I recently stumbled upon an article on PCmag that highlighted 5 reasons your Inbox is not your To-Do list. While I do not agree with the title of the article (I have started using my Inbox as a To Do list much more successfully than any other system I used in the past), I do agree with the reasons they have stated for the title.
- No control over incoming items.
- Lack of tools for prioritizing and setting deadlines .
We recently surveyed 30,000+ Outlook users on a similar topic and asked if they were using their Inbox as a To-Do list, what are some of the problems and tips to better use the Inbox as a To-Do list?
Our survey confirmed that most Outlook users were still using their Inboxes as their primary to-do lists… despite what productivity guru’s say! Why?
Most of us have tried to follow the advice of productivity guru’s, spent time searching for solutions to overcome email overload and tried using the Outlook Task and Calendar… but all the methods failed… Because it just takes too much will-power and discipline to continue to follow this methods.
Needless to say, using the Inbox as a To-Do list does have some limitations such as:
- The Inboxes is always overloaded with no control over incoming emails!
- There is no way to prioritize or schedule emails in a more meaningful order.
- There is no easy way to view (or adjust) your work schedule when you work from your Inbox.
- There is no easy way to add notes to an email to remind yourself later why you actually left the email in the Inbox
- How to ensure that other people respond to emails that we have sent.
But some users shared very clever tips to deal with these problems:
- BCCing themselves on emails that need follow-up (so that the emails come back to your Inbox)
- Flagging or marking emails as Unread (so that they look different from other emails in the Inbox)
- Having a system of folders for different priorities (requires discipline which I personally don’t have)
You can get more details on each of the solutions listed above in our Free Report. This report outlines a number of tips that you can use to unclutter your Inbox and get more real work done.
Based on our survey, the inbox is still the primary To-do list for majority Outlook users and with a few tweaks and built-in Outlook features (BCC, flagging etc), you can make your inbox work as a To-Do list.
How to better use the Inbox to get the right work done… at the right time?
If you are amongst those who prefer to use the Inbox as your To-Do list, you could implement the tips suggested by actual users above or try the eeminders for outlook addin.
eeminders works directly inside Outlook and lets you:
- Defer/Snooze emails out of your Inbox …. until you need them
- Get Follow-up reminders for emails you send… in your Inbox
- View your Inbox with the emails that you need to work on at the top…. in bold
- Do more than just emails… schedule your non-email tasks in your Inbox too
- Move your non-urgent emails into a Someday folder to relook at in the future when you have free time
- Review and Reschedule your future email workload easily
What is your opinion, can the Inbox be used as a To-Do list or not?
Let us know by leaving a comment below