Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gmail: Organizing and Sorting (#edtech)

[Originally posted on the Appy Hour Blog]

Hey all. Here's the understatement of the week: we get a lot of email.

The issue I have with this near-constant barrage of information is how to sort and process it all. I have tried a number of methods and am always fine-tuning how I "use" my inbox (perhaps to my detriment).

David Allen wrote a book called Getting Things Done. In this book, he outlines a "process" to use to organize your life. Regarding email, he gives us the phrase "inbox zero" - meaning there are no new messages in your inbox. (Gasp!)

He does not say you need to be "done" with all of your emails; rather, he insists that you need to set time aside each day to "file" the barrage of emails into doable categories. Your inbox may be clear, but you have a series of other folders that contain your "next steps." These folders could be "Read and review," "Archives," "Do now," etc.

Fortunately, Gmail provides very flexible inbox solutions. You can modify how Gmail handles your incoming messages, possibly automating those daily, repetitive actions you take each day (i.e. you can file the Daily Announcements automatically in an "Announcements" folder so you can read them later).

Here are some links (from the Google Help Center) to help you along your path to getting things done (NB: GTD is the shortened version, typically appearing in phrases like "My Gmail GTD solution," should you care to Google it). You can view the main Gmail help page here (I've only highlighted a few of the many topics it covers).