Outlook tasks and project information

edited December 1969 in TRO General Discussion

I am working through the system- after spending a weekend day purging my home office (I still have boxes of stuff around, but a clean and working desk now) I found that I got more done at work in the next several days than I would expect to get done (i.e. completed) in a few weeks. After the initial rush, I am trying to settle down and make it into a stable approach for myself.
I have a quick question about any suggestions you might have for using Outlook for tasks and projects. I find that a lot of my tasks are actually projects. I may add some notes to the task, often there is ancillary material like a word document etc that goes along with it in the form of a link. If I complete the task, then I don't have the info for a new task. Two workarounds are simply to copy all of that material into a new task, or erase the subject and replace it with the new task and change dates etc. Or else I can not try to integrate it at all. With a large number of projects, it would be nice to have it flow without effort. Any tricks that you might suggest?


  • Mike,

    The Deferring lesson explains how to do this. You use the task description as the Project name, and add the next action to the end of it:

    Remodel bathroom - Call plumber

    Then add future next actions and notes in the Notes field of the task (including documents or links to documents, just copy and paste). The task record really becomes a project record this way, but you still see the next action. It sounds clunky at first, but in practice it is very time-effective. All those future next actions should not be carefully arranged in advance in most cases because things are more fluid than that--priorities shift quickly.

    There are some other important rules about how to process and defer when doing this, follow that lesson carefully to make sure you get it right.

    BTW, may we quote you (your comments below)? Is there a URL/web site/LinkedIn profile you'd like us to link to with your comment?

    You could also just reference the document in the notes and use Google Desktop to quickly bring it up when yo need it. A lot of this is explained in the lessons.
  • Sure, feel free to quote me, it is about another week and I am sputtering a bit, but the focus remains on the work and not on the software itself. In that regard, I am glad to be out of the "cult" that spends an inordinate amount of time discussing the ultimate sofware or what is new this week, etc. I admit that I do find myself playing a bit with organizing tasks, files, etc, but I realize that is playing, and almost beside the point. It is enjoyable to be able to have tasks appear on schedule and slap them into the day's calendar, even if I do not get through everything or put some stuff off until a future date, it is a conscious decision and I find myself calmer (at least in relation to this!) than before. I still fret a bit about future obligations and double check to make sure that everything is there, but it seems to be a solid approach that I am still fitting to myself and I might even trust it in time ;D.
  • You might take a look at OneNote 2007, which you may find to be an incredible tool to add to your arsenal. The fact that is has some really nice integration to Outlook 2007 garners my vote.

    Anyone else have any experience using OneNote in a TRO environment?
  • I too sometimes have a large amount of project support material that can be spread across multiple projects.  If it is material provided by third parties, such as file layouts, web interface documentation, etc., I store it in a sub-folder in My Documents\ClientName\General Category or Source.  I then reference it in my project task notes using [..\xx\yy] where "..\" means it's under the client folder in the \xx folder.  I may also create a hyperlink to the actual file instead of just referencing a folder.  It just depends on whether or not I'll know what I need to look at in that folder.

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