I was recently introduced to Sortd, a new tool for organising your Gmail better. The idea is that you can take an untidy Inbox like mine and turn it into a series of to-do lists that make it much easier to see what emails you need to attend to and in what order.
Sortd comes in the form of a Chrome extension which sits on top of your Gmail. You can easily switch between the Sortd interface and native Gmail.
How do you start with Sortd?
Firstly, you need a Gmail account. You then need to apply at sortd.com to get a Sortd account. If you have an invite code you will be given access straight away – otherwise, you will have to wait until your application is approved.
Then download the Sortd extension and click the red button to get started. Sortd will ask you to allow it to access certain permissions on your Google account. You need to accept these to proceed.
Then watch the product tour and the video to get acquainted with Sortd.
What can Sortd do?
Add emails to your to-do list
The Sortd interface shows by default your Inbox on the left and 4 lists on the right: To Do, Follow Up, List 1 and List 2. You can delete, rename and change the icon associated with these lists.
To add an email to a list, simply drag and drop it into the list. While the title is highlighted blue, you can rename it to something more useful.
You can then click on the item title to read the email, make notes on it and set reminders for action. You can rename at any time by clicking the box with a pencil icon to the left of your title.
When you have actioned the task, you simply click the tick icon, and it’s checked off your list (greyed out).
None of this affects the original email in your Inbox.
Add other tasks to your lists
Simply click the + icon at the bottom of a list and you can add your own tasks. When you have created one, you can add notes to it and even drag an email to it in the list view.
You can move tasks up and down your lists by dragging and dropping, but one thing to be careful of: if you drag a self-created task on top of another one (you’ll see a little blue chevron icon), it will disappear from the list. This is intended as a placeholder for dragging an email to a task you made yourself.
Change the highlight colour of your tasks
Right-click on a task and there’s a pop-up menu where you can highlight a task in a colour of your choosing. You can also choose to mark a task as done, archive it or delete it.
Set task due dates and reminders
You can set a date for completion of a task. Just open up the task and you can set a due date. You can also set up a desktop notification for a specific date and time, which will pop up and remind you to complete the job.
Advantages of Sortd
- Preview emails without leaving your Inbox.
- Makes it much easier to see which emails to action.
- Order emails and tasks by your own priority.
- Add notes and reminders to your emails, so you don’t forget important things.
- Highlight tasks to make them stand out.
- Free to use currently.
- Works with multiple Gmail accounts.
- You can hide completed tasks when you’ve done them.
- Comes with a collection of keyboard shortcuts.
- Great sense of achievement when you get your emails done and dusted! I completed 13 tasks yesterday.
Limitations of Sortd
- Sortd is in private beta at the moment, so is still in active development.
- Only works with Chrome, and not in Incognito mode.
- Incompatible with some Chrome extensions.
- Doesn’t work on mobile (yet).
- Support is by email only, and not that fast.
My Feature Wish List
I really like Sortd and can see the value in it. It’s already helped my organisation and productivity a great deal.
I would like to see the following features:
- Show the number of items in the list waiting to be done next to the list name.
- An option to number the items in each list.
- The opportunity to organise related tasks into a series, perhaps numbering each one in the series (e.g. 2 of 4).
- A wider choice of highlight colours.
- More icons to add to lists, and the chance to add your own ones.
- Fix the issue with disappearing tasks when they’re dragged on to other ones.
- Make the refresh icon to reload emails more prominent – it’s invisible unless you mouse over it.
That concludes my tutorial on sorting your Gmail with Sortd! If you’d like to try Sortd, I have some invite codes – please contact me and I’ll set you up.