Getting Ready to Take Care of Business - Figuring Out What Needs to be Done
The first thing you should do, before beginning to track your tasks in Outlook, is perform a complete brain dump. Write down everything that you feel you need to accomplish - from the minute to the grand. You can do this two ways - you can either create a new note in Outlook to catch all of your thoughts about what needs doing, or you can enter each in as a task - uncategorized. There are also two ways to do this: You can enter the tasks in on the "To Do Bar" underneath your calendar on the right hand side of the screen. Simply enter in each item and hit "enter. Alternatively, in the tasks folder, you can enter each item individually and hit enter. Wait until you've entered all tasks before moving on to the next step.
Once you've emptied your brain - at least for now - into Outlook, and assuming you also use Outlook to manage your email, go through your emails to see if there are any tasks there you need to complete. There are a number of ways to track email tasks, but here are the two most efficient:
- Hand key in the task in the "to-do bar" if you don't need any additional information from the email.
- Right click on the email, select "move to folder" and select your tasks folder.
Complete this for all mail and RSS feed items before moving on to the next step. It may take a while to complete these first steps, but once you do, it will be well-worth your time. Additionally, you should go through your voice mail and your paper inbox to clear up any other tasks you may have forgotten. Don't forget to include due dates for anything that has a deadline.
As a final word of advice before moving on, anything you find that will take under two minutes to complete, go ahead and complete these. It's amazing how many quick tasks there are that will whittle your tasks down..