This is a “thinker”. I really need your input here!

My feeling is that moving the Review Bar from the side of Gmail to the top helped enormously with the problem of visibility: it’s much harder to ignore the things you are tracking.

Yet I always believe we can still improve the process of getting email done. My concern is that the list of the inbox gets moved to the lists of Statuses & Deadlines, that for whatever reason we can still avoid.

So what problems do you face in “doing” email each day?

That’s a very open question, so if it helps to think about it:

  • Once you’ve set an item to Waiting On, how do you chase it up? Do you do reviews regularly?
  • Do you distinguish between Action & Next? And how do you make sure they get done?
  • Do you prefer Gmail Results or Active Results? If not Active Results, why? Is it too clunky?
  • Would more reminders help? What kind of reminders? Are you tempted to ignore things that aren’t right in front of you?
  • Would you ever start Gmail into a view other than the inbox? (E.g. into your active items)
  • Do you get overwhelmed by how much there is to do in your Review Bar?
  • Do you use Stars as well as labels? What for? Would it help to factor them into the Review Bar?

There’s obviously a great temptation (I just caught myself doing it!) to answer the question in an idealised way: how you like to imagine you’d do it properly. What I’m really keen to understand is the gritty reality of every day.

I’m going to overhaul Active Results this week, so it’s very urgent to get any thoughts in the open so they can factor into our new design.


This was written by Andy Mitchell