Saturday, August 10, 2013

An answer to my email prayers.

Oh, Boomerang...

How have I not discovered you before? I am so passionate about productivity hacks, yet you have eluded me for over a year!

Boomerang offers many neat features:
  • Schedule emails to be sent later (no more emails to a prospective employer revealing that I was doing emails at 3am!)
  • Mark a message to return to your inbox later
  • Write reminders to yourself to appear at a particular time
  • Request read receipts
And my personal favorite...
  • Remind you to follow up if they don't respond
This last feature is huge for me. Sending reminders is nothing special if you have a decent task management system, but the followup tracker is perfect and simple.

 I have long used OmniFocus to track emails to followup. You just never know when that message will fall through the cracks for someone else; when you're on top of the ball (even when that ball is in their court), it looks good and often saves you from firefighting later on. If you ever do management, this tool is a godsend. If you ever need something done and don't want to waste mental energy remembering to check on whether it's done, this tool will free your mind.

The flow to track emails in OmniFocus was never very good. While I could tie the OF reminder to my email, I could not tie my email to the OF reminder. So if the person was on top of their game and did respond in a timely fashion, I might forget to delete the OF reminder. How often I would receive a followup reminder a couple days after they had already replied, and I would waste time figuring out if a followup was actually necessary. Further, while the flow was streamlined, it did require an extra 30 seconds of setup, so I was not consistent about creating reminders.

I had been thinking about writing a browser extension to fix this problem. It would have waited a year or so while I continued to learn the fundamentals of programming and API. Then a simple blog post on Toggl clued me into Boomerang.

Now it all lives in my Gmail inbox. AMAZING. You can get a followup reminder if there's no reply, if it's not clicked, if it's not opened, or regardless. A simple checkbox and you're done.

Get it. Do it now. You will be so much happier that you did.

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