You know how this goes. You open your Gmail account, and you find yourself drowned in an ocean of over 10,000 unread emails, all of them lying around and disorganized. That may be a slight exaggeration. But you get the point: it’s hard to keep up with email.
It's overwhelming, leads to stress, and ultimately hampers your productivity.
But, lately, users have figured out ways to make Gmail a significantly more intuitive and collaborative tool — using Gmail as a task manager. With this approach, you can completely reshape your inbox and get it so well organized that even Marie Kondo would be proud.
Why use Gmail as a task manager?
- Gmail already comes with a to-do list.
This is the biggest reason why it makes sense to manage your tasks right in your Gmail. Gmail comes built-in with an app called Google Tasks. It is a to-do list app that lets you create tasks, set dues dates, reminders, etc. Aside from Gmail, it also synchronizes with your Google Calendar. It is ideal for those who want a simple, bare-bones tool to stay on top of day-to-day work.
- Most emails come in as tasks.
Most of the emails you receive are likely tasks — be it an email about a new ad campaign that your marketing team is planning to run or a sales meeting coming up with a prospect or an event that your company is organizing. A blend of Gmail and Google Tasks is perfect for planning and follow-ups of these action items.
- It’s better to have everything in one place.
If you regularly move your tasks from Gmail to a task management app, you’ll have to juggle between two different apps constantly. This can hamper your productivity in the case when you have so many task-related emails. Instead of being stuck in that spiral of switching between multiple apps, it is convenient to have all of that in one place.
Before we start learning how to use Gmail as a task manager, let’s cover some basics.
Accessing Google Tasks in Gmail
Now, let us learn how to access and use Google Tasks in Gmail.
Go to your Gmail inbox and click “Tasks” on the right panel. Your Google Tasks app opens.
Adding a new task in Gmail
- Click the “Add a task” button.
- Enter the title of the task and press Enter. You can even click the edit button on the side to add more details to it.
Adding an email as a task in Gmail
- Drag any email from your inbox to Google Tasks.
- Click the edit button to enter the required details.
Or simply, select an email and click on the Google Tasks icon to add the email to your Google Tasks.
Setting a due date
- Click the edit button in a task and then click “Add date/time”.
- Choose the date and time here.
You also have the option here to repeat the task for a specific number of days or weeks or months, or years.
Adding a subtask
- Click the edit button in a task and then click “Add subtasks”.
- Give the subtask a name and press Enter. You can add any number of subtasks to a task.
Creating a new list
- Click the “My Tasks” dropdown at the top.
- Select “Create new list”
- In the search box at the top, click the upside-down triangle. This will open a dropdown.
- Here, type in a word or an email that you would like to filter out.
- Refine your filter conditions even further by using the available form fields.
- Click ‘Create filter’.
- Now, choose what you would like the filter to do.
- Click ‘Create filter’.
How to manage tasks in Gmail?
So far, you have understood the basics. Now let’s look at some of the ways you can use Gmail to manage your tasks.
- Share tasks in Google Tasks
Be it an ad campaign your agency is running or an event you are planning for charity, collaboration and regular communication are keys to working together as a team. You have to be on top of everything that’s going around — when your designer sends you those mockups, when your copywriter emails you the new ad copies, and more importantly, when your client emails you their feedback.
Simply set up tasks in Google Tasks and share them with your teammates to keep everybody in the loop. Email them about updates and never let anything slip through the cracks.
- Bookmark your marketing newsletters for reading later.
Not all newsletters are a waste of time. There are a lot of great ones out there that offer valuable information to their readers regularly. You should never miss out on them. At the same time, you may not be free to digest all of that information. Instead of ignoring those emails altogether or relying on your memory to come back to them later, just do the following.
Create a filter to move all those newsletters to a specific label/folder. Then, turn them into tasks by dragging and dropping them into your task list. And set reminders for reading them later.
Automate.io can make this process easier for you. Just try this Gmail to Google Tasks Integration.
- Set reminders to pay invoices.
Paying invoices to your vendors or anybody you work with on-time builds credibility and trust. A more straightforward way to not let those invoice emails get lost in your inbox is by creating a filter for emails that contain the word “invoice” and moving them to a folder.
- Plan for that partnership meeting you have worked on for months.
Partnerships are a great way to team up with complementary businesses and introduce your brand to a new audience. Emailing prospective partners, following up with them, coordinating with your team — all of that is a lot of work. And it requires proper planning and collaboration.
Always stay on top of the progress you’re making using Gmail and Google Tasks. You can even pull in Google Calendar, too, in this mix. When you have meetings set up, turn them into tasks, and track how things are going.
Use this Gmail to Google Calendar integration to set up the above scenarios.
- Follow-up with your team on completed tasks
When you’re working in a team, it’s crucial to regularly keep them in the loop. But if you’re working on multiple projects at once with multiple teams, it may not be ideal to email them every time you reach a progress point. For such instances, the below automation will be perfect for you.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated about turning your Gmail inbox into a task manager. You get a clear view of everything you’re working on all in one place.
We’ve mentioned only a few use cases here. But when you start executing one or two, you will eventually discover other creative ways to turn Gmail into the ultimate to-do list.