But I can’t keep my inbox closed for large chunks of the workday because my inbox IS my to-do list!
There are two big problems with it.
Why it’s bad to use your inbox as your to-do list
One problem is that using your inbox as your to-do list lets other people dictate your workflow.
While humility might suggest that we should put other people’s priorities before our own, pride needs to step in and remind us that our own objectives are important too. There needs to be a balance — not just to satisfy our own selfish desires, but for our ability to create bigger, more meaningful value for our teams.
If you ever feel like your inbox controls you more than you control it, your email management is unbalanced toward the humility side.
The other problem with using your inbox as your to-do list is that your attention span is always just one email away from being snatched right out of your possession.
We know how often emails pop into our inboxes. Good luck getting any meaningful work done with your inbox pinging you incessantly.
How do you overcome these two productivity-sapping problems? With one simple, useful solution.
Here’s the tool that will free you from your inbox
It’s called Todoist, and it is one of many, many, many to-do list applications that I have tried.
I am very particular about what I want out of a to-do list organizer. This is the only one I’ve found that meets all of the criteria … and I haven’t used all of its features yet.
Here is the most important one, for you “inbox as to-do list folks”: Todoist integrates seamlessly with Gmail and Outlook too allow you to turn an inbox item into a to-do list item with one click of a button.
Why is this important? Because once you start transferring inbox items to your to-do list, you receive the following benefits:
- Your inbox becomes decluttered — because now that you don’t need your inbox to remind you of the task, you can archive the email
- Your life becomes more organized — because you can categorize the new to-do item, prioritize it, slap a due date on it, and set up notifications for it
- Your attention to meaningful work becomes sharper — because you don’t have to keep your inbox open to know what you need to do next
Here is another sweet feature that I love:
When you use the one-click process to turn an inbox item into a Todoist item, a link to that specific email is embedded in the title of the Todoist item. This means that if you need to access the email thread again to complete the task, one click and you’re right back to it, which enables you to bypass your inbox and reduce the threat of being distracted.
In short, Todoist lets you organize the important action items that you receive via email while giving you more uninterrupted time for focused thought and work. That’s a great combo.
It solves the two problems described above … with an intuitive interface that you can use in sync on any device.
Oh, and I forgot the best part: Todoist costs less then $3 per month.
And here’s a way get Todoist free for a year …
I use Todoist Premium. I have for several months, and now I don’t know what I’d do without it.
I was once an inbox-as-to-do-list guy myself, so I can relate with the sentiment expressed at the beginning of this post. Todoist is the tool that finally allowed me to break free from this productivity-killing mindset.
The combination of Todoist and AwayFind (which I described here) have absolutely revolutionized my workflow and made me much more productive.
And for five of you, I am able to provide Todoist Premium free for a year.
Here is how how this is going to work:
I have five codes that, when entered at a specific link, will give you Todoist Premium for a year. That means you get all this free.
If you want to take advantage, do the following:
- Share this post on your social media network of choice.
- Email me (jerod [at] primility [dot] com) with “I want Todoist!” as the subject line and include a link to your social media post.
- I will send you the code and the link where you can sign up.
- Use the code and link, sign up, and change your own workflow for the better just like I did.
The first five people to email me will get codes. That’s it. It’s that simple.
I will also let you know: once I told Todoist that I was planning to include their tool in the Primility Guide to Email Mastery, they were kind enough to extend my personal Premium account for two years at no charge.
How great is it to not have to pay for a useful service that I would happily pay double for?
So I am very grateful to them for their generosity, and I am pumped to be able to give five of you the chance to try it out for free for a year. Based on the responses I received to the first two posts in this series, I expect you’ll love this service just like I do.
If you have any questions about Todoist, the process for receiving the code, or any other element of the Primility Guide to Email Mastery, comment below or shoot me an email. I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thanks for reading. Good luck taming your inbox beast.
Don’t miss the rest of the posts in the Primility Guide to Email Mastery:
- How to Empty Your Inbox Every Day
- How to Avoid Your Inbox for Large Chunks of Time … and Never Miss an Essential Email
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Dr. Beth Snow