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Rediscover the robust task management features in Microsoft Outlook 2010. Author Gini Courter explains the difference between Outlook tasks and To-Do Lists, and shows how to use Outlook 2010 to handle both business and personal schedules, from making appointments, to creating and completing tasks, to color-coding calendars and tasks for at-a-glance review.
Here we are in Outlook 2010, but before we begin dropping items onto our calendar or onto our Tasks List, let's spend a moment thinking about what's the efficient way to capture our work and our intent to work in Microsoft Outlook. Many time management experts agree that it's important for you to set a threshold about what goes on your calendar and what goes on your Task List. So for example, if your threshold is 15 minutes, then anytime you have an item that will take you more than 15 minutes, you will automatically put that item on your calendar as an appointment.
I have set my time threshold for 30 minutes. If something is going to take 30 minutes or more, then it's going to go on my calendar and I don't spend a lot of time wondering, will it take 25 minutes or 30 minutes. If it gets close to 30 minutes it goes on my calendar. Additionally, you can make the case that any item that has a deadline also belongs on your calendar, it doesn't belong on your Tasks List, so that the day that you have that item coming due that deadline is on your calendar, even if the item itself only takes ten minutes. So items that are over your time threshold, whether it's 15 minutes, 30 minutes or another figure, I have a friend who works for Microsoft whose time threshold is six minutes.
If it takes six minutes or more, then Curtis puts it on his calendar, or any item that has a deadline it's going to go on my calendar as well. So if we look at my calendar you'll see here is a deadline, the CDs have to be mailed by the 30th, so it's right here. And then any other item that I look at, these are all going to take at least 30 minutes or they wouldn't be here. The second possibility is items that are under the time threshold. So if I have a task that's going to take me simply ten minutes or with my threshold 20 minutes, 15 minutes, I'm going to go ahead and throw that into my Task List.
They are more flexible than calendar appointment. So if I put something in my Tasks List, this becomes the list of things that I look at during the day and say, do I have time to pick up a couple of these items and do them. They are not on fixed points in the calendar, they don't claim time in the same way. So anything that I have that's under my 30-minute threshold or under whatever threshold you set; 30 minutes, 50 minutes or for my friend Curtis four minutes, those items are going to be created here as tasks on the Task List.
Finally, the third possibility is that I have something that just doesn't take any time at all. For example, something that will take less than five minutes, and the rule on that is, just do it now and get it out of the way. Unless there is a compelling reason that you can't do it immediately, for example, you're waiting on some information from someone else or the person you need to contact won't be available until next week, but other than that try to take these items that are less than five minutes and simply get them out of the way. Now if you want to track when you did them that might be a good reason to simply put these on your Task List, so you can mark them as complete, something that we will look at later in this course.
But the general rule is five minutes or less, do it now. More than five minutes but under the time threshold, create a task for the item. Over the time threshold, whether your threshold is 15 or 30 minutes or something that has a fixed deadline that item goes on your calendar in Microsoft Outlook.
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