Hello everyone!

One of the things at the top of our mind recently has been “how can we do more to help you get things done“?

I’m going to share a few of our ideas (some of them from the forum – thank you!), and there is a poll for you at the end…

Keyboard Shortcuts

To speed up processing your email, and make ActiveInbox more efficient to use, we’re proposing to do keyboard shortcuts.

But rather than Gmail’s “invisible” shortcuts (where you have to know what ‘k’ will do), we’d want it to be more like Alfred/Quicksilver/Spotlight on the Mac, where a typing-box appears for you to rapidly enter commands.

Focus Timer

You’ve built up a big list of Actions to be done, but now that’s intimidating, and you avoid the list because it’s large.

What we want to do is “bite size chunks” – so you click a Start button, say you want to do “5 emails in 10 minutes”, and ActiveInbox hides all distractions in GMail, and shows a timer to keep you focused until you’ve completed the task (or run out of time).

Chomp through your to do’s, one bite at a time.

Weekly Review Reminders

Weekly Reviews have two benefits: they give you a chance to ensure your lists are accurate, so you can trust in your system (e.g. clear out completed Action items, re-deadline Overdue items); and they give you the confidence that you’ll tackle your email once a week.

But they’re hard to remember to do. We rarely have the chance to make a big time commitment.

We’re thinking that a simple list of “Weekly Review” tasks, with the last time you completed them, might help remind you to get back on the wagon.

Browse Deadlines On Mobile

On most mobile/tablet clients, your status items (e.g. Action) are easy to access. But it’s much harder to check Today, because it’s a mental burden to remember which label represents today (it’s ZD/20130923).

We could create a magic pair of labels, !Today and !Overdue, that ActiveInbox automatically turns date labels into.

So, on mobile, you could just pop into your Today list.

Highlight Today/Overdue Emails in Gmail

This is very simple, but we can visually make Today items really stand out, so anytime you’re scanning a list, they really grab your attention.

Show Previous Emails When You Reply

This was an old feature that got removed during a Gmail change.

When you went to reply, it will instantly show you recent conversations & outstanding tasks with the person you’re replying to, so you can eaisly write a more informed response.

Send Archive & Move Next Button

This button would simply keep you on rails as you reply to emails, with one click it would send the reply, archive the thread and move you to an older email.

Archive Old Projects

One problem that starts to affect people who’ve built up a list of projects is that the important ones get lost in the noise.

The best solution is to keep your list of projects small, and this can be done by clearing out the cruft.

We could add an easy means to archive the old projects out the way.

Want to have your say?

Choose what’s most important to you in the Getting Things Done in ActiveInbox Poll.


This was written by Andy Mitchell



  • Nathan says:

    These are tough ones to choose from but I’d say you have them exactly in the order of priority that I’d be interested in these features — except Keyboard shortcuts, they probably would be amazingly useful in this way but I’d probably bump that down the list a bit for me personally.

    Otherwise I’d say the next three in order on the post would be the ones I’m most interested in — the gamification of processing a block of emails is something I find really helpful when I take the effort to do it, so having something built in that would pop up from time to time and encourage me to do that would be great.

    And the weekly review (or maybe even more frequently) would be a huge value — would this be something that is sent to you via email or how do you see that working?

    Having mobile access to today/overdue would probably help a lot because I don’t look at that info as much as I would like — getting away from the computer to read things is helpful but then I lose that important list of things I should be looking at.

    Thanks for always improving things!

  • Andrew Gross says:

    Concerning archiving old projects, I would think users would need a way to indicate where they can archive projects to instead of a default hierarchy; esp to help automate what projects were completed in a particular month, quarter, year, etc.

  • AngPeregrino says:

    +1 for Focus Time and Weekly Review Reminder.

  • Frank Heienn says:

    +1 for Focus Time and Weekly Review Reminder. Not sure how much it helps but I sure want to see it. Concept is great.

    +1 Archive projects. Managing projects would be perfect. List for me is already 50+ projects. 80% is inactive.

  • Charles Heckscher says:

    I would like to be able to say,”remind me of this item in two days and when you do, make it top priority”. Currently I can look at top priority items, or ones due in two days, but to get both at once is hard.

    • Francesco Ragazzi says:

      +1 for this feature. Being able to set a time and a priority level (at the same time) in advance would be really helpful.

    • Frank Heienn says:

      Would be an awesome feature although I am not sure if it should be like this. As some items never will become top prio but raise in priority in time. That is also what I raised to Andy, IMHO ActiveInbox should work with (optional) prio levels. As a waiting on task can also become high prio in time. So then you would say Prio low (today) > Prio Top (next week). That ActiveInbox auto raises day by day the prio based on this. But also Prio medium (tomorrow) > Prio High (1 month).

      In this way the task list automatically becomes dynamical based on priority in time. If the tasks for this week have a max prio Low then you can define that you don’t have enough tasks 😛
      And if all of them have prio Top, that you have too much to do (or plan wrong)

  • susanpenter says:

    I would have to say my priority from the given list is to archive old projects when you have finished with them (but to be able to choose to use z/ rather than old/ to put them at the bottom of the list) and also the weekly review reminder. The ideal system to archive would for instance involve doing a weekly review and being reminded that a project has had no actionable items for say a month (or whatever you set) and would you like to archive it as you can’t always know when you complete an item that there won’t be another within a day or two so archiving it upon completion of the last actionable message may be premature. Having said that highlighting today deadlines is also very important. I feel the focus timer and keyboard short cuts would the my least utilised.

  • Ivan says:

    +1 Focus Time
    +1 Archive Old Projects
    +1 Browse Deadlines on Mobile
    +1 Highlight Today/Overdue

  • Paul Tortolani says:

    It would also be very interesting to attach a file to an e-mail.

    File from Google Drive, PC or other …

  • Frédéric says:

    +1 Weekly Review Reminders
    +1 Focus Time
    +1 Archive Old Projects

  • Kirk Craig says:

    +1 browse deadlines on mobile.
    how else can you work on what’s due?

    also, I wish compose self skipped the inbox…seems to defeat the purpose…or can I make a filter for that?

  • BradCouper says:

    Can I pick them all?

    No, seriously though, these 3 would be the great ones in my opinion (and they are in order):
    +1 Browse Deadlines on Mobile
    +1 Show Previous Emails (and tasks) In Reply – this one I really miss as it gave the opportunity to sum up a few things into a single email is required.
    +1 Weekly Review Reminders – this would be gold, but as long as it presented the emails/tasks in a single screen so I could just power through the review & reassign labels or dates.


    • jDeppen says:

      These are my exact 3 as well.

      Weekly Review Reminders would be helpful (depending on implementation) but I do have that as a recurring event on my calendar already.

  • Christian says:

    These are all great ideas and features, BUT my #1 is an improved “Export Email to another service”, which has been listed as a “coming soon” feature for a very long time. Why isn’t it on this list?

    That said, +1 for mobile, weekly review, and the focus timer. I’ll need to think more about how to prioritize those.