Turn Your Emails into Manageable Tasks with Mail Pilot for Mac

MacBook with Mail Pilot logo and airline pilot

What if you could treat your emails as tasks instead of messages? What if you could organize your inbox like a to-do list instead of using a to-do list for the work the emails create?

Now you can, with Mail Pilot. This Mac and iOS app treats your inbox like a to-do list, allowing you to blast through work and declutter your inbox. While Mail Pilot does cost $10 each for the Mac and iOS clients, it definitely seems worth the money. Let’s take a look at the Mac client.


Before getting into how Mail Pilot works, let’s see how you get a Gmail account into it. Mail Pilot works with any IMAP-compatible email provider. (If you need to use Exchange, you’re out of luck for now.)

Once you purchase Mail Pilot via the Mac App Store, it will install automatically. When you open the app you’ll be prompted with some basic information about the new app.

Mail Pilot intro screen

1. Click Continue through a few screens until you get to the new account window:

Mail Pilot Preferences window

2. Click the + in the bottom left corner to set up your account.

Email account setup window

3. Continue adding accounts until you’re all set up and ready to go. If you’re using a custom client like Office365, enter the IMAP and SMTP info from your account and you’ll be all set.

IMAP and SMTP setup window

Getting Through Emails

When it comes to emails, read and unread don’t mean a lot in Mail Pilot. What matters is complete or incomplete. All emails in your inbox will have a circle next to them, no matter what their “read” status is.

When you’ve completed the tasks in a specific email, click the circle to check it off your list. The email will then be archived.

What if you need to deal with an email next week instead of right now? Normally you’d have to add it to an external to-do list and file the email away or mark it as unread for later.

With Mail Pilot, just click the Remind button at the bottom of the window and enter the date. The email drops out of your inbox until the date you set.

Mail Pilot Reminder window

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Set Aside:
Let’s say you need to deal with an email but you’re not sure when. You can set the message aside for later, just like stacking the papers on your desk to organize tomorrow.

Select the email and click the Set Aside button. The email will disappear from your inbox and will live in the Set Aside tab until you deal with it.

Mail Pilot Set Aside window

To mark a task as completed and archive the message, you can click the Complete button, hit the space bar with the email selected, or click the circle next to the email summary in the left bar.

Why It Works

Our brains work in terms of “what needs to be done next,” so email can tend to stress people out because there is no next – it’s all the work all at once.

“Inbox zero” is important for a reason. Having an empty inbox doesn’t mean you’re all done with work; it means your work is scheduled and organized where it should be.

Everything Else

Mail Pilot works like a standard email client with folders and individual inboxes as well, so you’re not totally stuck with the built-in workflow. You can still search your archives and move emails into folders if you really want to.

To get to your individual inboxes and folders, click the Sources button in the upper left of the screen. You can also start dragging a message and the Sources pane will automatically appear.

Mail Pilot Sources button and window

Folders are also accessible by clicking on the buttons along the bottom of the screen. When you click the Folder button you’ll get a popup on the selected email where you can type the folder name. (You can also do this by hitting the F key with an email selected.)


Mail Pilot is an amazing piece of productivity software that just happens to work as an email client, too. From scheduling emails for another day to setting them aside indefinitely, Mail Pilot has you covered. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all those messages, turn them into tasks and get things done.

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