Add Notes in Gmail (and never read an email twice!)

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

Learn how to add notes - both to summarize long discussions, and to list Sub Tasks for how to finish it - to any conversation in Gmail.

Have you ever returned to a long conversation and sighed at having to re-read it yet again?

Well that's what Sub Tasks solve, giving you a simple set of steps that all you have to do to close off the conversation's task. They're like smooth rails to glide through your day.

They're much more actionable than the email subject, which is not always written by you, and rarely stays relevant after 10 replies.

Adding Sub Tasks

Click the email's subject, or the button next to it, and you can add sub tasks.

Seeing the Sub Task when you return

The next Sub Task on your list will be shown in place of the subject, and it stays with you as you scroll through the conversation.

Find emails by next Sub Task (not email subject)

Because email subjects are so often irrelevant, ActiveInbox instead shows you the next Sub Task for every email and task in your Today list and project Folders. It makes it much easier to scan, prioritise and choose.

How to summarize long conversations into a Note

Just like a Sub Task, click the 'Add Sub Tasks/Notes' button, enter the note, and save it. If you want to link to relevant data into other tools (e.g. an Evernote, or a Trello card), just add the URL to the Note.


Re-order, remove or mark Sub Tasks as complete

  1. Open an email which has Sub Tasks associated with it
  2. To re-order Sub Tasks, hove the pointer over the right hand side so the three vertical dots appear, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the Sub Task into its new position
  3. To remove a Sub Task, hover the pointer over the right hand side where the three vertical dots are and then left click the red dustbin icon
  4. To mark a Sub Task as complete you can either hover over those three buttons again and select the tick or return to your Review List and left click in the empty circle next to the Sub Task to mark it as finished.

Did you know? You can choose to have the Sub Tasks in the sidebar instead

Just go into ActiveInbox's Preferences, and toggle Show Sub Tasks and Notes button alongside the email's subject (or, depending on your version of ActiveInbox, possibly Align Sub Tasks & Notes View Horizontally).