The PhoneBoy Blog


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Struggling With Inbox Zero on Gmail

Inbox ZeroAs much as I love the concept of Inbox Zero, I can’t seem to achieve it, at least on my personal Gmail account. At work, I can usually manage to get to Inbox Zero by the end of the day. What’s the difference? Microsoft Outlook.

The key to Inbox Zero is really applying a fundamental concept: FAD. For any given piece of email (or any other information), you should immediately do one of the following things:

  • File it. Save it for later. Gmail is a bit better at this than Outlook because I can search Gmail so much better.
  • Action it. I’ll explain this in a moment.
  • Delete it. Both Gmail and Outlook can delete things

On my work email, I can use Outlook to “Action” emails I get. I simply drag it over to the Tasks section and it creates a new task for me automatically. I can drag all the correspondence into the task, and voila, I have the complete stream built right into the task. I can set a due date, reminder, and go on my merry way. When I finish, I’ve kept all my notes and emails updated within the task. I can refer to it later very easily.

I’ve tried to use Gmail in this way. However, it’s not easy to, say, take an email thread and easily add it to a Google Calendar. And I certainly can’t drag and drop it, not even with Mailplane! And then there’s the whole issue of syncing those To-Dos with my Nokia device when it’s already running Mail For Exchange. Simply tagging an item “todo” was a surefire way for the item to get ignored.

I need an Outlook-like client that actually supports all the Gmail goodness, i.e not with POP, but most certainly with Task Management of some kind. Any ideas in this area welcome.


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