Managing Projects and Tasks in Gmail

gmail task Lists.png

There are a lot of project management tools out there (Basecamp, Monday, Trello, Asana, etc.) And many can be a great fit for sophisticated project management workflow for teams. The collaboration, task management and record keeping structure can be helpful.

However, there’s a lot of friction also when it comes to using a whole other system beyond your Gmail.

Most knowledge work gets done by email and when you have to go into other systems to:

  • click
  • log notes
  • create an action step
  • complete the action
  • post what you did

It’s a lot of steps and it can wear you out. I have helped teams and individuals move much faster and do more with less using Gmail and Gmail Tasks.

Gmail Task Lists

Your communications comes into your Gmail inbox. Pushing to get information and following up happens by email. So, why not stay as close to email for managing projects as you can?

Here is a resource to help you manage projects using your Gmail task lists found in your Gmail right sidebar:

gmail tasks sidebar
  1. Set up a new list. Do this for new projects. Perhaps your business revolves around ongoing client work. Make a list named after that client, i.e., Tom Jones Automotive
  2. Add tasks. This includes setup items and anything that comes to mind from taking notes in meetings. Note: Start each task with a verb. Use the imperative to tell yourself what to do. It creates immense clarity so you are ready to execute.
  3. Convert emails to tasks. This is opening an email and using the Shift+T shortcut for a keyboard shortcut. It’s extremely powerful. Be sure to change the task name to an imperative to create clarity. Tell yourself what to do.
  4. Review and reorder your tasks. You can drag your tasks to whatever order you desire. Review and make sure you have everything out of your head and in the list.
  5. Work your list. After each item is completed, check it off and send an email to those that need to know the work is done. You have a record now.
  6. Delete your list. The goal of a project is to complete it. So, when you have the last task done, delete the list. Move onto other projects or make a new deal. This way you don’t have things hanging on and you practice the discipline of closure.

You can have many lists and review them regularly to ensure you have all the tasks per project captured.

Your email becomes your notes. It’s fast project management staying centered on your Gmail as a quick system to get things done.

More Gmail Tasks Strategies and Tips

The process above will help you manage across many projects. Here are some more strategies to help you get more done and make your customers happy:

  • After a task is completed, send an email to people to let them know what work got done. It’s a way of keeping notes. And you have proof you can search for if you need it.
  • Archive any emails you convert to tasks. It is associated in the task to click and retrieve as part of the task.
  • Put any notes in the Gmail Task to help you execute.
  • Review your lists every day. Clean them up. If a project is no longer a priority, delete it. The fastest way to complete a project is to get rid of it. You have to be clear on this and practice continual sloughing. It makes room for the new by getting rid of things that don’t matter anymore.
  • Copy and paste all completed tasks at the end of a project (when all tasks are completed) into an email to yourself to archive the tasks you completed. Then delete the list if the project is done.
  • Set dates sparingly. When it really matters, assign a date. Those tasks do show up your Google Calendar as well. Trust your intuition to get things done based on seeing a list instead. Gmail task dates are great for deadlines.
  • For managing across clients, get all the tasks in each project listed. Then each day knock out 1-3 tasks per project. It keeps things moving incrementally per project.
  • You can manage payables as a list and receivables as a list with dates. Handy to use for ongoing accounting project.

The Daily Checklist and Weekly Checklist

In business, there are many repetitive tasks that have to get done on a weekly or daily basis. I like to make a weekly checklist or daily checklist.

On those checklists, it helps ensure you are consistent and get the things done you might otherwise forget. Here is the process for such checklists:

  1. Write out the tasks. Which have to be considered weekly or daily.
  2. Complete the tasks. Check them off
  3. Uncheck your completed tasks. At the end of the week or day, respectively, uncheck the list and start again.

This keeps you on the rails operationally.

Gmail Tasks Collaboration and Sharing

Gmail Tasks currently are not shareable with other users. To collaborate, you can set up a new Google Space and invite others to work on posts and tasks there.

Simple Project Management

You have a system that allows you to get to the work quicker. It’s centered on your inbox, where you naturally live.

If you or your team would like help to increase your capacity for work and making your customers happy by being on top of all the tasks and projects that are in your busy business, contact me.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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