Life is busy. With all the deadlines to meet, meetings to attend, and tasks that can pop up at a moment’s notice, it can be overwhelming just to know what to work on next. Microsoft Outlook, like most email programs, has many features that allow you to organize your tasks, but the focus of this article is to explain one technique that I have found to be very helpful.
I used to organize my tasks based on low, normal, or high priority. I thought this would allow me to easily see what I needed to work on next. After a few months, however, I started loosing track of projects and missing some minor deadlines. I needed another game plan, so I started experimenting with Outlook.
Part of the problem I was experiencing was the amount of time that I spent looking through all my tasks to prioritize them. It took at least an hour a week to look through everything to make sure I wasn’t about to miss something important. I needed a way for my tasks to remind me to do work on them. Tasks in Outlook do have reminder capabilities and I tried the feature for a while, but it took too much effort to set up and I ran into one major issue.
Tasks with reminders are denoted by a special icon next to the title, but you do not know when the reminder is scheduled unless you open the task. This makes it extremely difficult when assigning new reminders for tasks, because it is hard to know when your other tasks are scheduled.
After some experimentation in Outlook , I came across a technique that solved all my issues. I discovered that you can drag tasks onto your calendar. This effectively schedules your tasks and just like a meeting reminder, your tasks will remind you when they need to be the focus of your attention.
Step By Step Instructions
- Open your task screen.
- Right click on the calendar screen and select “Open in New Window” – see image below.Credit: E. Forrester
- Place the task window and the calendar window side by side, so you can see both.
- Drag and drop the task that you want to schedule over to the day and time you want to work on the task.
- Make sure the task is set with a reminder.
- If you want to still be available for meetings during this time, then make sure you select “free” in the “show time as” menu.
- Now when your task is due, Outlook will let you know in the reminder window.
- Repeat the steps and never forget a task again.
So what are some benefits if you use this process?
- You can now easily see what is going on during your day. Your tasks and meetings are all on your calendar. I like to add all my tasks to either 8AM or 1PM. This helps me keep track of morning and afternoon tasks.
- When a new task arises, you can immediately place them on your calendar based on your availability.
- You can dismiss the tasks from Outlook’s reminder widow. If other things come up and you can’t complete the task, then you can just move the task to a different date or time on your calendar.
- The technique is easy to maintain.
I hope you find the tip as easy and useful as I have.