Maybe you don’t feel like opening Gmail to check your inbox is a big deal, but if you’re doing it as often as I do (along with hitting “refresh”), you might think Checker Plus is just the ticket.

A relatively new extension from the “Green Programmer,” Jason Savard, Checker Plus allows you to not only receive notifications when new emails come in, but also to view them right from Chrome, mark them as read or even reply.

The download is as fast as it free (i.e. totally) and the app is fully operational in about a minute. A small red envelope will appear in the upper right part of your screen, along with your current number of inbox emails.

Click on the envelope and a window will appear, displaying your most recent unread emails. You can scroll down to see them all and click to read them right there in the window. Any time you hover over an email, a toolbar appears that allows you to archive, mark as spam, delete or mark as read.

The left margin of the window features two numbered icons: one showing your number of “read” emails and the other showing the number of “unread.” Every time you read an email or mark one read, you’ll see the numbers change. Best of all, you can reply to senders as quickly and easily as if you were in Gmail.

Besides the obvious time-saving capabilities, there’s a personal obstacle that Checker Plus specifically addresses. While some folks are great at archiving, deleting and otherwise disinfecting their inbox, mine could be on an episode of Hoarders.

I know it’s an issue that exists only in my mind and is totally my fault, but every time I open up Gmail, it’s a little overwhelming and the thought of spending any time cleaning seems like a “whole big thing.” I end up just reading what I absolutely need to, not touching the rest and getting out quick, thereby compounding my problem.

Checker Plus keeps me accountable by letting me process my emails as they come in, presenting them in a bite-sized, non-threatening format and encouraging me to take appropriate action immediately. I have never in my life had a clean, orderly inbox and now I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

One last fun fact: You can personalize Checker Plus with skins, themes and fun notification sounds, including a kiss (your significant other), a disappointed “Oh no” (your mom) or scary, Jaws-like piano (your boss).

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