Thursday, 18 February 2016

Got email? Get smarter.

Like it or not, it seems we're wedded to email.
So, how can we get smarter at using it as a tool rather than a drain on attention and time?

I used to maintain 'to-do' lists, firstly in my notebook (there is something satisfying about scoring through a completed task) and then using a task management app.  Gmail is pretty good at helping me pull-together numerous work and personal email accounts and automating prioritisation and classification.

There is one tool that I for workflow for task management and emails in one go. I don't mean task lists and email inboxes in one place, but really integrating the actions.  On the face of it the Gmail plug-in Boomerang simply allows you to schedule a reminder for an email. However, it's way smarter than that. I can add 'what ifs' such as a reminder if no response in a certain time, or schedule to send later at a specified time. I can do this from my inbox or directly within a message. I can also see all my scheduled and past 'Boomerangs' in one place in a Gmail folder or web dashboard.
Hmm, maybe I sound a bit evangelical, here but it is one of those game-changing tools that just works damn well. There is a free version to try out on a few messages a month, but within a week I'd gladly paid for the full functionality version.

Boomerang send me an annual personalised analysis of my email behaviour and impact. They recently published a set of tips on getting better responses to your email, based on their analysis of millions of emails.

The new tool Gmailify allows users to link their account to Gmail without having a Gmail account. Given that the ubiquitous corporate/ enterprise platform seems to be Office365 or Outlook, I'd be interested to hear if Microsoft's native products have this kind of functionality and if you are using it.

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