EMAIL IN CONTEXT has an $80 program called IMS Pro that works with Microsoft Outlook to, well, put your mail in context. It also offers a free version with slightly fewer features.Clear Context

So what are the features? IMS scans the e-mail in Outlook and groups it by frequency of communication. A lot of back-and-forth notes between you and a friend are automatically grouped together in a continuing thread of conversation. Priority levels are applied according to the importance you assign to certain e-mails or its own analysis of what’s important. We let it make those decisions for us on a bunch of e-mails and to our mild surprise it did put many of the more important e-mail contacts high on the priority list. Priority communication lists are color-coded for quick visual pickup.

You can postpone any incoming e-mails with what the program calls a “defer” button. This is for e-mails where you say to yourself: “I’ll deal with that later.” You can even select the “later.” Pick a time and the program removes that e-mail from the current list and brings it back in at a later time or date. We were able to use all of these features in the free version of IMS.

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