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Outlook … Not Just for Email! Using Your Outlook Tasks

Outlook … Not Just for Email! Using Your Outlook Tasks

Janet Barclay. MVA

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most widely used software programs for email, but if you’re only using it for email, you’re missing out on a great productivity tool! Here are a few ways you can use the Outlook Tasks feature to keep track of your to-do list.

Assign categories to your tasks.

If you have a lot of items on your task list (and who doesn’t!), you may have found that viewing them all on your screen is too overwhelming to be helpful. However, assigning an appropriate category to each task allows you to group similar tasks, such as telephone calls or errands, so you can look after several at the same time. You will likely want to create your own categories to replace or supplement the default categories supplied with the program.

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Enter deadlines and priorities for your tasks.

Outlook allows you to sort and view your tasks by category, priority, and/or due date, so entering this information will allow you to reap the benefits of using an electronic task manager over a paper to-do list.

Create a task from an email message.

Drag and drop a message from your Inbox onto the Tasks folder, to create a new Task. Edit the subject line and other details as needed, save the Task, and delete the message or move it to an appropriate folder. This is the electronic equivalent of taking a piece of paper out of your in tray, placing it in an action file on your desk, and adding it to your to-do list.

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Attach relevant files to your tasks.

Save time searching for information by attaching relevant documents to your Outlook Task for ready reference. With the Task open, simply click on Insert – File and browse to the appropriate file.

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Schedule time to complete your tasks.

To block time in your schedule to work on a task, drag and drop it to your calendar, and edit the date and times as needed. By scheduling the task on your calendar, you have made a commitment to get it done. This practice will also allow you to monitor how you are spending your time. It is recommended that you schedule time at the end of each week to plan your schedule for the following week.

About the Author

Janet Barclay offers a variety of professional quality services to support entrepreneurs and other individuals who are overwhelmed by the demands and technology of the 21st century. Visit for further information.

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