Getting Started

(Part of our Organize Gmail Into An Effortless Task Manager guide)

Getting Started

Our mission is simple really... we want to give all of us the tools to achieve meaningful happiness.

Our business is making elegant software, infused with proven psychology, to help us absorb the shocks of life and become truly effective.

That begins with getting email under control, to stop being overwhelmed by too many to-dos in your inbox.

Our intro video gives you a complete overview, but in under 2 minutes, we can show the 3 essentials of ActiveInbox.

  1. Never lose an important task in email, using Due Dates
  2. Always get replies, by sending emails at the perfect moment and then tracking them
  3. Stay focused by no longer being overwhelmed. ActiveInbox will break your day into digestible chunks.

Ready? Let's play! First, open an important email in Gmail...

1. Give the email a Due Date

Let's mark it for Today, so it'll stay on your radar.


2. Add it to a project Folder

If an email is part of something bigger, add it to a folder, which simplifies your view of Gmail into just a handful of important things.

For this, let's create a folder called Getting Started.

3. Click Compose or Reply to find out how to track emails that will need a response

When you send an email, click Waiting, and ActiveInbox will remind you to follow up in a few days if they haven't responded.

And to maximise the chance of your email being seen, you can choose to have it delivered at the perfect moment.

Your Today list is unmissable above your inbox

To stop it being overwhelming, you can sort it into manageable chunks (e.g. by project folder, or person) - just click 'Sort'.

And to always know what's next, drag those urgent emails to the top.

Focus fully on a project Folder

No more hunting through 100s of emails, or badly attempting to multi-task. You'll maximise your brain's efficiency by only thinking about one topic at once.

Just choose a project folder from the dropdown above your inbox, and get cracking!

(It also gives you a higher perspective over Gmail, of just a handful of project folders that need to be finished)

Unblock things to move forward

In addition to your Today list, you can review everything that colleagues or customers haven't yet responded to, by clicking Waiting in the sidebar.

Did you notice you can now empty your inbox?

If you want to clear your mind by no longer worrying that things have disappeared into the swamp of your inbox, read on...

Every important task is being tracked by ActiveInbox (using just Gmail labels - if you were to uninstall ActiveInbox, all your organization will still be there), so now you can archive everything until your inbox is empty (don't worry, nothing is deleted - it's still available from 'All Mail' in your sidebar).

Inbox Zero gives you the confidence that everything has been seen, so you can focus fully on getting things done.

ActiveInbox Mobile!

Once you've got to grips with taking control with ActiveInbox, you'll want to be organized wherever you go... well, we have an iOS and Android app just for that!




(Click to find out more)

Who can I speak to for support?

We're real people (meet the team), and answering questions is part of everyone's job here. Lisa's also the one working all day solely to do everything she can to help you out!

If you'd like to discuss any ways we can improve ActiveInbox, or have any other questions, please drop by the Forum. You can also reach us on support@activeinboxhq.com, but we'll answer the forum first (we prioritise it because everything is better when we can all share in the answer!).

I've paid - what do I do next?

All you should have to do is refresh Gmail!

If that doesn't do it, check and try:

  • Check ActiveInbox is installed into your browser. If you cannot see any part of ActiveInbox in Gmail, and it's not in your browser's Extensions/Addons list, please install it.

Can I use it on my mobile devices?

Yes indeed!

Download on App Store Download on Google Play

Can I assign a time to my Due Dates?

If something has a time, it's an event, and is best represented by adding it to your GCal (and GCal will even email you a reminder when it's due).

(If you have a good reason why this isn't the case, please bring it to the Forum and we can discuss!)

Can I set up recurring tasks?

We haven't built this in as a feature yet, but Ronald made a great suggestion on the Forum.

Do you return Due Date items to my inbox when they're due?

We've researched this, tested it, and ultimately decided not to - we believe there's a better way.

We found, during testing 'Return to Inbox', that most people gave something a due date, then when it came back into the inbox, pushed it back out for a few more hours. I.e. they were suffering the stress of something coming into the inbox, not having time to do it (we're very bad at predicting when we'll be free), and then ignoring it rather than doing it.

That stress and bad timing is eliminated just by using a simple Today list. One that lets you prioritize your day's items by moving them up and down, and where your only job is to calmly reduce the Today list to zero. (We do show the Today list above your Inbox though, so it's impossible to ignore).

Can I add Context, Duration, and other meta data to tasks?

Absolutely - check out Custom Tags

Should I be worried that ActiveInbox creates a lot of Gmail labels?

No, there's no limit on how many Gmail labels you can have, and if you use the ActiveInbox sidebar, they're neatly hidden away.

In return, by using Gmail labels are the "database" for all your tasks and projects (e.g. something you're Waiting On just has the !Waiting On Gmail label), the organization you implement with ActiveInbox is available anywhere you use Gmail - even if ActiveInbox is not installed.

We also auto-clean certain labels, like Due Dates...

When you load Gmail it checks all your due-date labels (e.g. ZD/yyyymmdd), and if they're not associated with any emails (i.e. not in use), then they're deleted to minimize the total number of labels in your account.

(Don't worry, there are lots of safety checks to make sure labels cannot be incorrectly deleted).

Can I collaboratively share data with my team?

No -- ActiveInbox is built to the work the same way as email itself, as a single user. (But please come and discuss in the Forum if you want us to!)

What happens if I don't like it, is it easy to uninstall?

Just go into your browser's extension list, find ActiveInbox, and click uninstall. All your organization is intentionally left intact, but you can delete that too by going into Gmail's Settings and removing all status labels (e.g. !Action), project labels (beginning with P/) and deadline labels (beginning with ZD/).