Rob Minto

Sport, data, ideas

Tag: gmail

The 6 productivity tips you need to know

Today, after several years of drowning in email, I got my inbox to zero. Yup. There’s nothing in there. Gmail is clear.

That doesn’t mean I have no email – I have used 11 per cent of my allocated 10.1 GB. There’s just nothing sitting in the inbox.

This is the most liberated feeling I’ve had in a long long time. It should be a prescribed remedy for stress. But I digress. Having read most of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and Oliver Burkeman‘s Help, and lots of other Lifehacker-type things, I think these are the six essential things you need to know. (I’ve been bloody terrible at sticking to it, but it’s the only way to go.)

  1. Your inbox is not a good list. Why? Other people can write on it. So get a separate list you control. I love Remember The Milk, but there are tons out there. Find something that works, and stick to it. This, not email, should be your guide. Email becomes a tool, rather than the master.
  2. Get good folders / labels for your email. Use characters like “@” or “.” or numbers in front of label names to prioritise.
  3. The 4 Ds are a useful thing to remember: with every email (or bit of paper for that matter) you can (and should) do one of: do it; delegate it; defer it; delete it.
  4. If you aren’t sure whether something is important, just archive it. If it is, you’ll get some reminder along the way.
  5. If you are swamped with too much email, make it a game. It really helps. You are fooling your brain into making it fun, but so what? Get a timer, set a target, and see how much you can get rid of.
  6. Put fun things on your to-do list. It shouldn’t all be grind.

That’s it. Don’t you feel better already?

Why Gmail’s new look is a usability nightmare

I am absolutely furious with Google’s changes to gmail. I don’t really care about the design. The themes allow you enough scope to personalise. The problem is a technical one that has screwed up usability. It’s fundamental, and is the use of multiple iFrames.

What these iFrames do is create scrollbars within scrollbars, especially if you use labels and gadgets in your gmail (which I do).

Gadgets are used to be an easy way of seeing other things like your calendar or Google docs without leaving your email – a nifty productivity bonus. Labels are pretty fundamental to using gmail. Now they have become a nightmare. Continue reading

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