GTD Gmail Filter Tricks
by Hunter Haugen
One of my favorite blog posts of all time on Gmail GTD techniques is this one by Neil Dixon (Edit: Link is dead. Use this blog post instead). Using this technique means that if I want to manage a todo list in combination with my email GTD workflow, I have to check two places to see my task list (even if I’m using the task list built-in to Gmail). How can I combine my email GTD with my todo GTD into one place?
A quick tip about a gmail feature that is not well known. You can append +anything to the end of your username for any Gmail or Google Apps domain and it will still be sent to you. For example, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org can be turned into email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To integrate my Gmail GTD workflow with an email-driven todo list, I should theoretically be able to have any single email sent “from me to me and only me” be archived and labeled @action. Gmail filters don’t currently have a way to filter based on “to me and only me,” so I improvised.
Create an email filter for “to:email@example.com” (or whatever) to auto-archive and apply your @action label (and optionally a “Todo” label via a second filter), and send an email to this address with your one-line todo sentence in the email subject line. Thereafter, when composing an email you should be able to type “todo” into the To: line and hit <tab> and have it complete for your Todo list.
Protip: If you have keyboard shortcuts enabled and are viewing your @action emails, you can use ‘y’ to remove the @action label without removing the Todo label, essentially marking it “complete.”