Welcome to Microsoft Outlook Productivity Blog
Here you can find Outlook Tasks tips, Outlook productivity lifehacks, Outlook Time Management methods. Should you have any questions/suggestions, feel free to share - firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Inspired by the best time management practices, TaskCracker offers visual Outlook task management features on MS Surface Pro tablets.
If you’ve ever tried to use Outlook on MS Surface Pro for planning, you have probably had the same question as we have: if everything has become so visual why MS Office applications, and notably Outlook, still require a keyboard and a mouse for better use?
That issue had its share at our recent scrum meetings. As the result, we now proudly present the new feature: TaskCracker now offers you the possibility to comfortably use touchscreen for visual Outlook tasks planning, notably on Surface Pro tablet.
How to make your team members spend their time more efficiently and get things done faster? Is it possible to supervise each one’s personal agenda without falling into micromanagement? Is it possible to share your time management skills with everyone on your team? The answer to the three questions above is “Yes” with the new Microsoft Outlook add-in named TaskCracker.
It’s not always quite possible to convey priorities to everyone on your team. No matter what the reason is: whether you lack some communicative skills or you’re simply short of time and you need the work to be done right now. We don’t overestimate the necessity to communicate your general idea about your goals to your team. Anyways, you remember the song: little less conversation, little more action please. When you want your tasks to be put into action quicker, you might consider using TaskCracker for everyone on your team. This Outlook add-in is specially designed to help everyone set priorities visually and speedily.
We all get tons of emails. Although there are some useful tools for coping with this flow, such as color coding and follow-ups inside Outlook itself, they are not always helpful enough. The problem is that when the amount of emails is really huge, these tools do not help at all. Follow-ups turn red one after another and sooner or later you are facing a red list full of alerts – simply because you don’t have enough time to deal with everything.
Stressful, isn’t it? And that’s not the problem of time or the amount of work. It’s just that plain Outlook task list is not built to help you cope with lots of emails and tasks. This situation only grows worse in our fast and furious business environment. So we have to deal with it and find ourselves better ways to keep being the best, no matter how hard the life is. Good thing is that solution isn’t even round the corner, it’s in this text!
The Urgent-Important method for task management has gained its popularity in the 90s with the publication of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, book by Stephen Covey. Since then it has been one of the most popular techniques that you first think of when it comes to productivity and task management. How to apply it in Microsoft Outlook?
The key idea of this method can be put rather simply: when prioritizing your tasks you need to keep in mind two things – task urgency and task importance.
The trap here is that really important tasks are rarely urgent, meanwhile urgent tasks are not necessary important.
Thus you should not spend a lot of time on urgent but not important tasks that prevent you from reaching your goals, and concentrate on really important tasks.
Those tasks help you achieve your long-term objectives. This way, you separate important things from distracting activities.
I would be glad if this post helps somebody, as I myself had to spend quite a while to find a reliable alternative to Franklin Covey PlanPlus for Outlook. Though it is a great application, it is good to have choice.
Recent system updates and new Windows 7 and Outlook 2010 releases have resulted in problems with a number of Outlook tasks applications. The delicate situation has not pass by PlanPlus and the Internet has aroused the issue of trouble that the application has when working on the new platform. Even though the application offers a thorough set of business features, and it has special solutions for BlackBerry, users started to surf in search of alternatives. So did I.
Use visual matrix for Outlook tasks
Have you noticed that inspite the fact that Outlook is a rather common organizer, we still use so many post-it paper all over our house and office, sometimes use whiteboard or the white surface of the fridge to pull our ideas together or not to forget something? It’s because we analyze information better when it is presented visually – simply our thought works quicker. From this point of view, lists of tasks are ok when you start completing them, yet planning is better done on visual models. That is one of the reasons TaskCracker boosts our productivity and saves time on daily and weekly planning: that is a simple add-in that expands your Outlook features and takes it to a new level.
The great book dedicated to task management and named First Things First appeared in 1994. It was made in a self-help format by famous Stephen Covey in association with A.Roger and Rebecca R. Merill. Since then the book has become some kind of technology cult for knowledge workers, not only in management and IT industry, but in many areas of work and personal activity. The principles, which are perfectly described in this book, help our team every day in development of our product and improving of our holistic work-life balance. That is why we gladly share our experience in this post and welcome you to join us in a better-productivity lifestyle.