Email management is a big question and there are probably so many answers that people using Gmail but we can think we all want to be efficient and manage emails smarter. Below the history of Snooze'R app.

Gmail philosophy

There is 2 philosophy with Gmail :

  1. 0 mail in inbox by using archiving and labels
  2. All in inbox, use massively the search to find emails.
To be honest since the beginning of Gmail I did not really organize my emails so we can say I was more a All in Inbox guys. May be I was a little bit lazy but search in Gmail is really amazing and it is faster to find email by search than browsing tons of pages.

Why I change if search is so amazing ? The issue with this way of working is I was obliged to manage a tasks list in a paper, software or whatever to remember the things to do.

For me it is not the smarter way to work with emails and tasks. All the day I'm in front of my mailbox and be obliged to check in another tool for my tassk when I receive a new email to validate if I already planned an action was not convenient.

Conversation mode in Gmail allow me to track history easily, so I just need to have a view of what I have to do.

Personal kanban

That is why I moved to a Kanban style management of my mailbox. The idea is, you arrange your emails in 3 category :
  • In progress
  • Todo
  • Done
These categories were labels in Gmail and when I received an email I put it in the appropriate label.
  • If I have to do something I put it in Todo,
  • If no action is required, I archive the email.
  • When I work on a subject I put it in In Progress
  • When it is done I archive the email and remove label. I didn't have a label Done in fact, not necessary.
Most important rule, you can't have more than 3 tasks in the "In Progress" section at the same time.
 
I think this way of working is interesting if you have to perform tasks day after day by priority. As I'm more on Project management side, one of the issue was, after doing my job, most of the time I'm waiting an answer. In this case I can't keep email in "To do", because I already do my tasks and can't keep it in "In Progress", because I will reach the 3 tasks quickly.
So I have added a label "Waiting". When I'm waiting an answer from someone, or to check few days after if action I made is ok, I put the email in waiting.
 
This way of working was good because :
  • All email was organised as tasks. No need to use a second tool.
  • As I'm always on my mailbox I always have a look to my tasks.
 
The issue I faced with this email management was :
  • After some weeks my waiting label was full and not really usable.
  • If I want to send I reminder to someone to get an answer I had to browse all emails in Waiting. Not really convenient and fast way to work.
 
This was a bit better but not optimal. But after that I was sure I have to find a way to manage my emails as tasks in Gmail and better handle waiting emails.

Google unveils Inbox by Gmail

I was lucky and get since the launch an invitation for Inbox by Gmail. I will not describe the product here but one of the most interesting feature was Snooze function. In inbox you are able to Snooze an email to a specific date. When date occurs the email show up in your inbox as unread.

This was the perfect function I expected for my 2 previous issue. By this way when I snooze an email it is no longer in my inbox and I don't need to search in several mails to find that require action, they show up at the good date.

I was not really convince by Inbox so I didn't continue to use it and it was not compatible with Google Apps account.

After this test I was sure the Snooze function was really my need so if I can't use Inbox I will made my own Snooze.

How I manage my email like tasks with Snooze'R

# The app

From Gmail I can Snooze my email with label. To Snooze an email I just have to move it in a label. By this way the email is archive and will show up at the appropriate date.


I have several labels :
  • Tomorrow : Get reminder tomorrow
  • D+2 : Message will be show up in 2 days.
  • Don't forget : This is a specific label, the email will be show up all next day until you remove the label.
  • Next week : Reminder email will be shown next week, it means monday of next weeks.
  • Next Monday, Next Tuesday, Next wednesday, etc... : Message will be unsnooze this next day. It means if we are Monday and you move email to next thursday it will be shown in your inbox thursday of this week. If we are wednesday and you move email to next tuesday it will be shown in ibox tuesday next week.
  • Last work day of the month and first work day of the month : Simple to understand, the email will be shown last work day or first work day of month. This is usefull as some times you have actions to perform at the end of the month.

# First

You have to become, if it is not already the case, a 0 mail in inbox user.
You also use conversation mode in Gmail.

# Second

All emails received must be read ! I know this can afraid user with 2xxx emails not read but what is the interest to have this number of unread emails in your mailbox. If you don't read these emails move them to trash instead of keeping them in your inbox. You can't delete these emails, mass select them and mark as read in bulk and use archive.

You receive too much emails use filter to move emails in a label (archive it in the same time) and mark as read.

# From now

Since you receive an email :
  • You archive if no action from you are required. There is the search to find this email in the future. If your colleague have to answer, archive and wait answer or Snooze for tomorrow or D+2 to be safe a validate he answer.
  • You have to do something now, keep it in your inbox. If you are not sure to do it today Snooze email to tomorrow.
  • You reply to an email and waiting for an answer, Snooze it for a future date, tomorrow, in 2 days, next wednesday as you want.
  • You write an email and don't want to forget you receive an answer. You can also Snooze a sent mail.
Each morning :
  • Open your inbox and check all the emails not read. This is your tasks of the day.
  • At the bottom the old message, so it is the emails you snooze some days ago.
  • At the top the new messages received during the night.
Manage the unread messages like you want but your goal is to read all of these emails and treat them :
  • If you need to be updated send a reminder and snooze it for a later date.
  • You want to give extra time for answering your email snooze it for tomorrow or D+2.
  • You need some time to treat an email keep it in your inbox. I use an extra rule for this kind of email no more 3 to 5 unread email which have to be treated during the day in may inbox.
  • You have 10 emails read in your inbox, check them and Snooze some of them. Remember you must not have more than 3 to 5 emails read in inbox, there is probably emails quickly read that you forget to archive.

Conclusion

Do I think I better manage my emails ? For sure yes, at work I no longer forget to send a reminder and send a gently reply to a colleague because he doesn't answer to an email from a client.
I'm fully happy with this script and I put it in my personal mail box also.

Does Snooze'R will fit your needs ? As you can read in this page I think for some case it will not be completely relevant or may be sufficient. It will always be useful to Snooze emails but not sufficient for your way or working may be.