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July 29, 2014

Tool Review #3: Reshma’s Outlook Tasks–Make It Work For You!

Even though I happen to be an avid Outlook Tasks user myself, this feature is not for the faint of heart: slightly too complicated, doesn’t sync well to gadgets, and has some serious formatting limitations. In fact, we almost broke up last month when I met Workflowy. But nonprofit leader Reshma S. is in a committed relationship with Outlook Tasks that I could see working for lots of folks.

Reshma was kind enough to share an end-of-week sheet with us! There are lots of things I love about Reshma’s approach to To-Dos.

Reshma Outlook Tasks To-Do List

  1. Categorization using the double sort. First, Reshma groups her tasks by Today, Tomorrow, Next Week, etc. This way, she’s prioritizing her To-Dos, which many of us list-makers often fail to do. Next, she uses the Categories Feature to title the Task as “Personal,” “Management,” “Advocacy,” and so on. And if you’re wondering about her nifty color-coding thing, Reshma told me she uses a yellow highlighter to select her To-Dos each day based on what’s in her calendar, and then very satisfyingly uses an orange highlighter to mark when she is done. What a great way to blend digital efficiency with checkmark satisfaction!
  1. Distinguishing between the short-term and the longer-term. Most to-do lists are guilty of being present-day oriented or future oriented. Rarely are they both at once! Reshma puts both the short- and longer-term items in the same place. This lets her see what’s coming down the conveyor belt.
  1. Room to capture things that “come up.” Because her job is very mobile, Reshma chooses to print and carry her to-do list—she can’t always pull out a tablet at a luncheon or her laptop when racing to the airport. For the new To-Dos she acquires during the week, Reshma handwrites them in at the bottom. She’ll type them into the master list when she prepares for next week!

Way to go, Reshma! We love how you’ve incorporated Outlook Tasks into your work—and personal life.

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