Customizing your workflow, for more control

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

One of the main reasons that task managers rarely truly work for people is because everyone’s work flow is slightly unique.

With ActiveInbox, even though we try to keep you safe by hiding the fact when you first use us, everything is customisable.

By default you can add the following meta data to emails: Due Dates, Lists and Folders. We call these ‘Metadata Types’, and you can add any Metadata Type you want.

Examples of what you can do

  • If you follow David Allen's GTD, you might want to create a Metadata Type called Contexts, which means you'd be able to tag your tasks as for the Office, or the Car, or Home (a context is an environment in which you'll do the task). You can view all tasks for a given Context, such as Home, or sort your Today list and folders by Context.
  • Do you share one email address for sales or support in your company? Or perhaps you help your boss as an Executive/Personal Assistant? You can take ownership and delegate by creating a Metadata Type called Users, then create an entry for each team member. You can view all tasks assigned to you, or break up your Today list and project Folders by the person responsible.

How to add a Metadata Type

  1. Open Preferences

  2. Click ‘Custom Types’ in the sidebar

  3. Create a new one

    The important thing to know is that in ActiveInbox, all your organisation (e.g. a Due Date or project Folder) is just a Gmail label. And to recognise the correct labels, ActiveInbox stores a prefix for each Type, and finds all labels that start with that prefix (e.g. all Folders start with P/).

    So when you create a new Type, you enter a name for it, and then a prefix. E.g. in the example above, you might create a Metadata Type called Users with the prefix U/. If you then create a user called Andy, behind the scenes it would have a Gmail label called U/Andy

  4. Refresh Gmail

  5. Create your first item

    Create the ‘Tag’ dropdown, and then click + to add a new one.

  6. Add an email to that Metadata Type

  7. Review things of that type

    You can review Metadata Types from above the inbox. Or sort your your Today list and project Folders by them.