By Harry McCracken | Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm
I’m constantly searching for new ways to manage tasks, but I’m never going to live in any to-do manager. E-mail is the app I live in–and to be even more specific, what I live in is my inbox. I’m far from alone, and a clever new service called NudgeMail acknowledges that by turning e-mail into a to-do manager. (Or, if you prefer to think of it this way, a to-do manager into e-mail.)
There are several ways to use NudgeMail, but the basic idea is…well, basic, and intentionally so. It works with any e-mail program on any device, and you don’t even have to sign up for an account. You just send (or forward) an e-mail to NudgeMail, which will then send it back to you on a date you specify as a reminder. For instance, you can send an e-mail to [email protected], enter “Friday” as the subject line, and then put a reminder to yourself in the e-mail’s body; on Friday, you’ll get the message. Or you can forward a message from a colleague reminding you of a deadline on December 3rd to [email protected]; NudgeMail will send it back to you on December 2nd when you’re ready to think about it.
Sending an e-mail to [email protected] gets you a message back summarizing the tasks that the service is scheduled to remind you about–the closest thing it’s got to a traditional task list. I think it’d be cool if it was possible to view and maybe even edit this list in my browser; I suspect, though, that anything that complicated might violate the service’s emphasis on extreme simplicity and an e-mail-centric approach.
NudgeMail reminders are sent at 6:30am by default; you can select a different time if you want. You can also change the time for just one nudge, but it’s a two-step process; I often need to remind myself about stuff I need to do at a certain hour, and it would be nice if I could do it in one fell swoop.
The service is currently in a “private beta,” but anyone can try it; the NudgeMail folks are just planning to cap new memberships at some point. And while it’s free for now, they say aspects of it may carry a charge at some point.
(Full disclosure: NudgeMail was founded by the principals of my fiancée’s employer.)