This isn’t due to an aversion to phone calls (some people try to avoid calls even when the phone is more efficient) but rather a desire to work more efficiently.

Email scheduling is extremely useful but many email apps don’t support it. I currently use the excellent Gmelius (a Gmail add-on with beta Android app; an iOS app is in the works). This has all I want and more and because it’s browser-based I can use it on Linux too.

Here are some others I tried:

Tim Bennett is a freelance web designer from Leeds. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.