September 29th, 2010
Recently I was exploring the Internet and came across an article about using Outlook tasks more effectively. After some trial and error, I found a whole new way of using my Tasks and Calendar in Outlook, and wanted to share it.
For over a year now, I’ve been looking for a tool that can help me calendarize my Tasks. While they have start and due date, it doesn’t allow me to see them on my calendar in a time slot and move it around as needed. I found a few tools, but they just weren’t doing what I needed, and ended up taking more time out of my day instead of making me more productive! So I had given up…until now! I’ll let you in on my secret.
Did you know that you can drag a Task onto your Calendar and it will create an appointment with the details of the task in the subject and body? That’s great and all, but that left a disconnect between the Task and Appointment, because I still had to go find the Task in my Task List and complete it or update it. Well, what I learned was that if you right-click-and-drag the Task to the Calendar, you get 4 new menu options –
For my purposes, I chose to use the 2nd option — Copy Here as Appointment with Shortcut. What this does is creates a new appointment for me anywhere on the Calendar I choose (day and time). It attaches the Task to the body of the appointment, but as a shortcut. When I complete the task, I can simply double-click on the shortcut, hit Mark Complete, and then close the Appointment. The appointment will pop up as a reminder for the time I assigned to it.
I then took this to the next level, which was to categorize these appointments. I created a new Category called Tasks, so that I knew the difference between a meeting and a task on my calendar. And I make sure that all of these task appointments have “Show Time As” marked as Free. This way, when someone looks at my calendar, they don’t think I’m booked all day every day and cannot schedule a meeting with me.
This methodology has been a huge time-saver for me, and has increased my productivity level between 80 and 90%!