February 29, 2024

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Almost daily, I’ll receive an email (or three) that I absolutely must remember to take care of, but which I can’t deal with at that moment. Given how frenetically I work during my writing hours, my brain isn’t always capable of clocking those memories, so it’s possible I might miss something. 

Sometimes, I’ll simply snooze an email until a specific time. But when hitting the metaphorical snooze bar on those emails won’t work, what do I do? The answer is to turn to another feature of Gmail: tasks.

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Gmail’s tasks feature turns an email into a task, without deleting or otherwise changing the original email. With this feature, you can categorize a task, give it a due date/time, add details, and add subtasks. 

I’ll even sometimes add a task from an email. I then snooze the email to remind me to reply to let the sender know I’ve received it and will address the contents ASAP. It’s a system that has worked for me for some time now.

You probably already know how to snooze an email, so let me show you how to create a task from one.

How to create a task from an email

What you’ll need: The only things you’ll need for this feature are a valid Gmail account and an email from which to create a task. You can work from either the mobile or the web version of Gmail. I’m going to demonstrate from the web version because that’s where I spend most of my time in Gmail. The mobile version steps are similar, but you access the feature from the email three-button menu. 

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Now, open your web browser of choice, and let’s get to the tasks.

The first thing to do is to make sure you’re logged in to your Gmail account. 

Next, scroll through your massive list of emails to find one that needs to be turned into a task. Once you’ve located one, select it.

Once you’ve selected the email, click the toolbar icon that looks like a checkmark in a circle. This action will create a task from the email and open the Tasks sidebar in Gmail.

The Gmail toolbar containing the Tasks icon.

The Tasks icon is highlighted in gray.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

From the Tasks sidebar, hover over the task and click the three-dot menu button, where you’ll see a popup menu that includes any lists you’ve already created in Tasks. If you need to create a new list to house the task, click New List and type a name for the list.

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Once you’ve created the new list, the task will automatically be added. You can then switch to the new list by clicking the dropdown in the top-left corner of the Tasks sidebar.

The Tasks pop-up menu.

You can also move a task to the top, add a subtask, indent a task, and delete a task from this menu.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

With the task visible, click on it and you can then configure it (adding subtasks, giving it a date, adding details, etc.).

A Task created from and email in Gmail.

Here’s where you can configure a task to your specifications.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you’ve taken care of those configurations, you’re finished. You can always re-open the Tasks sidebar by clicking the blue check/circle on the right edge of Gmail in your browser.

And that’s how easy it is to create a task from an email in Gmail. I’ve been using the feature for some time now and it never fails to help me stay on top of emails that I don’t have time to deal with at that moment.