Moving from Gmail to

5 minute read article Leadership   Technology   Productivity Comments

Today is the 4th of July - Independence Day in the United States. I’m sitting at my desk waiting for the neighborhood fireworks to start. The city put on their show yesterday, so tonight the neighbors will do what they’re gonna do. It’s not even dark yet, but I can already hear some pops and booms.

Let’s Talk Email

Disclaimer: I am a satisfied customer. I am getting nothing from 37signals for writing this post. I’m doing it because it’s a great product and I’m happy to be getting rid of gmail!

I started using Gmail shortly after launch, on June 21, 2004. That was back in the days where they doled out invites for people to give away. I remember anxiously waiting for a friend to get an invite so I could finally use this cool, new email app and stop self-hosting my email.

After 19 years, I finally decided I had enough of Google. I only use Chrome if I have to for some oddball websites, I use other search engines, and in general, try to avoid Google products. I was tired of years of Google shenanigans, and yes, I still harbor some ill-will for them killing Google Reader in 2013!

In July of 2020, I start dabbling with, a 37signals product. I played with it off and on for a couple years, but on November 23, 2023, I decided it was time to go all-in with it, or stop paying for it.

Note: I’m not going to load this post with screenshots because I’d have to redact a bunch of personal information AND because the website is a great place to go to see all the features.

How I Did It

I started by redirecting all of gmail email to Because of the “screener” tool built into the app, I could start to unsubscribe and eliminate tons of crap I didn’t care about. I have drastically cut down the amount of email I receive, which is a good thing since most of it was ads and newsletters anyway.

They have an excellent guide for moving from gmail to HEY.

I still check to make sure everything is making it through. Every so often I’ll find something in my spam folder that was, in fact, NOT spam.

The forwarding is still “live” but I plan to turn it off by the end of 2024.

The Good makes email management so freakin’ easy! Not only do new senders get screened and I have to approve or deny them (or mark them as spam), I can quickly and easily file things away into two built-in buckets: The Feed and the Paper Trail.

Newsletters and similar emails go to The Feed. Reading the feed shows me a continuous “feed” of the emails in that particular bucket. It lets me know where I left off, which is nice because I don’t always read The Feed frequently.

With the Paper Trail, receipts, reservations, and things I want to keep track of don’t get lost in a sea of ads, newsletters, and irrelevant emails. I know exactly where to look when my wife asks me a question about something I purchased.

The inbox is called the Imbox because it’s where important things end up that don’t necessarily fit into one of those other buckets. Because I follow The Two-Minute Rule for email processing, my Imbox normally doesn’t have more than a few emails in it, and many times it’s empty.

The app removes trackers from my emails and even gives me a summary of how many it has removed.

One of my favorite features is the ability to set an email “aside” - this lets me keep it around, but in a separate list that doesn’t require me to keep it marked as “unread.” I can also set an email to “bubble up” at a specific time. For example, I received an email about a domain renewal and instead of leaving it as “unread” in my Imbox, I told the system to bubble it up a couple days before I actually needed to renew. Handy!

There is an iPhone app, which is really nice. It has all the same features as the web app, so I never feel like I’m missing out when managing email from my phone or iPad.

But Wait, There’s More

Last year they added the HEY Calendar, and wow, it’s amazing. It’s how a calendar app should be! I can subscribe to other calendars, so it’s my “home base” where I can see my days in one place.

I love how I can label days, and how days are shown in “timeline” view, displaying overlapping items in an intuitive way. I also appreciate being able to add “loose” items to my calendar - things I need to do, but don’t necessarily want to put in an actual calendar event.

The calendar also has a phone app which brings all the same functionality I see in the web app to my mobile devices.

The Bad

About the only downside I can think of for using is the $99 per year I pay, but even that’s a stretch. I like being a paying customer of a solid product. I’m no longer the product for THEM to sell, I’m the CUSTOMER, and that means I’m not treated like a bucket of data for them to monetize.

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of features I didn’t mention. Both products are evolving and I believe they are here to stay.

I still have my gmail account, but I plan on turning off the forwarding by the end of this year. That should give me enough time to make sure I’ve redirected everything to my new address, and that any accounts I have tied to Gmail have been switched over.

I know people struggle with the idea of paying for email, but seriously, with Gmail, you ARE paying with your privacy. I’m happy to spend a few dollars knowing the team at 37signals is trying to do the right thing.

They offer a 30-day free trial, so check it out!

A seal indicating this page was written by a human