Task Management with Mail.app

I have to juggle dozens of short-term to-do items at any given time, so I need a process that is fast and practical, so that things don’t fall through the cracks. I stopped relying on my memory a long time ago.

Fast and practical in this case means simple. I like simple.

So my process relies on a single application : Apple’s Mail.app.

It goes like this :

  1. I receive an email, say like this one, that contains an action item
  2. todo01.png

  3. I highlight the relevant action item in the message body
  4. todo02.png

  5. I right click and select New Todo (Leopard users, click on the ToDo button in the toolbar)
  6. todo03.png

  7. I tweak the Todo header text (I prefix my todo’s with little codes, as in T: for Translation) and add an alarm if necessary (red circly-arrowy thingy)
  8. todo04.png

Thats it. It takes a couple of seconds to create a todo.

Now, to make this even more practical required two extra (one-time) steps:

  1. I created smart mailbox in Mail that displays all of my incomplete Todos.
  2. todo06.png

  3. I created a separate mail-viewer window (File > New Viewer Window). I selected my smart mailbox, then hid the sidebar (View > Hide Mailboxes) and hid the toolbar (View > Hide Toolbar). The result is a second Mail window that is always open and only shows my ToDos.
  4. todo07.png

From this window:

  • I can click on the yellow check boxes to mark an item as done.
  • I can click on the little grey arrow to open the original email message, reply to the message and attach my deliverables to the reply.

Todo? Tada!

08. January 2010 by sknob
Destination: Geekiness | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. nice idea :)

  2. Pingback: Task Management with Mail.app : Smart & Fabulous Update. : sknoblog

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