Friday, April 4

Dealing with Inbox - easier said than done.

Written by Delfina (Nozbe Support - CHO - Chief Happiness Officer)

Inbox seems to be an easy and straightforward matter. Although it is one of starting points for a good Getting Things Done system, many turn out to be confused by it. As it lies at heart of GTD methodology, it is essential to grasp it. This aspect is not only Nozbe related, it has to be considered in a wider perspective.


Most frequent problems in using inboxes and some ways to solve them!

I have decided to write about Inbox, because we do get a lot of questions about it, particularly from new Nozbe users. Although I think our long-time users can also benefit from it.

Recently, I received an e-mail from someone complaining that our e-mailing system is obsolete. Why? Because he has to log in between several e-mail addresses and filter down what goes to Nozbe as actionable.

I simply could not understand why one would maintain all those different e-mails separate. For instance, Google mail has a wonderful ability to link other mailboxes, to have them automatically tagged by their origin and also the ability to respond as if you were in fact replaying from the original e-mail address (take a bit of configuring but once set works like a bliss). I do that and it makes my life way easier. I do also know other e-mail systems have this capability as well. Why complicate your own life so much?

Thanks to such options as labels, I get my inbox/es to zero almost every single day. If I had to relog between all of the (3 work related, 3 related to my profession but not work, and 4 private ones) e-mail accounts I would be sure to loose my mind, concentration and plenty of time in the process and of course ability to e-mail tasks into Nozbe would be, as the person implied, obsolete.

Too many inboxes? Simply consolidate!

Most of us, just like Michael have more than one inbox. Many, if not all, have several e-mail addresses, Evernote, tools for reading etc. All of them serve us to collect things in as we go along.

One important distinction between them and Nozbe's inbox is that the latter ought to be used for actionable matters. Other inboxes should serve more as "a place to put stuff".

Forwarding into Nozbe every single e-mail, every single document, every article or whatever else you stumble across is fine, when you do not have much to do and do not mind going though hundreds of junk items just to get to the ones you really should act on. But why not simply optimize yourself? Why not cut down to 3-4 inboxes in total? And use one Nozbe inbox for actionable items only?

Steps to deal with email and physical inboxes:

  • All of the actionable e-mails which come to your priority email inbox - forward to Nozbe - they'll be converted automatically to tasks
  • All of the junk mail. - delete.
  • E-mails that need to be forwarded to someone - simply pass along
  • Rest of the emails - archive - you'll be able to find them later.
  • Finally, paper documents from your physical inbox - process them - decide what to do (scan, destroy, attach to tasks...)

Once in Nozbe Inbox - process each task one by one - move them to appropriate projects or use a 2-minute rule to get the easiest tasks done right then.

At Nozbe, we believe that the higher your number of inboxes, the greater the chance of losing track and drifting off course. The more time you let slip away for unproductive and disruptive matters such as logging in between alternate accounts and searching for items, the less you will have for what really needs doing.

Sharing your inbox is not such a great idea

I get one other question once in a while, that is: "you used to allow for Nozbe Inbox to be shared. Why can't I do it anymore?"

The answer is simple. It was an experiment and some time after we have implemented it, we got lots of feedback telling that it lead to multitude of problems for users. Personally, I really do not think you should share your Nozbe inbox when you do not tend to share your e-mail. Your inbox is your mess - deal with it :-)

If you need to share some tasks from your Nozbe inbox, move them to an appropriate "shared" project.

Even when you do have a series of on-shot actions, they still lead you to something larger e.g. to improving your home. Why not then create a project "household errands" or similar in Nozbe? Letting others into your inbox by sharing it can lead to much confusion, especially when they will start to dump in all their incoming things there as well. Pretty soon you will end up with gigantic, leading-nowhere place, that you can't even clean up without assistance of others. And that is more than counter-productive, wouldn't you agree?

Ok, what's next?

To sum up, just make your own life easier. Do not jump between accounts, when that can be avoided. Do not share what is private - Nozbe guarantees you that. Believe you will end up more clear on what YOU have TO DO, as opposed to distracting yourself with matters that do not directly need your awareness. That all can lead you to be more productive and achieve your goals easier.

Check out our course!

Michael talks about inboxes in lesson 1 of our "10 steps to ultimate productivity" course - make sure to check it out (as well as the rest of our course):

Wednesday, March 26

Apple Store Ginza Event in Japan: Mobility, Collaboration and Inspiration

Hi, it's Michael, Nozbe CEO here. As you might have guessed from my Twitter feed, I'm in Japan now with my wife on a holiday. We are sight seeing Japan: Kyoto and Tokyo. Follow me on Instagram to learn more.

As Nozbe is my job... and my passion... and I'm in a far away country I love I decided to organize at least one Nozbe user event... and the great folks at Apple Store Ginza let me use their venue (fantastic auditorium) for such an event and I'll be speaking there this Friday, March 28. The event's seats were gone in less than 24 hours so I'm happy and humbled to be talking to a full hall of Nozbe users and press from Japan. And I'll be talking about three things:

Mobility, Collaboration and Inspiration

Mobility, Collaboration and Inspiration

  1. Mobility means: All of our Nozbe apps on all the platforms, and our new mobile-first approach with Nozbe 2.0 - and a live demo of an alpha version!
  2. Collaboration means: Communicating through tasks - how we're the only productivity software suite that truly enables this
  3. Inspiration means: Our 10-step course and Productive Magazine! (as well as Productive! Magazine Japan)

... and there will be a "one more thing", too :-)

If you want to know more about this and you live in Tokyo, Japan, I encourage you to visit Apple Store Ginza at 7:30pm local time. We'll try to find a seat for you. If you can't make it, I'll talk more about these three concepts next week on our blog.

For now let me leave you with this: 2014 is going to be an exciting time for Nozbe and our fantastic and productive users... and it will be focused around these three concepts:

Mobility, Collaboration and Inspiration

Are you in? :-)

Thursday, March 20

How to make your ideas happen with Scott Belsky in Productive! Magazine No. 18

I proudly present you the 18th issue of your favorite productivity-boosting magazine:

Productive Magazine 18

Read it on your:

...or simply read it on-line.

This issue's motto is:

(...)productivity isn’t some kind of chore or a means to an end, it’s a beautiful learning experience in and of itself. (Graham Allcott, "Extreme Productivity: 10 key lessons from a human lab rat".)

Scott Belsky on overcoming difficulties and obstacles

I met Scott (as well as Brian Tracy, who was featured in the previous issue of Productive! Magazine) at a conference in Finland. He is a great business leader, investor, and the author of the bestselling book Making Ideas Happen. Check out our interview as we talk about techniques that help inspire and motivate a team and about methods to overcome the resistance set up by bureaucracy, routine, and lack of motivation. You will also get to know what Scott thinks of e-mailing and company meetings.

Great articles

As always, our fantastic contributors prepared a whole set of articles for you. Susan Brennann, Tracy Parks, and Goncalo Gil Mata explore the techniques and good practices that will help you improve the way you work and manage your daily activities. James Tonn writes about weighing the pros and cons of caffeine on productivity, and Graham Allcott tells about the "extreme productivity experiments" he did last year. Laura Stack and {Augusto Pinaud]( shed some light on the way people want to do more stuff in less time and the consequences of this over-productivity trend.

How to charge your productivity batteries

We want to make Productive! Magazine maximally accessible source of inspiration and information. As for now you can read it on your PC, iPad, iPhone and mobile devices with Android.

Read it on your:

...or simply read it on-line.

As always, your favorite productivity magazine is sponsored by Nozbe - your favorite time and project management/collaboration tool for the Web, Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad and Android.

Wednesday, March 5

Advanced Nozbe tip: how to email a comment to a task

As you all know our main tool in work is Nozbe. We use it to plan our blog posts, to track features requested by our users, to develop new versions of our app, to provide customer support, and the list goes on and on...

Because we still live in email...

... we need a way to add tasks to Nozbe with email. We introduced it a while ago and a few years ago improved it: you can forward one email to Nozbe and it converts the subject line to a task name and adds email body to the task as a comment. You can also send several tasks to Nozbe with one email message. Here's the screencast and tutorial.

But let's go one step more...

In our company we track issues reported by customers in Nozbe and you provide us with feedback mainly via email, we started being tired of copying the email body and pasting it as a comment to Nozbe.

We needed to be able to send comments to already existing tasks via email.

We built this feature a while ago mainly for ourselves. As you were sending us more information about your most requested Nozbe features we kept forwarding these emails to Nozbe to their appropriate tasks in our "Features requested" project. Now we want to share with you how to do that - hopefully you'll find it useful as well.

How to email a comment to an existing task?

Here's my quick example that best illustrates how it works. Let say I have a project Michael's birthday party and one of my tasks there is to: Research gift ideas for him:


I already have some ideas stored in Evernote and attached to this task, but I want to go on with the research and add more options. As you may know Michael, our CEO, loves running and I found an awesome book about that. It could be very good gift. I should definitely add it to my task. To do so I need to share above web page via email with my personalized email address (you'll find it in the Settings of your Nozbe app).


Until this moment the procedure is the same as sending a task via email. However now comes a twist.

I need to add an additional parameter to the subject line: #task: TASK NAME

You can see how I'm adding #task: Research gift ideas to my email subject line:


Two things to remember:

  • this parameter can be added instead of subject line or at the end of it. In the latter case the rest of subject line will go to the beginning of the comment
  • another thing is that you don't have to put the entire name of the task like I did: "Research gift ideas". It is enough to write Resea or gift or idea. You only have to be careful that the name you put matches only that one desired task. If it matches other tasks the comment will go randomly to one of them.

And here's the result:

screen 4

Here you can watch the whole process on screencast I recorded for you:


Please note this feature is an experiment and we would like to hear some feedback from you. Maybe you have some ideas how to implement it better? It works for us - hopefully it'll work for you, too. Thanks for getting your things done with Nozbe!

Rafal (Nozbe Product Manager)

Tuesday, February 25

Get your week in motion. Tuesday is not too late. Ask fellow Nozbe users :-)

If you feel overwhelmed and distracted at your work, or maybe as we do, you work from home... and you lack motivation... If you run out of ideas on how to be more productive, you need inspiration, or you just feel you are drowning in emails. Don fret, we are here to help you change your habits, improve productivity and get your things done!

Nozbe offers greart apps, 10-step course, and Productivity! Magazine

Take your to do list digital and sync it across all your favorite platforms and devices, connect Nozbe to Evernote, Drobox or synchronize it with your Google Calendar. Join the community of our happy Nozbe users!

Very impressed with Nozbe so far. Very easy to use and is already getting my projects organized and on track. - Pchanner

My favorite todo app Nozbe releases a version for Linux! Not my platform, but love they are serving all. - Stephen

I love Nozbe! An awesome app for to do lists and getting things done! Syncs across all of my devices. - Daniel

Liking the Google Calendar sync feature in the latest version of Nozbe. Useful and not intrusive. - Robert

We are passionate about productivity in general. With Nozbe you get all the help you need to bring your life under control. Go through our 10-step course (available in English, Spanish, German, Polish and Japanese). Learn to manage your goals, projects, commitments, emails... and have a happy and fulfilled life!

Read our montlhly Productive! Magazine to get inspiration you need and enjoy practical and timeless articles written by the best productivity experts on the Internet.

... and make this week count!

Have a great and productive rest of the week!