Are you overwhelmed by the constant stream of new e-mail in your inbox? Do you easily get distracted and lose your focus?

If you are using gmail, you might find that Inbox Pause can help you get control over your inbox.

I have for a long time been a big fan of the ”Offline” feature in Outlook. Going offline puts you in control so that you decide when you want new e-mail to arrive in your inbox – while you can still work in your e-mail client and handle all the e-mail you already received and write new e-mails. And when you chose, you can then go online and let Outlook retrieve new e-mails. Working in this way makes it much easier to focus on the task at hand and to reduce distractions.

But these days I’m self-employed and I am using gmail as my main e-mail client. And I couldn’t find a way to put gmail offline that worked for me.

Taaadaaa – Inbox Pause to the rescue! Best of all: It’s free.

Inbox Pause is an extension that installs in your browser.

After installing it, it’s very simple to use Inbox Pause:

  1. Open as usual
  2. In the Inbox, you’ll now see a big PAUSE button  The Pause button in Inbox Pause
  3. Click the button to pause your Inbox (it will give you an option to configure an auto-responder message and/or to move e-mail to your Inbox on a schedule)
    The dialog box in Inbox Pause
  4. When you unpause your Inbox again, all of the messages that were delivered while you had it paused are moved to the Inbox, and new messages will arrive in the Inbox as usual.  The Unpause button in Inbox Pause

It works beautifully, and I’m already becoming addicted to it. I love that I’m now in full control over when I want to have new e-mail appear in my Inbox. And the best thing is that the gmail interface and keyboard shortcuts and search works exactly as usual.

A few things to be aware of:

  • The extension works by creating a rule that moves all e-mail to a (hidden) label while your inbox is paused. This rule works across all the computers, browsers, and apps that you might use to check your gmail account. Which I find great!
  • However, if you are using multiple computers (or browsers), you must unpause the Inbox using the same computer and the same browser that you used to pause the Inbox. So if you suddenly wonder why you have an empty Inbox and see the PAUSE button, it could very well be because you paused your Inbox in a different browser or on another computer. If this is a problem, you can manually unpause your Inbox.
  • The Inbox Pause extension doesn’t give you offline functionality for gmail in your browser. So if you’re looking for this, you should look into using the “Gmail Offline” extension instead or use a stand-alone e-mail application.


PS: I’m in no way affiliated with Inbox Pause or the team behind. I’m just a happy user.

PPS: You might wonder why I’m not simply using the “Gmail Offline” extension that Google has created. But it completely changes the user interface of gmail so that it looks more like the iOS versions of gmail. And I much prefer the regular web interface. Especially because the web interface supports keyboard shortcuts that lets me quickly select, delete, and move e-mails around.

How to go offline in gmail using Inbox Pause