View Full Version : Sort order for Outlook tasks
03-28-2007, 12:31 AM
I'm finding that looking at a long list of @computer, @office, @calls in Outlook is a bit overwhelming. Not that the list is long and I don't think I can do it, but with the various choices available I'm tending to rely on what is in my head to do rather than what is on my list.
At the moment things are ordered alphabetically. Most do not have dates (a few are date critical). With an alphabetical list I feel I need to scan everything to make sure nothing is missed.
What strategies do you use?
03-28-2007, 06:49 AM
You may find it helpful if you can sort on the order they were entered onto the list. Then you can identify items that are getting stale.
I also find my @Computer list to be too long to deal with. I break it down finer (such as @Computer/Outlook). This makes the lists shorter and has the added benefit that once I have one task from the list done, I'm already in the context and it's easy to shift to another @Computer/Outlook task without wading through other @Computer tasks that are not in Outlook.
03-28-2007, 07:20 AM
I put actions and events that are date critical on my calendar.
Everything in my @computer, @office, etc. are items that should be done as soon as possible but are not date specific. If at any point I make an agreement with myself or someone else to do one of these actions by a specific date, I move it to my calendar.
I also use my intuition on how far I should be in a project and sometimes will put an event in my calendar as a tickler to give myself confidence that I will pay particular attention to the status of a high priority project and its milestones. For example, I may put an event on my calendar "should have completed x part of project y by now". As I review my upcoming calendar items, I will see this event and do a quick check on how I am meeting that internal agreement with myself.
I regularly review my calendar throughout the day and my action items as necessary. I trust my head to review the actions list to determine priority and I am further confident in my decision on what to do next knowing my date sensitive items are already identified via the calendar.
We have been grappling with how to make the task list more accessible on a daily basis. With hundreds of items my eyes start to roll back in my head. A couple methods we have found useful is to either set due dates for tasks and the using the Customize Views--Filter--Advanced tab function, to filter only those tasks due today, or in the next 7 days. Still, that can dilute the power of the due dates for making sure date critical tasks get done.
Another approach we have used for whittling down the action lists is to use the Priority field. Setting all the items you think you might want to do as high priority, you can then use the Customize Views--Filter to show only high priority tasks. We typically do this to make a list of 10-20 action items that need attention today, print it out as sort of a daily menu for actions, and then remove the filter so that the whole task list is visible again by Category. The priority setting is no more than a flag really, but the advantage is it can be set from the task list, without individually opening each task. No perfect solution by any means, but it makes the Outlook tasks a bit more digestible on a daily basis.