Kanban Email

How to turn your Inbox into a personal Kanban

By 2nd March 2018 June 27th, 2019 No Comments

We have already talked about the concept of Kanban in Email, why we think it’s brilliant and why you should be using it right now. If you are convinced and want to finally boost your productivity by turning your Email Inbox into a personal Kanban, this is a must-read for you!


Just to make it stick into your mind, Kanban is a task management system created by Toyota to improve manufacturing efficiency. It consists of multiple lanes in which tasks are organized and moved across. Originally, lanes represented stages along which the tasks were performed. Currently, there are variations such as per topic, per team member or per date.

Kanban has many valuable attributes:
It is visual, bringing a holistic view of tasks across different stages;
– It’s simple, breaking a number of tasks down into smaller and manageable pieces;
– Enhances productivity, allowing sorting and prioritization of tasks;
– It just works.

Proven successful in the automotive industry, it has expanded to several other industries such as:

– Software development – with tools such as JIRA
– Project management – with tools such as Trello
– CRM, – with tools such as Pipedrive.

The concept has not yet been introduced successfully in Email Inbox (why not?). This is exactly what Drag brings.


Basically, a Kanban in your email means you’re seamlessly integrating tasks and messages, so they truly become part of a single process. This saves so much time and makes team communication much much easier.

1. Get your inbox ready!

To make email work as it never has before, you should start by cleaning up your inbox. After all, no one will make use of a board with 43,927 emails.

Delete and archive old stuff and then you’re 95% ready.

Briefly, it means:

  • Useless emails: delete them;
  • Emails that might be still useful in the future: archive them.

Actually, tools and techniques such as Inbox Zero can really put your mind into the right mood and make it work easier. The less information you have to see in your inbox, the most productive you’ll be with the remaining messages — and they are the ones that really matter.

It is critical that you’re not afraid to clean your inbox. You’ll see that once it’s cleaner, everything will flow more naturally. Here at Drag, we say that your inbox is just an intermediate place in which your messages arrive, and then they go to their destination.

2. Set up multiple lists

There are actually two different ways you can use to make your inbox work as multiple lists: the native and the Rockstar ways. Guess which one is the best? Up to you!

The native way

Gmail has a native tool called Multiple Inboxes, you can access it by:

a.     Disable tabs by going to Settings > Configure Inbox and uncheck everything but Primary;

b.     While still on Settings, go to the Labs tab and click on Enable in Multiple Inboxes;

c.     At this point, you should have a “Multiple Inboxes” tab at Settings. Click to configure your new inboxes, and don’t forget to position the panels on the right side of the inbox.

For example, if I am a salesperson, I will be interested in visualizing my emails per stage: “New prospects”, “Contacted Prospects”, “Interested Prospects” and “Closed deals”, where these are labels in my normal Inbox:

d.     In the end, your Inbox will reload and it will look like this:

The Rockstar way

To do it by using the like a boss way, just download Drag Chrome Extension.

And all done! (yes, that’s it!)

Now you can add lists as you want and your emails gain the functionality of being dragged and dropped in any list, in any order.

For the salesperson example above, the Inbox would look like this:

Also, your emails get many other functionalities, such as:

  • Drag’n’drop;
  • Due dates;
  • Notes;
  • Checklists;
  • Multiple boards;
  • Shared boards for teams.

All of it. Right into your email inbox.

3. Everything settled… what now?

There are many different ways you can organize your personal Kanban, it really depends on how you like to see your work organized and what it demands as well.


To be honest, don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning. Some people just don’t work very well with big changes, so maybe you’ll want to start with a simple Todo, Doing and Done board. Then you’ll get the logic of it all, so you can jump right into what suits your needs best.

If you start it slowly, you’ll even see how a personal Kanban in your Inbox can help you through much more than just email. A drag-and-drop system will make everything even easier to be organized, and once you understand what are your priorities, you will save so much time.

And then you’ll be addicted, just like we are. 

What you’ll learn inside Drag

Starting now, we’re aiming to share what our plans are, how we’re doing and what lessons we’re learning along the way.

You’ll get:

  •  Quick videos explaining quick wins and how to grow your business
  •  Live Instagram updates. Real-time stories of what’s happening
  • Just like this article, you’ll get real-time updates on what’s happening, what’s working and how it feels in a startup.

What’s next

This is our attempt at sharing everything. It’s as simple as that You don’t have to be a customer to follow us.

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