Defer Items in Your Outlook Inbox, and Get to Inbox Zero, With Boomerang for Outlook

boomerang for outlook logoI’ve been using Mailbox on my iPhone for over a week now, and one of the features that I like the best is the ability to defer items in my email inbox. With a swipe and a tap, I can temporarily get an item out of my inbox, and set it to reappear at a future date (yes, I can hear the GTDer’s out there screeching in horror that I don’t just move it into my GTD system). I like the feature so much that I longed for the ability to do the same on my desktop at work, where we use Microsoft Outlook. The hunt was on.

It didn’t take me long to find Boomerang for Outlook, an Outlook plugin whose sole purpose is to let you defer messages to a later date. When you want to defer a message, you hit a dropdown menu, and select when you want the message to reappear in your inbox. The message will disappear (it gets moved to a “Boomerang” folder), and make a reappearance at the chosen time.

Boomerang dropdown

I’ve had one glitch with Boomerang. I can’t get the Boomerang menu onto the Quick Access Toolbar, so that it is quickly available from within the mail message itself, instead of just in the message list. Boomerang’s support team sent me instructions on how to do it, but those instructions didn’t work for me. I have a follow up email in to Boomerang support, who were quick to respond to my initial inquiry. I’ll see how it goes.

Boomerang for Outlook costs $29.95, and has a one week free trial. If you know of other mail deferral options in Outlook, let me know in the comments. For a non-native method of deferring mail, check out my previous post on Followupthen and

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. former reader of yours

    looks like all you got to say now is paid ads. sorry, not interested any longer.

    • Sorry to see you go. I did have a 2 week stretch where several companies approached me around the same time for spots, but that was unusual if you look back over the several year history of the site. (This post on Boomerang, by the way, was not an ad – I clearly mark ads as “sponsored.” I truly do like Boomerang, and plan to buy it when my week trial is up).

    • I’d also be interested in getting your feedback on where you think the line is between an OK amount of advertising, and too much, as I have thought about where that line should be (with the understanding that I’ll always have some level of ads). Now that I don’t have time to post as much on the site, I’ve been wondering if I should set a per week limit, or a post to add ratio. If you have the time and inclination, you can email me. My email address is my first name @ this site’s domain.

  2. Good post but still not get to know why anyone defer the message..

    • I think it’s really for those who like to get to inbox zero. I defer items that I know I’m not going to be able to address right away, and that I want to be more in my face then putting them into my task management app.

  3. I love Mailbox, and I love Boomerang. Deferring emails is useful because it reduces cognitive load.

    I just heard from Boomerang support that they do not work with Outlook 2013 at this time.

  4. I was unable to install it into my MS Outlook 2007 under Windows 8.1.

    What do you recommend me?

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