Technology Tuesday: Laytr – E-Mail Reminder Service

Let’s face it, despite scores of different communication methods now available, e-mail still rules in many different cases. Often times, an email is a call to action and necessitates a response. This can be a no-brainer if the email is asks a quick question that needs an immediate response, other times however, an email needs a response at some point in the future.

With the mountain of email that many people get, it is easy for messages to get pushed into obscurity relatively quickly. Several recent studies have shown that calling up a particular email is no quicker for people who organize with sub-folders or labels and strive for constant “Inbox Zero” as it is for people who keep all email in their inbox. While finding an email is undoubtedly easy with most email programs or third-party utilities like Xobni, that is predicated upon the fact that you even remembered what you are looking for. This week we will look at a fantastic utility for “snoozing” your email…and getting reminded about it at exactly the precise moment that makes sense.

Email reminder services are not new and many similar services, like HitMeLater, FollowUp.CC, and FollowUpThen, offer substantially the same features. However, many are crippled with limits on the free version that nudge you into a paid service. Others require awkward email addresses to send to or limit the time that an email can be “snoozed”. Laytr is the cream of the crop, offering the richest feature set, easiest to use, free, and completely pain free email reminder service.

So, how does it work?

You receive an email and want to be reminded of it at some time in the future, you simply forward and use one of the many keywords before Then, you’ll get the email freshly delivered at the time you specified. There are scores of keywords to use, but the basics are:

There are more ways to specify exact time that you can find in laytr’s keyword list. But the use is so intutive, you’ll hardly have to refer to anything after using a short time. I use laytr so often, my email address auto-complete usually grabs laytr as the first choice for any letter that begins with a letter of a day of the week or any number.

What if I want to add others to the email reminder?

Suppose an email comes in that makes sense to share with others at a future specified time. This too is easy with laytr. Simply forward to the laytr as you normally would, and add other recipients in the subject line inside parentheses.  So an email like this:

To: [email protected]
Subject: ([email protected]), ([email protected]) Happy Veteran’s Day

would send an email to me and two other users on November 11th. Anything outside of parentheses becomes the actual subject line of the email. Additionally, confirmation emails are sent when other recipients are emailed.

Do I need to register?

No, not at all, you can just start using the service. But registering does allow some additional options. Most importantly, it gives you to option of turning off the queue report that you get when sending an email. If you end up using laytr quite a bit, the clutter from these confirmations kind of defeats the purpose of the service doesn’t it? Also, you can access your “Dashboard” which shows all your emails queued for delivery and gives you the option of sending immediately, or toggling off altogether. Also, you can get an iCal link to add a calendar feed to any program that supports it.

[laytr’s dahboard with on/off, send now, stop queue reports and iCal feed indicated]

When to use Laytr

There’s thousands of reasons to use an email reminder service. Many people simply like to keep an empty inbox or periodically purge everything. Laytr is easier than sub-foldering, adding calendar reminders, making lists, or anything else. For those who just keep a massive inbox, sending an email reminder when the email came in, is quicker than searching for the email and helps you remember that it is sitting there buried in the list of emails waiting for action.

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