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What to do with Gmail’s “Star”…

I have long wondered what people actually do with the “star” feature in Gmail. Unless you just like to have things waiting on the back-burner to bite you in the butt, I think it’s always a bad idea to simply flag an email to do later and leave it in your inbox.

Personally, I use Outlook for my emails needs (but I use Gmail when I’m away from home). My emails only have two statuses: read or unread. If an email is read, it is completely done and filed away, only to be needed again for some later reference. An unread email means that I either have truly not read it OR that I am waiting to do something with it. Thus, all my “to do” later things are always still in my inbox, motivating me to get it done and quit having to look at it. Also, all the important emails in Outlook are in the same place: the Search Folder labeled “Unread Mail.” Nothing ever falls between the cracks, since there are really no cracks in this system. But more on that at a later point…

Matt’s Idea Blog posted a great article on using Gmail’s “star” to highlight good news in your life. Some things Matt marks with a “star” in his Gmail account:

Testimonials from happy clients
Support, praise, and encouragement from readers
Feedback on things I’ve done that have helped others
Requests for consulting
Nice introductions from new friends

I can’t say enough how much I LOVE this idea. This makes it quite simple to pull up all the good things that have happened to you in those down days, and you’re also not tempted to use the “star” for something like prioritizing emails.

I think I might start flagging good news emails in Outlook. Maybe I can make them a happy yellow or orange. Then I could setup a simple Search Folder that will find all yellow flags and label the folder “Good News” or “Great Happenings”. What a pick-me-up on a dismal day!

Do you have a novel use for the Gmail “star”? Let us know by leaving a comment or you can drop me a line.

[tags]legal andrew, gmail, email, microsoft outlook, outlook, flag, star[/tags]

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2 Responses to “What to do with Gmail’s “Star”…”

  1. Matthew Cornell
    September 10th, 2006

    Thanks so much for your article, Andrew!

  2. Andrew F
    September 10th, 2006


    Not a problem. Thank you for the work you are doing. I really liked your idea.

    Take care,

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