Skip to main content

Why you should use your Email as a To Do list

By January 19th, 2023No Comments
email to do list

In our business lives, regardless of the nature of our tasks, most of the time they start and end as emails. However, although emails and tasks work so close to each other, there are a lot of articles online advising people to stop using email as a To-Do list.

Nowadays, many people still prefer to use note-taking applications, such as Google Keep or Evernote, or a list app like Wunderlist or Todoist. But what if you can eliminate this kind of tool and just use your inbox?

Today, we will share the reasons why you should start using your email Inbox as a task manager right now.

How many of your emails are tasks and vice versa?

Have you noticed that regardless of the nature of your day-to-day activities, they mostly start and end in email? Many tasks require using email to communicate with someone else. Also, many emails require tasks to be accomplished. For example, if you are:

Closing a deal? You will definitely send emails:

  • To introduce your product or service
  • To schedule a demo/call/meeting
  • Or to share a contract

Helping your customer with a problem? You will certainly:

  • Receive an email with a customer complaint
  • Send an email with instructions
  • Receive an email back with a rating for your customer support

Trying to raise money? You will definitely:

  • Exchange emails internally with a pitch deck
  • Send pitch decks (by email, of course) to potential investors
  • Receive emails with the decision to go/no-go from investors

No matter what, it’s unavoidable: email is still the most used business tool. That’s why thinking about using just an email app for both totally makes sense.

Why not keep emails and tasks together?

Although emails and tasks work so closely together, there are a lot of articles online advising people to stop using email as a To-Do list. Quick research can make you realize that most defenders of this idea are Task Management tools. We strongly disagree with that, and we will tell you why.

At Drag we have always believed that an Inbox can be more than just a place where you exchange emails. It also can be where you manage your entire workflow. And the main reason is very simple: it keeps all the processes centralized and organized in just one place. There is no reason to add extra steps, layers, tools, tabs, or channels while handling your day-to-day task list. That’s why we believe that an inbox can be enough.

But the problem is that traditional email layouts are not designed to be To-Do lists. The result is that… well… a short time ago the way some us had of organizing To Dos was not something to be proud of…

Compose email screenshot with list of tasks

Also, to signalize that an email contained tasks to be done, some people used the flagged email feature, and they would just come back to that message to check what they were supposed to perform on.

The good news is that it’s possible to use your Inbox as a To-Do list with specific tools that integrate inside your email client. 

email to do list

With something like this, you can forget about using a notes app or a To-Do app or even email yourself with a list of tasks. 

Why you should use your Inbox as a task manager

There are some good reasons why you should use your Inbox as a To-Do list :

1. Save time by centralizing your workflow in a single place

It doesn’t matter if a task came from your emails or you had to create it. A task is a task. Let’s analyze two scenarios.

When a task stems from emails: You don’t get the logic of selecting an email, sending it out to a different tool as a task or list of tasks, then performing the tasks and… guess what? Going back to your Inbox because that Email needs to be replied to.

This back and forth slows you down and makes you lose precious time, that you should be spending on another important task, for example.




When a task does not stem from email: You might ask yourself “what about the tasks that have nothing to do with my email?â€. True, some tasks are independent of emails. But is it necessary to have a To-Do list for non-email-related tasks and another one for email-related-tasks? Of course not. The good news is that it is also possible to add independent tasks seamlessly into your Inbox when you have the appropriate tool.

gmail to-do list2. Visualize your To-Dos better

By visualizing your emails and tasks altogether, you can quickly and easily identify the tasks required from the emails you receive and vice-versa, avoiding duplication or overlapping of To-Dos and improving the clarity of your tasks.

Besides that, nobody works with a single type of task or email. People work across different topics, clients, projects, teams, time frames, etc. Both emails and tasks are multi-dimensional. And if you don’t organize them properly, your life will potentially become a mess. So why should your task manager be unidimensional? Task management tools should not be based on single lists.

To improve even more the visualization of your workflow, applying the proven Kanban layout to both emails and tasks is highly recommended. Kanban is a way of managing tasks in a lean way. it allows you to visually map your workflow (created by Toyota to streamline task management in manufacturing).

Today, there are major successes in software tools that use Kanban methodology to change the way things have currently been done. Trello brought the concept successfully for Task Management, Pipedrive for CRM, and JIRA for software development.




3. Manage what you need straight on the source

Many people rely on external Task Management apps because they bring productivity features that traditional email providers don’t. The traditional email layout does not allow you to add tasks, set due dates in Emails, add notes, send reminders, and many other handy features.

But it is possible to do that to both emails and tasks, right inside your Inbox. There is no need to spend time exporting an email to a different tool just to be able to apply management features in tasks.

4. Never lose any important information

By centralizing your emails and tasks in your Inbox and having a universal task management process, it gets much easier to keep your Inbox up to date and apply actions to your emails as they come (whether it be archiving, replying, drag-drop to another Kanban column, labeling or any other action).

This means you can be more responsive and get things done right there in your Inbox, in a more productive way. You will never lose focus on your Tasks because of Emails and never lose focus on your Emails because of Task Management apps. An Inbox Zero means a To-Do Zero, can you imagine that?

5. You can have shared lists and delegate tasks

Email to-do list

When you work in a team, usually you have to share information all the time, and assign tasks, that would probably be forwarded to other emails. Task Management tools inside your email offer mechanisms so you can share every task you need simply, for example just mentioning them.

In summary…

Using your Inbox as a Task Manager is a very effective way of managing your daily To-Dos. Being able to centralize your tasks in a single tool, better visualizing your workflow, applying actions straight to Emails, and keeping on top of incoming information is paramount for the productivity of any professional.

Turn Gmail into a to-do list.

Drag turns Gmail into your Team’s Workspace – One single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love: Gmail. We are a Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.

Try Drag for Free
Duda Bardavid

Author Duda Bardavid

More posts by Duda Bardavid
Close Menu