How to Use Deferred Email
4 Tips to streamline your life by setting email messages for future delivery
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Tip #4: Get Your Documents Right When You Need Them
Melvin recently scheduled a trip to attend the American Birding Association's convention. The travel site he used sent him his itinerary and receipt in an email. His train ticket came as a PDF file to print out, and his hotel confirmation was also sent by email.
Melvin uses deferred email to send himself reminder documents exactly when he needs them. He forwards his itinerary to himself twice. One copy arrives the morning he departs. The second copy arrives his last day of travel, so he has a reminder of his return details. The tickets are set to arrive half an hour before departure, so he can call them up on his smartphone.
He uses this same technique to send himself materials he'll need for his meetings, so they arrive right before the meetings are scheduled to begin.. Deferred email gives him everything he needs, right when he needs it.
How to Send Deferred Email
One way to send deferred email is from your desktop email program. If you're on Windows using Outlook, you can send deferred email when you're composing a message. Write your message, then click Options, then under Delivery Ooptions, select Do Not Deliver Before and click the delivery date and time you want. If you use Thunderbird, you can use the Send Later 3 plug-in to send deferred email. The only problem is that you have to leave your desktop email program running, so it’s open at the time the email is scheduled to go out.
Several web services also let you send deferred email. You forward an email to a special email address and that message gets sent back to you in the future. For example, one such service is Followup.cc. You send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be reminded of that email conversation 12 hours in the future. It also lets you snooze reminder emails. It's mainly set up to handle to-do items.
Nudgemail.com and laytr.com (yes l-a-y-t-r-dot-com, with a “y”) lets you simply forward email to yourself sometime in the future. They don't have the snooze feature of followup.cc, but they're more email centric, and laytr.com lets you send deferred email to other people, not just yourself.
If you use Gmail or Google Apps for email, you can use my personal favorite: BoomerangGmail.com. This is integrated as a browser plug-in for Gmail and it adds itself to Gmail's interface. With a mouse click or two, you can defer email, have a conversation boomeranged back to you in a week, or send a message and get an automatic reminder if the other person hasn't responded within the timeframe you specify.
To summarize: Choose one of the many tools out there that can send deferred email. Use it to slow down conversations, remind yourself of to-do items in the future, remind yourself of issues that you can’t deal with now but need to revisit later, and arrange for your materials to be where you want them, when you want them.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
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