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Ask HN: Do You Email Yourself?
20 points by trilinearnz 4 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments
I often do this, since it can be a hassle to retrieve a given piece of information when I am using many different systems during the day. Mostly, my content is solely in the subject line, and is often just a reminder, or personal note to myself.

This got me wondering: Is there a product here, or could email providers do something special when they notice you doing this?

No, but here is a way to WhatsApp yourself.

Create a group with one other member. Delete that member. Now you can send messages (or media) to yourself and only you will receive it. It's useful for storing notes or pictures or whatever...

I use Telegram for that. There's a "saved messages" chat where you can upload any type of file.

I do that on mattermost. I opened a private chat with myself and it works out of the box.

Life changing.

Among many lines, I have the following in my .zshrc:

  alias note='vi +star +'\''normal Go'\'' +'\''r!date +\%F\ \%T'\'' ~/workspace/notes/notes.md +'\''normal Go'\'' +'\''normal Go'\'

  function nupd() {
      git -C ~/workspace/notes commit -a -m "Update notes $(whoami)@$(hostname)"
      git -C ~/workspace/notes push

It allows me to type:

And opens a file, `notes.md`, with vi in insert mode with a timestamp.

When I'm done, I type:

It commits the changes and pushes them to a repo. When I go to other machines, I just pull.

I also used to have a todo alias, but now I switched to TaskWarrior. I made the `.task` directory a git repo and have a function

  function tupd() {
      git  -C ~/.task commit -a -m "Update tasks $(whoami)@$(hostname)"
      git  -C ~/.task push

Whenever I use TaskWarrior for creation, etc, I run tupd. I wrote hooks before but became frustrated. When I use other machines, I just pull the repo and have my tasks ready. The commit message contains the username and hostname so I know from which machine I did it.

I have files like these (knowledge base repo that automatically builds a page https://jhadjar.gitlab.io/kbase/ , which reminds me it's been way too long I haven't pushed to it). I also have a file called lessons.md, listing the many times I screwd up (dates, context, why it was a screw up). A function called "learn" does a `bat` (better cat) on that file to review the lessons.

Personally, no. I try to keep inbox zero as often as I can. For persisted reminders, I lean on other tracking software (which is usually just Notes, my phone alarm, or my calendar).

Of course not... that's the craziest thing I ever heard.

I text myself.

Yes, every day.

A few years ago someone taught me how to structure gmail using a system of multiple inboxes and stars. So when an email comes in I assign it a star and archive, it then shows in its inbox. Whenever I have a task that I want to remember for later I email it to myself and assign it just like I would a normal mail.

Its a phenomenal system. I dont need another app, can email myself from anywhere. Can get people to email me tasks etc.

can you elaborate or provide a reference?

Sure thing:

1) Login to settings and enable multiple inboxes. This is my setup:

has:red-star URGENT

has:orange-star Important

has:blue-info Pending on someone else

has:purple-question For reference

Panel position: Below the inbox

2) Still in the settings, enable stars in the order above.

3) When you check your mail, send off instant replies, archive or star the rest accordingly. To get the orange star you just click the star icon twice, three times for the blue one etc. The purple ones I use to store things like documents I may reference later etc. In practice, I focus on the red stars every day and try to work through the orange ones maybe once a week. You could proberbly do without the blue, but its handy when your in a project management like role. You can run through them once a week and ping people for updates.

I forward emails to my OmniFocus mail drop address. It is a fairly effortless way to move actionable email out of the email archive and into something that's built for action tracking.

The service is described here: https://kas.d.pr/2e0Vsy

Yes I write letters to my future self once in a while, maybe a year or two into the future. It's really interesting to read what my life was like when I wrote the letter and I'm always curious if things turned out as expected and if I managed to achieve some of my goals.


I loved the combined view of reminders and email that 'Inbox by Gmail' used to provide, in the lack of a more sophisticated solution by GMail, I just email reminders and Snooze them to the appropriate day.

This little hack works really well and have given me decent mileage.

Suppose someone does email themselves. What makes you think that there is a product opportunity in that? They may be in that behaviour pattern because it works well for them.

I created a Matrix room on my Matrix server with just myself in it. I post notes to it of things I need to remember.

There is a product here, and I'm a happy customer: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/captio-email-yourself-with-1-t...

I use it daily.

Of course I do, because I am the only one who knows whats important. I then filter the email into a folder. What excitement when I look into the folder and say 'Oh crap I forgot I need to do ...' but glad I now remember.

Haha, I remember those times when I would do that to save cool links for later. Good times. :)

Then, they made Pocket [1].

The real question is what comes after Pocket?

[1] https://getpocket.com/


Shameless plug.

I email myself sometimes. But most of these emails get lost in the clutter.

What would you expect this product (or the email provider) to do for such cases?

so, i do the thing you really arent supposed to do, i have a private github repo where i throw all files that i want synched, from notes to full textbooks. i used to email myself, but it was always very annoying to do (and then i would need to email back any changes i would make), so github winds up being a reasonable solution- ive tried dropbox but i prefer the control i have with git/github

Yes. I email myself almost everyday. I've even made a browser extension for it - https://www.emailthis.me

All the time. I use my email as a TODO list, so I send myself items. Not aware of any products that enhance it, nor can I think of anything I'd want like that.

Yep. I don't really need something special to handle this, though. I do it specifically because I don't want to have something else.

I used to use a pocket notebook which I still carry, to write myself to-do items. Now I just send myself a quick email with the to-do item as the subject.

Signal labels the conversation as "Note to Self" when you send yourself something

Delayed/scheduled email to self is a thing, to answer your product question. Guess mainly for the non-tech crowd.

I use Dropbox text files or just save as email drafts when the same email is accessible on both devices.

I haven’t mailed myself in over 3 years. I mostly try to rely on Things for reminders and tasks.

Probably thousands of emails to myself. I had some email tool and the top from/to was myself.

Yes, all the time. Almost daily

Rarely, for Very Important TODO items.

Similarly, sometimes I message myself on Slack or Facebook.

> message myself on [...]Facebook.

I didn't even know that was possible!

Any note while I'm out and about is emailed to myself.

I stopped doing that when I got todoist. Less clutter.

I email myself from work very frequently


I text myself.


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