We’re forgetful creatures by nature. And it’s not a bug, it’s a feature; forgetting is vital for maintaining a clear head and keeping enough room for the memories that are truly important to our day-to-day lives. If we remembered everything, we’d be overburdened by the constant influx of memory.

This is problematic for most professionals, however, since in any given week you’re juggling dozens of meetings, hundreds of tasks, and hundreds of personal to-dos. Thankfully, Gmail (or, alternately, Inbox by Google) has a system you can use to set up automatic reminders for yourself—and stay on top of your email productivity.

There are a few ways to set these up, depending on which type of device you’re using, whether you’re using Gmail or Inbox by Google, and how you plan to implement them. But in all cases, you can get things rolling in 5 steps or less.

Gmail Reminders on Desktop

Creating a Gmail reminder in Gmail (not Inbox by Google)

Instead of being called “Gmail reminders”, Gmail has a setting called “Nudges” for reminding you about emails that need to be followed-up with, or reminders of emails that you haven’t yet responded to. When Gmail Nudges are enabled, emails you might have forgotten to respond to, or emails that you sent that might need a follow-up will appear at the top of your inbox automatically.

  1. Open Gmail (ensure you’re using the latest version of Gmail, as the old version does not support Gmail reminders)
  2. Click the Settings (gear) icon
  3. In the “General” tab, scroll down to “Nudges”
  4. Check both boxes “Suggest emails to reply to” and “Suggest emails to follow up on”

Gmail Reminders: Nudges in Settings

Creating a Gmail reminder in Inbox by Google

  1. Open Inbox.
  2. In the bottom-right corner, you’ll see a + icon. Hover over it, and you’ll see a blue icon for Reminders. Click it.
  3. Type whatever you’d like in the reminder space. It could be a simple command, like “get groceries,” or something more detailed—it’s entirely up to you. You can also use Google’s helpful prompts for common reminder topics, like remembering to call or email someone.
  4. Set a time for your reminder by including a snippet of text with a time requirement, like “tomorrow at 8 am.” You’ll see an automatic prompt to fill in the time. You can also click the clock icon to the right of the text box to set Snooze options, which allow you to set a precise or repeating reminder time.
  5. Click Save when you’re done. That’s it!

Viewing and deleting Gmail reminders (Inbox by Google only)

If you’re curious to see what reminders you’ve already set, you can click the Pin icon at the top of the Inbox view. This should show you any reminders you’ve currently set.

You can also use the left-side dropdown menu and click “Snoozed” to see any reminders you’ve snoozed or set recurring reminders for. You’ll also see any emails you’ve snoozed.

Adding a reminder to an email (Inbox by Google only)

You can also associate reminders with specific emails; for example, you may want to remind yourself to follow up with a lead after a week. To do this, open the email in question, and click the Pin button in the upper-right corner. Then, click “Remember” and enter any reminder text you’d like to see in the future. When you’re done, hit Save.

Gmail Reminders on Android and iOS Devices

Creating a Gmail reminder in Gmail (not Inbox by Google) on mobile devices

Creating a Gmail reminder is just as easy on mobile devices:

  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. In the top-left corner, tap the 3-lines icon
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap the email address for which you want to edit settings
  5. Tap on “Replies and follow-ups” under the “Nudges” subheading
  6. Toggle one or both sliders to the “on” position

Gmail Reminders settings on mobile (iOS and Android)

Creating a Gmail reminder in Inbox by Google on mobile devices

  1. Open the Inbox app.
  2. In the bottom-right corner, click the + icon, followed by the hand-shaped reminder icon.
  3. Type your reminder text, just like you would on desktop.
  4. Set a specific time, like you would on desktop, using the Snooze feature if you want to set recurring reminders.
  5. Click Save.

The only extra step here is to make sure your notifications are turned on—if they’re turned off for Inbox, you won’t get a push notification when a reminder comes due.

You can view your existing reminders by tapping the Pin button, or by accessing the Snoozed menu, just like on desktop devices. And if you want to add a reminder to an email, just tap the Pin icon when you have the email open.

Not Using Inbox by Google?

If you’re using the traditional Gmail app, you won’t have access to reminders as they exist in Inbox, but you can use “Nudges”, to remind you about emails that need follow-up. Alternatively, you could use the integrated Google Calendar to set up meetings, appointments, or other events in the future and rely on the heads-up notifications that come with them to serve as reminders. Or you could use Tasks or Google Keep to keep notes and to-do items for yourself, complete with due dates (and alerts when they’re coming due).

Gmail reminders are great, but they won’t help you improve your email efficiency overall. For that, you’ll need to dig deep into your email metrics, and learn exactly how you’re emailing—including peak times and days of the week for email, how long it takes you to read and write emails, and how and why your email threads become chaotic. EmailAnalytics was created with this purpose in mind; it’s got everything you need to master the art of email productivity, so give it a try for free today!

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