As an entrepreneur and consultant, I find that a balance between being responsive to people vs. focusing on work can often lead to an obsessive email checking compulsion. To battle this issue, I have a recurring task to clear my inbox every four hours via OmniFocus. When I check off that task (check email, voice mails, text messages, etc…), OmniFocus creates a new task automatically in 4 hours.
But what about the case where there is an email that is critical and you need to know when it arrives right away? Option 1 is to sit in front of your email hitting refresh every 30 seconds, option 2 is to use some sort of notification program that pops something up when you receive a new email. The problem with option 1 is obvious and option 2 is a bit more subtle. Every time you see that pop up or see a number next to your email client you will likely be distracted and break your workflow to check email, only to discover some non-important email.
So this post introduces option 3. Setup a special filter to redirect the email you are looking for to your phone via SMS. This tip assumes that your SMS is primary used for urgent matters. Following are the specific steps to do this in Gmail; however, you can adapt easily to any email client that provides forwarding functionality.
Click the “Create a filter” link.
Fill in the filter criteria to suite your needs. For example, you may choose to forward any email coming from a certain email address.
Click the “Forward it to:” checkbox, use one of the following formats to fill in the textbox and then click “create filter”.
- AT&T: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Qwest: email@example.com
- T-Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Verizon: email@example.com
- Sprint: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Virgin Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nextel: email@example.com
- Alltel: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Metro PCS: email@example.com
- Powertel: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Suncom: email@example.com
- U.S. Cellular: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perform a test by sending a test email to your phone to ensure that you can in fact receive a text message from an email. I tried this method with AT&T on my iPhone and it worked as advertised.
Source for email to text information.