I have been a Gmail fan for a long time now. I love that I can use it on all of my computers and iDevices and it is synced regardless of where I use it. I also love the spam filter. I have way less spam now than I had when I used Outlook. The other great thing about Gmail is that it does not crash like Outlook did. I do not like to delete email. With Outlook I did not have a choice and would have to do so about once a year. You never know when you are going to need some obscure, old email. If I have received it, I still have it.

Now Gmail has gotten better. Google hasn’t done anything. There have been a couple of blogs written lately that highlight features you can use in Gmail to keep better track of tasks and projects. The first one is by tech and social media guy Tod Maffin. I love this system! By separating out the emails you are awaiting responses makes such great sense. By using Multiple Inboxes and labels you can easily separate out the emails you have sent that require a reply. I can’t recall how many times I send out emails at work, waiting for someone to get back to me. When they don’t and I finally remember, I have to go back and look for it. I find this very annoying and it does not pre-dispose me to being too nice to the non-replier. With Tod Maffin’s system it is easy to see who has not gotten back to you and it is easy to keep track of what you are waiting for. The only downside to Tod’s system is that you have to remember to go back into your sent mail and label it with the waiting label.

An article on Lifehacker by Chris Zimmerman mentions Tod’s system but takes it several  steps further using Superstars and Multiple Inboxes. Now, I will say right off the top that this system is way too complicated for me. I am combining it with the other system and only using about 5 of the superstars. What I like about this system is that it allows you to keep track of things that I have delegated, things that are urgent and require immediate attention and to those projects that are more long-term.

These 2 systems have really helped me to take control of all of the things I need to get done. I had been feeling like I was not as productive as I wanted to be. I am sure that using these tools within Gmail will definitely help!


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