Sunday, February 20, 2005
Gmail as to do list?
In college, in classes where I was bored, I would write out my to do list on a sheet of notebook paper. I would then put a star (I had perfected doing the star outline --not the star with just five lines that cross eachother-- in high school in my Literary Magazine course. Perfected it to such a degree that they gave me my name on a star as a gift at our christmas party. ) to the left of the item on the list and then I would color in the star when I had done the item. It was a nice list because I liked stars and I could easily see what I had not done by the absence of color on the corresponding star.
Fastforward a couple years. I read this about using Gmail as a Journal and then this about using Gmail for taking notes and then this about using Gmail to catalog information. I decided to try out my own Gmail as a to do list.
Based on many of their ideas, but with only using filters and labels, none of the firstname.lastname@example.org. So I gave my self a gmail invitation and set up my to do list email.
- I thought of the categories that my to do list should have. My graduate courses, my teacher certifcation courses, apartment stuff, library stuff, food, errands, friends/family, etc. These were all made into labels.
- I also set up some Time Oriented Labels. "This week" is anything that needs to be done this week. This is what would usually make up my weekly to do list. I also put February, March, April, etc. for those things that I knew were coming up.
- My third kind of category is random. I have reading for books and articles that I want to read. I have blog for things I want to blog about. Links for links to read. Hmm maybe that is not necessary. Wishlist for things that I want to buy but don't have money for. Food was originally going to be for things that I need to remind myself to eat out of the freezer.
- My best label is Completed.
- I then made a filter for each label, so that if I mentioned library, the label "library" would be attatched. Pretty easy. Except that there is a limit of 20 filters. So I combined Friends and Family into one.
- I originally wanted all of the labels to make the email skip the inbox and be archived, except for the "this week" label. That would have been awesome but I encounted a problem when the "library" label said to archive and the "this week" label said to go to inbox. I wanted the inbox to win,but the archive won, so I lost. So the only filters I have are to attatch labels.
- If the to-do item does not include the word for the label, then I just add it to the bottom. Example: Grocery store (subject of email) Buy blueberries, milk, turkey. Errands this week. (body of email.) So I do have to remember to type in words that will put the email in that category.
- When I have completed the item. I reply to the email with the word "done" which adds the email to the "Completed" label and (as a part of that filter) stars that message. So just like my college to do list, my completed items have a colored star next to them.
- It would be cool if the completed label was incompatible with the this week label so the "this week" label was automatically removed.
- When I am signed into my Gmail to-do list I am not signed into my Gmail regular email, which, in theory, makes me more productive.
- Stars are colored in when I complete my to do list!!!!
- No more writing out to do lists manually and wasting paper.
- Stars! Colored in! In yellow! The happy color!
- My to do list is not washed away in a jeans pocket. It is viewable from any computer.
- By looking at all the starred mail, I can see how productive I have been.
- Logging in and out of Gmail all day. I think there is a way to prevent this. But I dont know about that and it might bring my productivity down.
- I dont know about keeping up with all of the labels. If this does work, and I still only have 20 emails, a year from now I will want to look at February's to do list and unless I delete February from 2005, all of February, any year comes up. Deleting could get tedious. But not too bad because you can select a whole group and then remove the label.
- If I get tired and bored of it.