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I want to set up a GTD workflow based around my gmail account.

Although I have some other possible sources of tasks and projects coming "in", most things I need to do come "in" through my gmail inbox. My intent is to take the inbox as a starting point, and use gmail to manage my entire GTD system. For example, without ever taking things out of gmail, trash can be trashed, reference material can be labelled and archived, and open loops can be tracked in many ways...if only I knew an efficient way to track them.

In order to make this work, here are some questions that need to be solved:

  • What labels do I need to indicate actions (context, resources required, and priority)?
  • What non-action labels do I need (eg, wait for reply, incubate)?
  • Can projects (actions and support material) also be tracked within gmail, or do I need a separate system for them?

Finally, once these buckets are established, how can I make sure every bucket is flowing smoothly?

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I'd suggest using Gmail's integrated task manager (Google Tasks) rather than labels. Shift-T turns a message into a task, and then you can rename with the name of the task or next step (rather than the original message's subject line). The task is linked to the original message for future reference. You can then add comments or subtasks to the task. You can also assign a due date, and then view tasks by date in Google Calendar. You'd use different lists for your different contexts.

I use separate lists in Gtasks for other things like Projects.

Here's a bonus Gtasks ninja tip: There's a secret stand-alone "canvas" view that gives you a lot more space to work. Not sure why they don't bring this to the surface - you just have to know the URL, which is .

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GigaOM - Getting Things Done with Gmail Tasks outlines:

  • Creating lists for "Inbox", "Next Actions", "Deferred", "Delegated" and "Someday/maybe".

  • Using notes for additional information.

  • Use "Add to tasks" to easily create new tasks from mails.

  • Advanced: Add additional contexts and use indentation to form projects

The comments outline further tips:

  • Check out ActiveInbox, formerly known as GTDInbox (Deprecated comment ^^).

  • You can also add multiple Task gadgets to your Google homepage, and change the displayed List to view multiple lists on the same page without the need to switch between lists to view or edit list items.

  • Use to manage tasks full-screen.

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I would suggest starting from ActiveInbox (used to be GTDInbox) and see whether that fully covers your needs.

Then, come back with more specific questions. :-)

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I use ActiveInbox (Plus) as well and I can highly recommend it! Sadly no desktop client does support their system, even if I'd be willing to implement it manually. – grunwald2.0 Jun 23 '11 at 19:02

I think any email system is great for collection. Often when I have an idea, I'll SMS text it to my gmail inbox, as it's one of the only collection tools I check every day.

I've found it to be not great as a GTD system. Feels like using a hammer on a screw. Sure you can do it, but it's just not the right tool.

When you try to do too much with one tool, you end up unsatisfied, and switching later anyway.

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