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GTD Email Set-up with Gmail

July 28, 2009

colored lablesAs I stated in my last post developing a GTD system that works for you is the key I am convinced after studding GTD and those that use it over the last year or so that no two people do it the same way and that my friend is the beauty of the system. I am going to walk you through the steps I have taken over the last year to get to the system I have to day which I think functions very well for me right now but first a plug for David Allen and his staff. As I said I went to a free 1 hour seminar given by David Allen at the CSUCI School of Business in Camarillo, CA that peaked my interest prompted me to get the book from the library. After reading the book and beginning to implement the GTD methodology I went to one of the David Allen GTD Mastering Workflow seminars in LA and that is where I really got a firm grasp of what GTD really is. If I could give you two pieces of advice when it comes to GTD it would be A) go to a seminar and B) just get started. The seminar is well worth your time and money it was very practical and it’s taught by people that live GTD everyday of their lives. If you are serous about getting started with GTD it is well worth the time and money to go to one of their training sessions. As for just getting started I found the best way to get started is just to start.

As I think back now I really got started after the first time I heard David at the college, that very next day when I got into the office and cleaned up my email inbox. I receive a fair amount of email everyday and like you some is important and some is not, the problem is up till I started using GTD they were always in the same place. I am not going to tell you where to start but let me say that getting my email under control was an amazing feeling and to have a system in place to be able to find what I need when I need it or to be able to look at what I want based on context not content was huge for me. Now to the nuts and bolts of how I set up my email system and in future blogs I will get into other areas of my GTD system. First let me tell you a little about my life and what I had to be able to overcome while implementing GTD. As I stated I am a Husband, Father, Youth Pastor, have my own PC support business and I’m the Information Technology manager for a software company. I have an office for work, one at home and one at the Church. I have a computer in each office and a Mac Book that I take every were I go and I use a BlackBerry Storm (I wish I had an iphone but I hate att), and I use Google apps for all my email needs. So the challenges were I needed to have my emails and list where ever I was, and I had to be able to review and add to those lists without some complicated system. As it worked out for me Google apps and Jott were the perfect fit

So here is how I set up my email system first thing I did was a forwarded all my email address to one account. Then I set up my email labels in my Gmail account

Then I created contacts based on those label names and a cool thing Google lets you do you can create an alias with your user name + whatever you want so for agendas the contact name is Agendas and the email address would be emailaddress+ag@gmail.com I used a dot where Google says use a + so you can try it either way and see what works for you. I did this for all 12 of my groups. Then I created a filter that says if an email to emailaddress+ag@gmail.com come in skip the inbox and apply label @ Agendas.

This does two things for me 1) I have a List to store all my Agendas on that I can move emails that I receive to and 2) now I can compose a new email to agendas with a subject of Jim and in the body of the email put whatever information I need to talk to him about and send it to myself and bam it’s on my list.

The next thing I did was set up the Gmail app on my Storm so that I can not only access my email from the storm but I can also access my entire set of list. So if I am out running errands I can open that list on my phone and see all that I need to pick up.

Finally I set up my Jott account with the same contacts and email address so I can then call my Jott account say agendas and send a message directly to the Agendas list without hassle.

Now I have all my list available to me were ever I am I can see them and update them easily and quickly.

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