Save time by typing action parameters and create your task templates

New important update (31 Mar ’09): The most up-to-date artcile about Email to Nozbe is available here and about Action parameters and the fact that Nozbe understands natural language are here

Nozbe – your favorite Getting Things Done web application will get a great feature-boost these days and the feature we’ll start now is simply…

...a great time-saver for power users – write task parameters and create task templates!

You can now write task parameters (time, date, context, project, etc.) instead of choosing them and create powerful task-templates when you have similar projects happening from time to time.

OK, let me explain from the beginning…

Remember Nozbe to Email feature? Yes, correct – you can send your actions and notes to any email address you wish, it looks like this:

Now, when you receive this email, it will look like this:

Try it for yourself with your own project or next-action list. Now, do you see the parameters of each action next to the action’s name? Let’s have a look at the first action and break it down:

  1. Call Susan
  2. (D today)
  3. (T 15 min)
  4. (@ Phone)
  5. (P Bday-party)
  6. (N)

As you can see these parameters mean the following:

  1. Name of your action
  2. D – stands for “Date”
  3. T – stands for “Time needed”
  4. @ – stands for the context
  5. P – stands for the project
  6. N – is to mark this as my “Next Action”

Now – you can use these parameters if you want to add an action directly in Nozbe, let’s add this action using “new action” button in your Nozbe account, and see what happens:

Please mind that we are not choosing any context or time needed in the boxes below the action name. We are just writing stuff.

Action and task templates

What we’ve just done has been for a single action. You can do the same for more actions, just copy them from your email message:


As you can see from the example above, adding more actions at a time with additional parameters can help you to create action (task) templates.

Just save these templates in your “notes” section in your “inbox” project and if you need to create a project with specific template – just click on the “new project” button later click to “add action” and choose to “add more actions at a time” and paste your action template!

It’s a great time-saver. I’ve already created various task-templates.

Some notes about task parameters:

  • they have to be opened and closed with brackets ()
  • The parameters (T-time, D-date, P-project, @- context, N – Next action) need to be written just after the initial bracket (no spaces) and there should be a space right after them. Examples:
    (@ Internet) is correct, while ( @Internet) is not correct
  • Contexts and projects can be written in upper or lower case, it dosn’t matter
  • To write minutes, use “min” and a space right after the number, you have four different minute lenghts: 5, 15, 30 and 60.
  • To write hours just use “h” right after the number: 1 h, 2 h, etc.
  • You can always mail actoins to yourself to see the real usage of the parameters.

Good luck with playing around with this feature, on Friday there is a bigger enhancement coming based on this very feature, so stay tuned. 

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vance Walker
Nov 23, 2011 16:50

@Jeff, I don’t think you’ve understood the email input method (or I misunderstood you message). You create an address (like TO which you send messages. You can send the messages (actions, notes, etc.) FROM any address or email account.

I wonder if you read Michael’s link (“Email to Nozbe Guide…” above) too quickly. I will be the first to admit there are aspects of Nozbe’s email methods that I wish were different, but it has performed as presented for me.

Hope this helps (more than it confuses).

Jeff Templon
Nov 18, 2011 22:05


As far as I can tell, nozbe will only accept mails from what it knows of you as “your” email address. So you’re stuck if you use multiple addresses (for example one personal one private) ... only one will work. How to fix??

Pablo Castillon
Sep 20, 2010 15:04

Is there a way to specify notes to be attached to the task?

Jeremy Mattingly
Aug 20, 2009 17:38

Is there a way to specify Project Labels using parameters?

Nick Bomford
Aug 7, 2009 10:28

I’m seeing a need for tagging tasks, and being able to load those tags via the multiple task input box and some sort of parameter. Maybe that’s coming in the new version 2?

Apr 1, 2009 10:18

I’ve updated the article, the new Email to Nozbe Guide is available here

Mar 30, 2009 22:39

I am having troubles! How can I e-mail something to me with it going straight into a project and not a note?! I’m trying to figure it out but can’t – please help!

Mar 27, 2009 07:42

Have used Nozbe for sometime, was off for a while (the completed action list is not showing when it was created, but only that when it was completed) and is back now.

Would love to see more status options against an action (cancelled, postponed etc.)

George Garside
Mar 20, 2009 20:12

Fantastic idea, but is there a way of sending tasks without using the brackets and DT@PN bit – eg. “Call Susan” before this weekend. Place this task in the “Phone” project, with the context “Susan”.

Ted Penner
Feb 8, 2009 16:45

I really like Nozbe. Nozbe is definitely the ultimate approach to GTD at least for now. The time and day thing is confusing as heck though, especially when there is no reminder system at least right now. Time ‘required’ to complete a project is a nice touch but is way too easily confused with other types of items. I’m still trying to sort it all out.

Paul Campbell
Feb 1, 2009 09:38

Thanks, Adam – I’ve shared with my team, just starting out with GTD and Nozbe.

Chad Reynoldson
Jan 7, 2009 14:26

Just found this little gem, great feature. However, I was running into formatting issues, where the @ symbol seemed to kill the line ends. If you wrap the @ like this in the note text box: @ you will get the formatted results that you expect.

For example:
Call mom. (@ Phone)
Call dad. (@ Phone)

Adam Masur
Nov 17, 2008 01:29

Hi. I just started using Nozbe today, and this feature works pretty well. I was transitioning all my tasks from my old system to Nozbe, and I decided to make my own “template” in Excel to help me convert tasks. If you want to try the template, it’s posted here:

John Kendrick
Oct 2, 2008 18:23

Yes, I use them all the time and it is another one of those features that sets Nozbe be apart from all the other GTD apps.

Eddie Rodriguez
Sep 26, 2008 23:59

“Tasks templates” are an amazing feature – It’s the one thing I’ve been missing since I stopped using “ACT!” years ago – I used to love their “activity series”.

Jul 27, 2008 08:53

Also, there seems to be an omission in quick actions – there is no “other user” that the task can be delegated to…

Jul 27, 2008 08:26

Heather asked a great question – how can we make this apply for users? Thanks.

Jul 18, 2008 13:14


Thanks for letting me know – I’ve just corrected it – it must have been due to the import from the old to the new blogging platform.

Jul 16, 2008 20:58

The html for this post is messed up where it lists the task parameters.

Jul 16, 2008 13:44

Are you able to assign a task to a user using this template format?

Jun 27, 2008 13:46

Yes, I haven’t tested ALL of the possibilities, but most of the obvious ones should work without a problem – tomorrow, friday, next friday, etc…

John Sembrot
Jun 25, 2008 00:23

I am wondering about the date input. Does the generic input still create the desired format? Can you put (D tomorrow) or (D next week) (D this month) and get the proper date for the action? I am looking to set up dates that are counted forward from a specific date or back from a specific date. I am a realtor, so I am talking about the contract and closing dates. Thank You

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