I find that I use my inbox as my todo list. I know I know I know… It’s not the greatest use of the inbox. I mean the inbox was not designed to be a todo list and using an inbox as a todo list doesn’t work with either inbox zero or the GTD methods. But no matter how many other todo list mangers I try I keep returning to the inbox-as-todo-list method.
Yet I have this dilemma, a war wages inside. I like inbox zero, or at least inbox <5. I also have anywhere from 20-50 things on my todo list at any given time.
This is where Boomerang for gmail comes in handy. But first what is boomerang typically used for? Most people I’ve spoken to about boomerang know it as the “send an email later” utility. Which is what people use to delay emails for people who respond too quickly. But Boomerang for Gmail offers so much more than that.
The function in Boomerang that I use the most is the bring it back to my inbox. If I know that the email from a client I won’t be able to get to until tomorrow afternoon I boomerang it for tomorrow afternoon. Now it’s out of my inbox, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting it. There is something refreshing about not even looking at a todo you know you cannot do yet.
When the message reappears in my inbox I can choose to deal with it then, or of course I could boomerang it for a later date/time.
One of the side benefits
As I approach the end of a working session (I have 3-5 sessions a day) I typically choose which emails to boomerang for a later working session. That way when I check my email from a mobile device while between sessions I’m only looking at the new stuff or stuff that I’ve chosen to keep in my active todo list.
Too often before using boomerang i would reply to a client with an acknowledgement of the todo item and then archive the message because I responded. Using boomerang in this workflow I’ve been able to keep the same practice but also have the email pop back up as a reminder at a specific time/date.
The other thing I use boomerang for is to ensure that I follow up on emails. If I send an email to a person who I need to respond but I doubt they will right away I boomerang my email so that it reminds me to call or send another email.
Have you used boomerang? Do have other functions/features of it you use?