Email is a gross monster.
The constant struggle of trying to keep ‘inbox zero’ and not forgetting things.
It is easy to forget to follow up with someone about x, or check the progress on y.
I have dropped the email ball. Maybe you are the Queen of Organization, and that would never happen. Your balls are all in the air.
If so, I bow to you.
A look at my life before taming the email beast:
I would occasionally forget tasks that didn’t need to be done right away but were important to complete in the future. I would forget to follow up on things.
I would drop the ball. Oops. Or I would spend a lot of time and energy stressing out about the ball dropping. Double Oops.
I tried to keep all the open items in my inbox.
My inbox got clogged and ugly (the beauty of an inbox with zero messages can’t be discounted). With tons of email in the inbox I wasted time and brain power each time scanning to find what needs to be done. And even then, items get missed.
I hate wasting brain power.
I added the future item to my google task list.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t on top of checking the task list each day. And I hate that all the tasks until the end of time are all listed.
All I want to see is what I have to do IMMEDIATELY.
Next, I tried Active Inbox, which is pretty great. But it wasn’t perfect. I still found myself dropping things, forgetting items and not following up like I should. Not checking the folders or the lists.
I wanted the most simple solution.
I found it.
I found perfection. I never forget anything. At least when it comes to email.
Boomerang. That is my solution.
It does just what it says. It ‘boomerangs’ your email back to you.
Say you ask someone a question.
Normally, you would be at the mercy of their email system to answer it. Or your memory. Or you would have to write something in a calendar that you had a request out to them.
With that amazingness of Boomerang, you just decide when you want the message returned to your inbox. You can pick the number of days or the exact date of return.
You can choose to have it return only if there is not a reply or it can return to your inbox no matter what. You choose.
How I use Boomerang:
- Requests. If I request something from someone, or need a reply back from them. In this case, I only Boomerang it if there is no reply.
- Something that requires action in the future. Say that I need to follow up with a company about advertising for a client in a month. I set a reminder with Boomerang.
- Miscellaneous Items – personal or business. If something needs to be done, that I don’t have an email about, I still use Boomerang. I email myself with a Boomerang reminder and archive the message so it isn’t in my inbox. My inbox is clear, and nothing is forgotten. No more forgetting anything again. Ever. Winning.
- Scheduling an email to send later. Want to be super on top of you game? Write the email now, send later. I don’t use this feature as much. I don’t want to have to go back and check that the email is still relevant. Oops. “Yes I know that yesterday we closed this deal. Me sending you an email asking about it was a brain fart”. Classy.
Productivity experts say that email shouldn’t be our to do list. Negative.
You should use whatever system works for you.
The fact is I check my email throughout the day. I’m already there. It is one of the predominant ways I communicate for business.
I check it more than I check my calendar.
Why not have my most important reminders pop up there?
The most important thing about systems, is that your system has to work for you. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or cool, or GTD, or zen. Maybe being fancy works for you. Maybe you are more zen than Leo Babauta. Find what works.
But for the simple, no forgetting reminders – Boomerang is it.
Soon, I will let you know my complete email system. I have zero email in my inbox RIGHT NOW. It is awesome. And simple.
In the meantime, what works for you?
PS. While it may sound like I’m in love with Boomerang – those links aren’t affiliate links. Just regular ol’ links.