If you’re anything like me you get a ton of email everyday and while there are ones that you want to look at and respond to there are a lot that can wait until later in the day to deal with.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get notifications just for the ones that you want and not be bothered for those you don’t? I thought so too so I rolled my own notification setup with Pushbullet and If This Than That(IFTTT).
To make this work you need a Gmail account (it’ll work with a Google Apps account as well), a Pushbullet account, and of course an account at IFTTT.
I set things up in my Gmail account first.
Setup a new label to flag those emails you want to be notified of – I used notify (I know, really original)
Create a filter in your Gmail account to add your new label to emails from the specific address you want to be notified of (I also flagged it to never to be sent to SPAM just to be safe),
After that was done I then switched over the the IFTTT website and setup the recipe I needed.
For the trigger I selected any new email that has a specific label, in this case my ‘notify’ label
For the action I choose Pushbullet and then selected, Push a note.
At this point you can select any ingredients you want, in my case I like to know who it came from, the subject of the email, and the body of the email.
Now you might be wondering why I chose to do filtering and labeling instead of just setting up a recipe based on the email address of the sender. To be honest you can do that but then you have to create a new recipe for everyone you want to be in your notification group, by using filtering and labeling I can better control the flow.
For those that have rooted your Android phone, pick up Light Manager and you can setup the notification LED on your phone to flash when your note comes in. With that setup you can then shut off notifications form Gmail so only the important ones trigger the LED.
If you’re like many the end of January marks the time when you realize that you haven’t kept up with your New Year’s Resolutions.
You haven’t been to the gym in a couple weeks
You’ve already cheated on the diet
That stack of paperwork is still sitting there
Your inbox is still out of control
While I can’t help with everything, your email inbox I can make a suggestion on – slim it down so it doesn’t look as large of a task.
First, I’m not going to suggest that you declare email bankruptcy and just delete everything. I’m also not going to suggest selecting everything and hitting the ‘mark as read’ and ‘archive’ buttons. I’m going to suggest you create an email DMZ that you can work through as time allows.
If use Gmail for your mail among the many features you have available to you is an outstanding search system (go figure). What we’re going to do is create an email DMZ for the year 2012 and then move everything prior to January 1st of 2013 into it.
First thing you need to do is create a new label for your DMZ, I would suggest 2012 DMZ as we’re looking to create a place for our left over 2012 emails to go. Once you have your label set up you need to then use the powerful search available to you in Gmail and grab all the emails prior to January 1st. As it turns out it’s a single search option with the right data point:
As you can see in the screen capture above the trick is to use the “before” option in the search. When you use this option it’s important to not the way the date is entered – four digit month first, two digit month, and then the two digit day. For a lot of folks that format is not what you’d expect and takes a bit to get use to but once you do it’s a rather powerful way to write the date (more on that in a later post).
Once you get the search results back you can apply your DMZ label and then archive the whole shooting match out of our Inbox.
I can hear you screaming at me now, “you said we wouldn’t archive all that email!” Ok, you got me, yes we did archive it out of your inbox but at this point it’s also all tagged with a label so you can find all of those emails in one place, a listing you can work through. Of course you may just decide to leave them all there and not touch them again – that’s a choice you’ll need to make yourself.
Do you use a DMZ for email or do you just declare bankruptcy and delete everything?
If you’re like me you have a multitude of email addresses, some you use for personal items, some for work, some for specific groups, and, well, you get the picture. You also most likely have put them into different contact groups to make emailing them easier – I’ve done just that but the trick that eludes many is how to set the email address for a given contact group. Here’s how.
Head over to your contact screen – its available from the Mail drop down
Select the contact you want to edit (I selected my own contact entry)
Select the contract group you want to adjust the email address for and select the appropriate one.
The changes you make are automatically saved and you’ve just made your friend or associate happy by making sure the emails you send to that group go to the right email address.
The last few weeks have been pretty thin around here for postings and the main cause for that is I actually took a vacation. So I spent the first part of August getting the desk at my current employer cleared off (not an easy task when my boss took the first two weeks of August off) and then moved the family into a new home – which leaves little time for my online pursuits.
Well, now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and as I’ve started plowing through the hundreds of emails and RSS articles the notification that Gmail’s Priority Inbox was available to me to try out popped up in my tool bar. Let me say if you have not checked out this new feature you should – it’s a great tool.
Here’s a short video from the folks at Google to explain it:
The default settings work quite well and for most folks will work just fine but I have a tendency to let some things sit – they don’t need a response or action any time soon but I don’t want to archive them into oblivion so they sit in my inbox and eventually get buried. I know, I know, that’s not very GTD like but hey, we all fall off the bandwagon once in a while (ok, I’m about 50/50 – but I’m improving). So in order to work through the huge backlog I have it sift things just a bit by making a small change in the section set up:
I added a section that gives me just the unread items in my inbox, 10 at at time. This allows me to work through the backlog I have without seeing all the read items that need me to make some decision on at the top of my reading list. I know that it is better to take action on an item immediately so that you can get it off your mind but I trust that I’ll get back to the item eventually (it’s not critical or important otherwise I would do it) so it can sit in my inbox – I just don’t need to be constantly reminded of them as I work through everything else.
So, give the new Gmail Priority Inbox a try – it works well.