You did it—what a legend!
You have transformed your inbox into a GTD Gmail, saving you thousands of clicks, headaches, and hours per year.
Let’s recap everything we covered:
First of all, the GTD Gmail productivity system allows you to have an Index Zero on the left side and a task manager on the right.
To transform your inbox into a GTD Gmail, you need to:
• Add multiple inboxes, and select the right side of the inbox.
• Choose your category and special stars, and match them.
• Change Inbox type to “Default” and layout to “Compact.”
• Turn off any configuration regarding priority, important emails, or filters.
• Use labels and filters to avoid repetitive tasks.
Don’t create more than five labels and don’t use nested labels. Remember, naming is a very important step: Choosing a broad topic for your label name will help you in the long run. To give a specific order to the labels, add “#” and a number before the name (e.g., “#1 Projects”).
Match labels and filter. Instead of manually updating filters, use the “email siblings” hack: Add a plus sign and any word before the @ sign.
For more advanced GTD Gmail features, make sure you enable keyboard shortcuts (default or custom), auto-advance emails, send and archive, and undo send. While you don’t need to set these up to use your GTD Gmail, they will help you optimize repetitive tasks and save a few clicks every time (which translates to a lot of clicks over time).
For a quick first cleanup, read the first three pages of unread emails, and mark everything you need with stars. Then, select all and click archive. In addition, if you want a deeper cleanup, you can search for emails that are bigger than 10MB and batch delete emails by searching for the handle after @.
Process your email workflow effectively. Every email you get is either something you need to take action on, track, or refer to later. Use yes or no questions to decide right away what to do with an email after opening it and use the Touch-It-Once principle.
But to truly become a GTD Gmail ninja, develop a reducing mindset—i.e., eliminating before optimizing. While the GTD Gmail is an awesome productivity system, you should also receive fewer emails. You can do this by unsubscribing from emails you don’t need, sending fewer emails, not replying right away, being succinct, and answering with statements.
To write better emails and always get your point across, build the skill of brevity, avoid squishy words and writing in the passive voice, know your end before you start, call out Action Items and names in bold, start the email with your conclusions in a “tl;dr” (“too long; didn’t read”) section at the beginning, and never forward along a massive email chain without a TL;DR. If you work in an office and an email needs a long reply, get up and go talk to that person or wait until they take a break.
Finally, consider using a few additional tools that can help you conquer your inbox, such Boomerang, Email Game, Mixmax, Inbox Pause, and Asana/Trello.
And that’s everything you need to start using a GTD Gmail productivity system. Hopefully, you set your own while reading the lessons and will have a much better time when dealing with email from now on.
To a Productive You!
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