Task managers have different ways of converting emails to tasks. See which of these are available for your tool(s):
- Send email to task list. (Recommended.) This is popular for online task managers, and it works from any email app. Tasks are created with all information from the original emails.
- You’ll need to know where to send the emails (a special email address for your account). To make it easy, create a new email contact for this email address and name it “Tasks”.
- You may also be able to process the emails immediately as you send them, using a special syntax in the subject line. Find out how the syntax and print it out to post on your wall, if it is available.
- If you are really fortunate, you will be able to reply to the original email directly from your task.
- Create linked tasks from email. (Recommended, but rare.) Some task + mail app combinations let you create tasks that are fully linked to the original email. This lets you click a single link or button to reply or report that the task is done. The task and email apps must be tightly integrated.
- Manage email as tasks. Some task + mail app combinations let you flag an email or drag and drop it into a folder where it 1) is still an email, but 2) acts like a task, letting you modify it or process it fully in your task list, and 3) you can easily reply to the original email. (Outlook 2010 does NOT do this—it lets you flag emails but does not let you process them, so you can’t manage them effectively.)
- Setup needed. Create a folder or label called “[Action]” for emails that are tasks. Moving the email here creates the task and keeps track of the email at the same time. Or, if the folder/label name is already designated, think of that folder/label any time we refer to the [Action] folder in this training.
- Create task from email. Some task + mail app combinations let you drag and drop emails into your task list. A new task is created from the information in the email. The email is not destroyed (you will still need to file it), but it is not linked to the new task.
- Cut and paste. If all else fails, you can always cut and paste from your email into a new task.
After deciding which option(s) to use, decide what you need to do to save deferred mails.