E-Mail Service Nags, at Your Instruction

I've whined and complained in this space several times about Gmail's limited features for time-delaying e-mails. I've told you about two third-party services that help a lot: Hit Me Later and Boomerang. Now I'm going to tell you about an ingenious third service called FollowUpThen. The service is free and requires no sign-up!

FollowUpThen tackles a problem that everyone shares: How to follow up with people when you ask them to do something. Do you:

* Use the "faith-based" method of just hoping they'll remember?

* Add an item to your calendar to remind you in the future to follow up with that person?

* Leave the message in your inbox?

All of these options involve either the risk that your request will be forgotten or lots of additional work on your part.

FollowUpThen total solves this problem by reminding both you and the person you're e-mailing to follow up on the request.

Here's how it works. When you send someone a request, simply add FollowUpThen to the Cc field. The "name" part of the e-mail address indicates the amount of time you want to pass before this reminder is sent. So, for example, if you ask someone to do something by one week from today, you Cc 1week@followupthen.com.

When the specified time passes, both you and the other person get a polite e-mail reminding all to follow up, with a copy of the original request e-mail.

It's a beautiful thing. They get reminded. You know they get reminded. And they know that you know that they know they got reminded. All without any effort beyond the addition of that e-mail address to the Cc line.

If you want only yourself to be reminded, you simply add your FollowUpThen e-mail to the Bcc field. You can also send FollowUpThen e-mail using the To field, which will also remind only you.

FollowUpThen is free and no signup is required. Simply add their address with your time specified, and everyone will be followed up with.

Here's the list of example formats from the FollowUpThen web site:

Time Interval

1minute@followupthen.com
2hours@followupthen.com
3days@followupthen.com
4weeks@followupthen.com
5months@followupthen.com
6years@followupthen.com

Day of Week

tuesday@followupthen.com
tues@followupthen.com

Common Scheduling Terms

tomorrow@followupthen.com
nextweek@followupthen.com
nextmonth@followupthen.com

Specific Date

mar30@followupthen.com
2010-05-30@followupthen.com

Specific Time

11am@followupthen.com -- will sent the next occurrence of 11 a.m. your time (yes, we magically know your time zone). Only supports whole hour increments.

Specific Date and Time

tomorrow9am@followupthen.com
aug2512pm@followupthen.com

Recurring Reminders

everyweds@followupthen.com
everymar30@followupthen.com

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