Windows with Outlook 2007 and an Exchange account only: Email Prioritizer, a new Outlook plugin from Microsoft labs, gives email receivers the tools to both "pause" their email and have it ranked by priority on a scale of one to three stars. Once you've installed the plugin, you'll notice a new toolbar with a "Do Not Disturb" option, which can be set from 10 minutes to 4 hours (or, smartly, until a meeting you've planned expires) and delays the delivery of mail to you on the client side. Not exactly an Inbox Zero approach, but it might work for do-or-die deadlines. More innovative is a ranking system that automatically sorts your mail based on how it was sent and who it's from, derived, in part, from Microsoft employees. Let's take a look at some of the options:
Photo by CNET Networks
There are more specific filters available, like "Mail from people I'm meeting with in the next 2 days," "Mail from my manager" and from "above my manager," and "Mail with these words in the subject line." There's also the option to mark emails from specific people as lower priorities—something those of us on certain PR folks' email lists can truly appreciate.
We couldn't test out Email Prioritizer's ranking system on our inboxes, as there's no Exchange server running at Lifehacker HQ, and free Exchange provider Mail2Web has yet to roll out Outlook client compatibility on its free accounts (the kind that get you free "push" mail and contacts on your iPhone.
While you're empowering your Outlook inbox to stand up up to less-important email, check out these other email innovations you want in your inbox, both in concept and in download-right-now form.
Have you tried out the Email Prioritizer? What do you think of adding a "Do Not Disturb" and auto-prioritizer to your inbox? Share your thoughts in the comments.