When you use Outlook for work, you’ve probably made this choice due to corporate policies. Meanwhile you can power up your Outlook tasks with simple productivity add-ins that provide you with additional functionality to boost your productivity.
Even though Microsoft product range is constantly updated, 3rd party software developers still find and produce many Outlook tools to upgrade one of the most used corporate solutions.
It is surely hard to pick up the list of top 5 Outlook tools but we still made a try based on the functionality and the add-in simplicity.
Depending on what you want your Outlook to be able to do, you can use one of those add-ins or all of them together.
A couple of words about David Allen’s GTD method
When deciding what to start with, we all may resemble Shakespeare’s Hamlet with his somehow legit doubts:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
Hey, surely, ‘no more’! This is our choice when we speak of no more unprioritized tasks or no more missed deadlines, or no more pain in taking decisions. This is a poetic way to explain how GTD method was born as an attempt to shorten time from decision taking to productive activity.
As a business owner you have thought of how you can better control processes and tasks more than once so far, no doubt. Indeed, this is fundamental both for your personal efficiency, and for the business performance. We admit the direct correlation between the two parameters is perceivable as never in case of ownership so that is what we would like to talk about today.
Surely, this doesn’t mean you have to go into control-freak behavior. Being control-freak is uncontrollable obsessive-compulsive behavior itself which leads to another problem: how to control a control freak? On the contrary, expanding influence demands to delegate. Total control is counter-productive in this case. Having insight into the current state of things and using it for better planning seems to be much better strategy. What can be helpful for that?
Most of time management techniques are based on rational, intellectual and discipline issues. I couldn’t say it is bad, yet it lacks the intuitive component which we could use for efficient decision taking and planning. Moreover, it may turn out to be unproductive itself in case you ignore the intuitive and creative components when building your productivity strategy. Taking it into consideration, we made a small research on so-called do it tomorrow time management, and here is what we found out.
When you search for “CRM Outlook”, most often it’s about Microsoft Dynamics solution that is positioned as a single system for marketing, sales and support.
The solution is undoubtedly a part of Microsoft policy aimed at breaking up its product silos that has started some time ago and resulted in Windows 8 designed to be run on all MS devices, and the appearance of Windows phone, as well as MS Surface. This way, we will be able to speak of Microsoft environment, literally, where the user can switch from one activity to another and from one device to another – who knows.
If you already enjoy the advantages of Microsoft Office, most likely you already do all your planning in Outlook so our tips and tricks are right for you today. Do you sometimes fail to timely complete the task list you have created for yourself In Outlook? Do not get upset if you do. Even mature professionals experience this kind of trouble from time to time. Check those statements:
- I have a lot of tasks in my to-do list, I don’t know how to meet the deadlines for all of them
- Sometimes I have emergency rush with my tasks
- Sometimes I have to work late at night to get everything done on time
- I am constantly doing something yet often fall behind schedule
- I start doing something, and it’s only by the end of the day that I remember I forgot to do something important
This blog is a place where we have already spoken a lot about how to organise your Outlook for work projects including some GTD Outlook tools. Amongst many time management techniques we have always tried to find the best ones and put them into life. Of course, no way we can try to avoid the question: is there any ideal way to organise Outlook for GTD?
To answer this question, we should first admit, that life doesn’t consist of work 100%. Even so-called workaholics find time at least for going for sports. Cognitive psychology develops the idea that if you work most of the time, it leads to accumulating stress and lowers cognitive functions – at best.
In real life it can have much worse consequences. From this point of view, you should organise work-life balance is not only a part of your wellness, it is a way to boost your productivity.
Productivity would never be a problem if we could control the amount of incoming tasks. If only when you get another pile of tasks there was a pause to prioritize, manage and complete them. This would be easy. Yet real life sets its limits and the incoming emails with tasks keep coming while you still need to have enough time to read, prioritize and do what you have to. That is the root cause problem for many issues, from poor productivity to procrastination: when you simply are overwhelmed with tasks it’s hard to handle the pressure. The answer to the problem may lay in basic GTD principles applied to Outlook tasks.
TaskCracker team has recently made a briefing dedicated to how we all manage time. Our company is rather small, yet we achieve all necessary goals in our project management. We have put our ideas together in order to draw a kind of strategy we use with the help of our tool. We all use Outlook so those methods can be most useful in case you do too. Here are the ideas of how we do this – we hope our experience will help you achieve more in less time – the main purpose that TaskCracker is designed for.