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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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I typically have (well, had) about 200 emails in my Inbox, which was just as a result of trying to keep on top of things that I needed to do at some point in the future. Predictably, the box kept growing. No matter how fast I swept away the other 200 or so emails that came in over a week, the original stash never went down. I also missed quite a few things due to not having a system. Today, however, my Inbox looks somewhat different. In fact, there's no privacy violation if I post a screenshot:

An empty Inbox

Yep, zero. 0 emails. Nada!

Instead, I converted them into a task list using a nifty system called Producteev. Here's how it works.

  1. Sign up for an account at
  2. Forward emails to modifying the subject to include a due date and time (eg. #12/19/2010 4pm or Tomorrow 3pm), an importance rating (1* to 5*)
  3. This adds it to your task list with the original message as the attached note.
  4. You can then set up task sync to an android phone using Astrid, or an iPhone using the producteev application
  5. Day to day, you can get a list of your tasks by either going online or emailing with the subjectline "/today" (no quotes)

I really like this concept because it works from in my Inbox, which is where I typically work. I've had a few problems (been using it for about 2 weeks now) with duplicate entries coming up, but this is hardly a big deal. Best of all, it's free for small scale users such as myself. If you want multiple people to use it for project management, they have paid plans. Quite frankly, though, I'd pay for this as it is.

Neutrality disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Producteev, I just really like their software!