Friday, July 24, 2015

Gmail as your task management tool (TODO) - Yes, I said Gmail! Sticking to basics is the solution.

I've tried at least a dozen of well-respected task management apps and none of them give me a complete solution.
Then I realized that a solution is in front of me every day. Don't look further than Gmail as your task management tool on your smartphone or desktop browser. Gmail app on iPhone is not like the regular email app that only keeps your emails for X number of weeks. All the emails are there and the searching is so easy. Labels/Folders are easy to use and it is easy move things around or apply different labels.

Don't get me wrong. I like my OneNote for all the work related items, but for simple tracking of my to-do personal items, I have been using Gmail app on my iPhone and Gmail in the web browser.

For example, I created two labels:
- TODO_Current
- TODO_Backlog

Before the beginning of the week, I review my backlog and put it under Current if I plan to work on it that week.

Then throughout the week, I review the Current list and I work on the items.

For regular bills I set up reoccurring meetings in Google Calendar and I set up reminders to get emails when I have to pay bills. Those would go under my Current list for the week. 

The two features that I really like are:
  • How conversations (email threads) work encourages you to easily use that the email thread and keep replying to yourself on tasks that take longer. Then you can just scroll through the email thread and see what you have done so far and continue working on it.
  • Copy and paste from other websites into Gmail keeps the HTML format perfectly. This is crucial when I read computer/coding article and I want to revisit it, I typically save the URL and also copy and paste contents of that page into Gmail for easy reference. 

With this system, I feel so organized. 

Yes, there are very good tools that I tried that do this much better on the mobile device, but I could not find one that does it great on both desktop and mobile. For example, I love OmniFocus app for iPhone, but I don't have anything for my PC at home or at work. I paid premium to to play around their iPhone app, but I decided that Gmail is the best all-around solution for me.



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