One Awesome Place to Capture Your Tasks

Brian Barela

Your email inbox is a great place to capture tasks on the go. Even if you have 9,000 current unread messages.

A few reasons to consider emailing yourself your tasks:

  • 99.9% of people that I know in ministry use email. Less than 50% of (more like 20%) use some sort of task management tool consistently and efficiently.
  • It’s next to impossible to ignore your inbox for an extended period of time.
  • It’s extremely convenient to email yourself, especially if you have a smartphone or iPod touch. So many tasks I “remember” at an awkward time. Email provides a temporary place to capture and hold a task until I can get back to it and give it the time it deserves.
  • It feels really good to delete emails and check off completed tasks. Using email for task management taps into both of these!

Becoming proficient at task management is all about getting over that initial hump and making it a habit, not just an occasional exercise in frustration. Although I have a robust system for managing my tasks, emailing myself tasks often gets me through times when I’m extremely busy or burnt out on keeping my system going.

This is what inspires me to keep working on task management: “A person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them externally. That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks.” – Wikipedia Article on Getting Things Done.

By Brian Barela | Posted: Jan 26, 2011
Category: Time & Task Management | Tags: , , | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.


  1. Kirk Springer
    January 26, 2011, 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I send text messages to my email (I don’t have a smart phone). It’s limited to 137 characters, but that’s enough to serve as a reminder until the next time I check email.

  2. January 26, 2011, 9:38 pm | Permalink

    hey kirk that’s a great suggestion. will definitely pass that on!

  3. January 26, 2011, 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Love it. I thought I was the only one that did that (and I have 3000 unread messages in my inbox!).

    Especially like the concluding 2 paragraphs – I’m definitely going to use this at staff meeting with my team this next week.

    • January 27, 2011, 7:14 am | Permalink

      ha ha. for a while i felt guilty doing it, like i was going backwards in managing my tasks, except i noticed i was getting a lot more things done!


  4. Scott Bartelt
    January 26, 2011, 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done this a lot Brian, but currently I am loving my Evernote program, you really can use it to “remember everything”

    • January 27, 2011, 7:16 am | Permalink

      agreed on the power of evernote Scott!

      i just live out of my inbox these days, and still have to reach out to evernote. now if evernote integrated into gmail the way Rapportive does….that would be amazing.

  5. January 27, 2011, 8:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with the need for proficiency in task management, but I will disagree with that being in the Inbox. =D That is because I think people are overwhelmed by their Inbox and as a result let things slip and avoid their Inbox.

    We are moving all our staff to Google Apps, including their email, so that we can employ task management software to complement it like GQueues and Manymoon. Totally agree with the quote about moving the tasks out of mind to free it up to finish present tasks.


One Trackback

  1. By When Was The Last Time You Took a Mind Dump? on February 4, 2011 at 10:47 am

    […] week I posted about using your inbox to capture and manage your tasks. I recommend emailing yourself a mind-dump, but storing it somewhere visible or easily accessible […]

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