At this point we have captured tasks in Microsoft To Do, Outlook, OneNote and Planner. Each application has its own situations that make it the most appropriate way to create a tracked action. However, this has the potential to make daily planning quite complicated. How do you check each one of these applications as you start your day, to ensure no tasks are overlooked?
This is where a particular feature makes Microsoft To Do actually worthwhile. Microsoft To Do can collect all of your pending tasks across the Microsoft product suite.
Let’s start with a simple feature that really helps me psychologically – at the beginning of each day, My Day is empty. There is no overwhelming list of actions left from yesterday, or the day before. In many tools, the list of incomplete and overdue tasks keeps accumulating over time until they create frustration and may lead to abandoning the tool. In contrast, the My Day view in Microsoft To Do starts clean each day.
What practical affect does this have? Primarily, the day starts off with a win. Rather than seeing everything still outstanding from yesterday, you can start with by adding your Daily Routine to My Day. For the Covey fans out there, this is Quadrant 2 – non-urgent, but important. For me, I can usually knock out this list in about thirty minutes. This results in actively responding to priorities, not reacting to crises.
Once you have your tasks added to My Day, simply click the check mark as each one is completed. You can choose whether to show or hide completed tasks. I prefer to hide completed tasks, as there is a certain satisfaction seeing the list slowly dissolve to nothing.
Once all the tasks from your first round are complete, click on the Today button (the lightbulb in the top right). A panel will open up with a list of pending tasks to add to your My Day view. The list includes items due today, items from the past that are still open, and tasks that will be due soon. Clicking the plus sign (+) next to selected tasks will add the item to your My Day view.
This list of pending tasks comes from various sources. For instance, if you flag an email in MS Outlook, the email shows up in MS To Do. If you have been assigned tasks from MS Planner, those tasks will show up in MS To Do with due dates. If you flagged items for follow-up in a OneNote Meeting Note, those items show up in MS To Do.
Since Microsoft To Do searches across the Microsoft Office 365 suite to find outstanding action items, you are free to use the most appropriate tool based on what you are doing when you become aware of the tasks. Then, when it is time to complete those tasks, they can all be found in one place – Microsoft To Do.
This is the final part of a series on productivity using Office 365.