In the past days I was using Wunderlist for digitally managed my GTD tasks. Better explained, it was more like create a list with tasks, I switched from written tasks on paper to a digital system. In the past I tried different applications for managing my tasks. I switched from paid apps to free apps. The last paid app was Nozbe. It is also a good app. But the main reason why I switched was the missing integration with office365.
How do I manage my tasks and how will it help yours.
Microsoft ToDo is part of your Office 365 plan or you can create a personal account for free. You can install the app on all your devices (tablet and / or smartphone) and it is available in your windows 10 device. The app is also available via the browser.
Some things to keep in mind
- The beauty of the app is that it integrates and synchronizes with Outlook and recently also with Microsoft Planner.
- As a consultant and project manager I work for different costumers and I love to spilt my data and information for each costumer or technically spoken split in each tenant. In all other IOS apps from Microsoft there is a good way where you can access this data. But for ToDo you have to logoff and logon between tenants. On windows 10 and Android this is not a issue.
- On my IOS devices I solved this by using my personal account as primary, created a list work.
- Other way to help you with this is choosing the account where you keep the most actions and manage your email.
- I use template projects for different things. When I needed a list, I copy the list and give this list the correct names. To copy lists is only available from outlook and the Windows 10 app, not the iOS or Android app.
- Shared lists where you be invited for will not show in Outlook, only in ToDo. If you are the owner of a shared list, then it will be presented.
- Shared lists are only available with people in your organization. Private accounts can share lists with other private accounts.
Step 1 – Download the apps
As I wrote earlier, there are a few different ways to access To Do. You can also use the browser by accessing https://todo.microsoft.com or through application portal (https://portal.office.com).
Another option is to use the Outlook desktop app or find the app in your windows 10 start menu.
In the desktop app it is easy to flip between your different accounts, maybe you have one for work and one private.
Download links: iPhone and iPad, Android, and Windows 10
Step 2 – Get familiar
Get familiar with the way the information and tasks are organized.
My Day: – This is where the tasks that you add to your day will appear. You can use the lamp bulb for some automated suggestions.
Important: – If you mark a task as important it will appear here, you can create task directly here but I find it easier to organize if you put the task in a list and then add it as important.
Planned: – If a task has a due date. (yesterday, today or tomorrow it doesn’t matter) It will appear here, you can create task directly here, but I find it easier to organize if you put the task in a list and then add a due date
Assigned to you: – All assigned tasks from Planner and To Do will appear here. The tasks from Planner must be created in Planner.
Flagged emails: – All your flagged emails in outlook will appear here. Keep in mind, it are only the flagged emails that you flagged in your active tenant. So, when you flagged an email in another mailbox than you primary use. It will not appear here.
Tasks: – If you create a task outside any list (e.g., directly in Planned or Important) it will live in the tasks list. Until the task is not placed in a list it will be there. I used this as an “Inbox”. I create a task here and on a later stage I will organize this to the correct list.
Lists and Groups: – This is the place where you can have all your lists and groups. Groups are combination of different types of lists. You can combine these to organize the lists.
Step 3 – Set up lists and adding tasks
In every ToDo setup (personal and business) I have created my default lists and groups. They are based on the GTD best practices from David Allen.
For the projects that I have, I created a group, and in this group, I combined the lists for my projects.
Off course you can define your own list, but this is my best practice and easy to manage.
I have learned that if you type an emoji as the first thing in the list name that emoji will become the icon for the list. This is easy to recognize.
When the list is created there are a few settings you can change, I find these most interesting:
- Sorting order – How should the task be ordered; I prefer created date and then Select to order by due date.
- Hide complete task – If this is not checked all tasks you finished will be visible in the list, I’m not sure about you but I do not want to see old thing all the time.
- Schedule a weekly review – make a real appointment with yourself. Take 2 hours and review all your tasks, reflect your agenda, your inboxes and create tasks or check if they are still relevant.
- Use live titles on the windows start menu. In the latest version you can add more titles.
- Use Outlook for custom reminders. And your ToDo reminders will also be popping up on outlook.