If you're like most people, you get lots of email. And many of those emails require you to take action. It can be tricky to keep track of them all.
So let's go over how to use Things to handle all that email, so you feel in control of your inbox and so that no emails or related tasks will slip through the cracks.
An alternative In the video, I demonstrate how to use Mail to Things to get your items from your email inbox to Things. This works great if you're using the web version of Gmail, for example, of if you're using Apple Mail.
But there are email clients that support sharing your emails directly to Things. One such app is Spark; another is Airmail.
For example, if you're using Spark, you can open Preferences, then go to Services, and then enable Things 3. Then, when you're viewing an email, you can click the ellipsis at the top of the screen and share the email directly to Things:
Lesson transcript: [00:00:00] For many people, the email inbox is a big source of to dos. So perhaps your boss emails you a task and says, I want you to do something by a certain time or a friend emails you asking you about something. Hey, can you go on this trip? Can you go check out these things before we go? Something like that. And anyway, you get emails and those emails require you to do something.
[00:00:22] So you want to have to dos for these emails in Things because a lot of people use their email inbox as an informal to do list. You know, you keep the e-mails that you have not yet handled as unread or you keep the e-mails that you've not yet handled in your [email] inbox and you archive the other ones. But now that you're using Things 3, we want to make sure that your Things is the central source of truth. Things should have all the things that you need to do. You shouldn't have Things 3 and then a parallel, you know, or like an additional to do system in your e-mail inbox that doesn't match Things. We don't want that. So we want to create tasks in Things for every email that you get that requires you to do something.
[00:01:01] Now, you could, of course, go through your emails one by one and create corresponding to dos in Things. And that's a valid way to do it. But in this video, I want to teach you an easier way to do it, or at least an alternative way to do it that a lot of people like. Now I'll teach you how to do that. So let's start there.
[00:01:20] When I open Things and go to Things and say preferences, go to the Things Cloud tab and just make sure that Things Cloud is enabled—you may have to create an account if you don't have an account yet. Then there is a section here called Mail to Things. You just click manage there and make sure this checkbox is checked. So that Mail to Things is enabled. And if it is, you'll get this private email address and e-mails that you sent to this address will show up as to dos in your Things inbox. So you can do that with an e-mail that you send yourself for when you don't have access to the Things app on iOS or macOS. Or you could forward an email that you got from someone else to Things. So let's see how that works.
[00:01:58] I click copy address, click done. I'll open my Mac mail. So I've gotten—I e-mailed someone about a voice coaching workshop that I'm interested in perhaps doing for my [public] speaking club. And I need to reply to this guy. So let's go ahead and forward the e-mail that this guy sent me—forward it to that address. I'll hit Command V to paste the Mail to Things address. And as you can see this is the address right here. I just created a contact entry in my contacts app and I'll go ahead and click send and I'll take a little while usually to actually show up in Things. Well, that was actually quite fast. There we go.
[00:02:36] So now as you'll see the the whole task of the whole email got forwarded and the e-mail is in the notes section and the subject line became that title of this task. So now we have this email—we have a to do in Things to handle this email and you can go ahead and then just change it so I can say reply to Joep the voice coach. So that's something that I need to do. And I can go ahead and drag it to a certain project, but I'll just leave it in the inbox for now.
[00:03:09] And by the way, in this video, you might see that I've already got some areas and projects set up there a little bit different from some of the other videos. That's because in a lot of the other videos, I use sort of a demo Things 3 setup to teach you how to do stuff, but to demonstrate the Mail to Things functionality I had to turn Things Cloud on on my Mac and Things Cloud populated the Things on my Mac with the actual things that I need to do—my actual Tthings database. So that's why I may look a little bit different in this video, but shouldn't be a problem. So you could do that. You can also go to the mail app and just send yourself an empty email and be like—to the mail to things and like buy groceries. Right. Just hit send. And that will also show up in your inbox momentarily.
[00:03:54] So this is a great way, if you get lots of e-mail and a lot of things you need to handle and you find it overwhelming—just start forwarding all of your emails to Things and we'll talk in [a] later section on periodic reviews on how to actually or, you know, when to do this, on having a workflow, a step by step workflow for doing this periodically. But what you can do right now, sort of after you watch this video is go forward all the e-mails that are still sitting unread in your e-mail inbox or [are] unarchived and the ones that still need processing—forward all of those to your Mail to Things address so that your Things inbox contains also all of those e-mails that you need to take action on. In addition to all the things that you did, the brain dump and stuff like that. Right. Just make sure it has all of those things from the e-mail inbox as well.
[00:04:47] This is a really important step because for so many people, that e-mail inbox is such a key part of what they do and what they need to do. So go ahead and do that now. And then after you do that, you can go ahead and move on to the next lesson. And as I'm saying that, by the way, you'll see that the e-mail that I just sent to buy the groceries has not even shown up in my inbox yet. So sometimes it may take a little while. Don't worry if—you know, the address is probably working. Give it a minute or two and you'll find that the tasks show up in your Things inbox eventually.
Organize Your Life with Things 3
Learn a simple workflow to feel in control and get stuff done.