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The Last Frontier... Recurring Tasks Solved. Gmail now my 100% Task Manager!

So the ONLY reason I have kept a separate task manager in my toolset it to handle the "tickler" of 60 or so recurring tasks that I use each week/month/quarter/year. RTM has a nice gmail tool that displays them on the edge of the page. All my other one-off tasks are handled very capably by ActiveInbox.

Recently, I've moved these recurring tasks to my calendar (Fantastical/Mac Calendar), as recurring all-day tasks, and set the alarm feature to send me an email when they come due. Using Gmail filters, each alarm arrives in my inbox the the right action, project and context. The only manual action I have to take is to set the due date for "today" and archive it to the right project list. Very easy, and now I'm down one piece of redundant software and using Gmail 100% as a task manager. ActiveInbox manages that really, really well for me.

The only suggestion I have would be to provide a way to filter those incoming task alarms so that they are assigned a due date of "today". Then I could have the filter mark them as read, bypass the inbox, and go to the right list for action without manual intervention. Of course, AI would have to be able to provide a tag for the filter to "see" (which I don't THINK it does). I'm guessing that a number of folks have various predictable emails that could use some automated due dating with filters. Something to consider...
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  • Andy Mitchell (ActiveInbox Founder) November 20, 2013 14:11
    Hi Ronald,

    That's a brilliant bit of pragmatism :) I might just add it to the FAQ.

    Re: Today... Mark & I have discussed the possibility of a 'magic' !Today label that automatically converts between ZD/yyyymmdd format and !Today, which means you could filter to add !Today and AIB would handle the rest.

    But the tricky thing is making it robust, so we're holding off for now.
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  • 4
    I've made a basic script that I think will get your alarms get an automatic deadline, if you add a "!Today" label to the filter.

    Here is a link to my script.

    Basically, every 5 minutes it'll look for threads under the "!Today" label and add it to the correct "ZD/" label. It'll also add threads for the current "ZD/" date to the "!Today" label. Upon the next trigger after midnight, it'll adjust the "!Today" labels for the new correct "ZD/" date.

    It's a quick solution (and the code is a bit rough), but if there's interest, I'll probably continue to expand and improve this script. You may notice that support for a "!Tomorrow" label can be can be added easily, and will probably be my next improvement.

    This solution may make it more practical to manage deadlines on mobile devices and other mail clients.
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  • On the topic of scripts, I have a suggestion:

    Ok, so I sometimes still get behind in my emails. Sometimes in a big way, such that I have (as I have now) about of month of emails in my inbox that I need to work through.

    The suggestion is to automate the steps I take when I am so far behind: I take the first email and I do a search for all emails like it. If this group of emails are all similar, and I can delete or archive, I then select "select all" which selects all the matching emails that are visible, and then select the Google "Select all emails like this". Once I have done that I then mass archive / delete, etc.

    It would be really cool if there a way to automate this process. Of course one needs to be careful not to delete emails one doesn't mean to, but for a bunch of my emails, if I have not dealt with them (filed/archived/deleted) within a week, then they definitely fall within this group category.

    Thoughts?
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  • I’m Curious
    Dear Darryl or other forum members. I do not fully understand how it works. I managed to instal it but don't know how i can create a task that reoccurs for example every week. Is there anyone who can explain how to use this script?
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    Hi Sander, it looks like the original user's setup, and the script's actions are as follows:

    1-- the user used Fantastical to send recurring emails to his gmail account
    2-- then used gmail filters to assign the label !Today
    3-- then the script above, which is set to run every 5 minutes
    3-- looks for emails with the !Today label and also assigns them a label for the the current date, and vice versa

    So to your question of how to set up recurring tasks using the above, what you would do is:

    -- use a calendar app (such as gmail's own calendar app) to send yourself recurring emails
    -- use gmail filters to set appropriate labels, including a !Today label
    -- the script does the rest

    Notice that all this was from 3 years ago, and may not all be applicable currently. I don't know AI well enough to comment any more authoritatively w/o testing this, myself. Hope that helps.

    --A
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  • Thanks a lot!

    I missed that part and indeed in that way it works. I tried it via calander and that works. Only think i would like is a free tool that sends normal mails as in calander the subject and message body of the mail is not so nice. If anyone knows a free tool, please let me know, but for now this works.
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  • Consider www.zapier.com -- it can send emails, plus a whole lot more, and has a free tier.
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  • Ah Thanks, I use IFTTT and did not think about using that for this purpose.
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  • great script! Works for "!Today" label. Can anyone please advise on how to get it working for "!Tomorrow"? I think the script needs some additional code for this.
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  • I have a suggestion for adapting the script which I hope Darryl or others may be able to help with. At the moment, as I understand it, after midnight the script will, for every "!Today" thread, remove the previous day's "!Today" label as it will now have yesterday's ZD/Date label. It would be amazing if instead of just removing the "!Today" label, it also adds an "!Overdue" label.

    As Darryl rightly said, "This solution may make it more practical to manage deadlines on mobile devices and other mail clients." (I think this is why he does not remove the "!Today" label immediately the current ZD/Date is added). This way we would now have a label for "Overdue", "Today", & "Tomorrow" which would be awesome. I know AI now has the mobile app, but I think this is is a great potential help if people ever need alternative mobile access (perhaps the app stops working temporarily for some reason, or people cannot get the app - e.g. impoverished me on my iphone 4 :-)
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