Remembering stuff is awful.

Everyone is terrible at it but for some unaccountable reason certain people go out of their way to pretend otherwise, talking about mind palaces and decision trees and all sorts of other things that no actual person has any time to comprehend. Some people even write books about it. Books! “Hey did you read my amazing book about how to remember everything??” No. I guess I forgot to buy it.

Anyway, before I forget the purpose of this blogpost, here’s the answer:

Gmail Tasks.

I don’t know why they hide it under Mail (which nobody has ever clicked because what even is ‘Contacts’), but it’s the single most useful feature of Gmail. Way more useful than the ability to send and receive email, which I think we can all agree is overrated.

Tasks in Gmail

Click that and a little box of magic pops up.

Gmail tasks blank
Can we all just note that Jaye apparently has nothing to do.

This should be obvious but for the avoidance of doubt, start populating it with all the things you need to do, so that eventually it looks like this:

Gmail tasks populated
Venue hire. Priorities.

There are just two more things you need to do.

1. Next time you get an email that requires you to do something, don’t panic – do this instead:

Gmail add email to tasks

And that will make this happen:

Added to tasks Gmail

Not only is it added to your Tasks but clicking ‘Related email’ takes you straight to the original request, which by now you have no memory of.

2. Get Tasks on your phone:

Gmail tasks on your iPhone

Where by ‘Get’ I mean save it as a bookmark so that you can record every whimsical request that comes your way, even when they’re shouted to you over a cubicle wall.

Tasks is brilliant. It’s better than Trello, Asana, Listhings and every other app that supposedly solves your memory problem for one simple reason: it is in the way. You can’t see your emails properly because of it. It’s like someone stuck a post-it on your screen and let’s face it, that’s what you need. If you use Asana, you have to remember to open Asana, so you’ll forget. (I realise this requires you to remember to open Gmail, but if you’re turning up at work and forgetting to do that then… then I don’t know. I’m out.)

So the next time someone asks you to do something, whether you’re at your desk or not, put it in this list and you won’t lose your job. It’s that simple.