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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.
It's absolutely fabulous to be able to go in and to flag items in your Inbox or your Contacts folder and automatically have them added to your To-Do List. But there's a special amazing attribute of tasks that you don't want to overlook. Tasks are items that you can delegate to others. So if I have some work in the enterprise that I need to have done maybe by somebody else, I'm sorting through my work and realizing that there is work that only I can do. But there are other tasks that could best be done by other people.
And if I create them as tasks, it's not only easy for me to delegate them, but I can also automatically get status updates on those tasks. So when I take a look at a piece of work that I'm accountable for, I have to make sure that it's done, but I am not necessarily the person needs to be doing it. I'm quickly going to turn that into a task and assign it to someone else. Let's take a look at this task Make bank deposit that's a recurring task. I actually would love to have somebody else do this. I'm a person who doesn't always go out for lunch on Friday, we have folks in the office who always go out for lunch and the bank is right next door, as soon as you walk out of the building, it's really easy to make the deposit.
Now I can't just have anybody do this because the deposit includes cash and there are policies about who can do this, but it's not hard for me to find somebody else that I can assign this task to. So I'm going to click Assign Task and I'm going to see if we can get Greg to work on this. He actually goes and runs every day. So this would be great. He could make the deposit on the way and if he had a problem, he could just keep running as quickly as he could. So what I've done because this is a recurring task is I have an option that says whenever this task is completed send me a status report.
And I'm going to go ahead and leave that checked. And I'm going to remove the Category. I am just going to clear that because this won't be Greg's category. And I am going to go ahead and I'm going to send this to him. And it notes that there won't be a reminder given to Greg, he will be able to set his own. That's fine. Now the icon that's here is actually an icon that shows a clipboard with me trying to hand it off to somebody else, you see this other person here. So there is the task and it's on the way and let see how that works. The next task I have is that we actually need to design a survey.
This needs to be completed really by about the 16th of January. That's a good Due date. The Start date though probably needs to be started way before then. So we will start it around there and end it around here and now all I need to do is find someone to work on this. Now if I am going to delegate this task, I might want to insert some items the same kind of items I could insert in anything else in Outlook. If I had a document that I wanted to attach, I could do that and send that along to the person I am going to assign this to, I could include some Outlook items anything else, I want pictures.
Once I have all the parts here that I'd like to send to this person, then all I need to do really is choose who I want to assign it to and in this case I'm going to see about assigning this to Olivia. Now when I assigned that recurring task to Greg, I didn't have a choice to keep an updated copy of the task in my Task list and the reason is that it's recurring. Outlook doesn't actually want to create different copies of this task in two places, on Greg's task list and on mine, but this task only exist once. So I have both of these choices Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list.
What that means is that if Olivia says that she will do this task and she starts working on it, then as she changes the Status from Not Started to In Progress or she changes the % Complete, I will actually see that after she saves it. And again as with the task that I'm trying to assign to Greg, when Olivia completes this task, I will get a Status report. So I am going to go ahead and send this as while. So now I have two tasks out searching for possible people who will complete them. So now let's go take a look and see what's actually happening on the other end.
We now know how we are going to delegate these tasks, easy enough to do. If I open one of these, here is the task that I have hopefully sent and it says I'm waiting for response from the recipient, from Olivia. So until I get some response from Olivia and from Greg, I actually don't get to move on with this process. So let's take a look at what it looks like for Olivia and Greg as they are receiving these tasks. So here we are in Olivia's Inbox and you'll see the Task Request from Judith about designing the survey.
You can tell it the Task Request because here's Judith's hand on the icon trying to hand it off to us. I am going to double-click to open this and Olivia can accept this or decline this. She doesn't even have to open it to do that. If she is showing the Preview panel, she can simply choose Accept or Decline here. But she might want to open it up and take a look and see if there is additional information, she might choose to categorize this herself or her own work and say oh! Well, this is actually none of the above. I might need to create a new category for this even. She might choose to set some additional information on it.
It's got currently a Start date of the 3rd and ending on the 16th but she might say no, I'm actually not going to start it till 5th, but I am still going to end it on the 16th, then I'd like reminder about it on the 4th, the day before I am actually going to start work. So, as Olivia accepts the task, she can also make sure that she is sending appropriate information about it. So she's going to go ahead on accept this. It will be moved into the Tasks folder. Does she want to edit the response? If she chooses to edit the response, then before it goes out, notice it's sent back to Judith who owned the task previously and say I look forward to this opportunity.
Thanks, Judith! And I'm going to go ahead and send this. Now let's go see what this looks like for Judith. We are back now in Judith's Inbox, notice that she has an email from Olivia that says the task has been accepted. Icon for the hand off with a clipboard has a check mark on it, a blue checkmark that says oh yeah that's done. And Olivia can double-click this and look at it. Yup! it's got a little text in it. Thanks, Judith! Looks good to me, okay fine! Now after Judith reads that and closes it, it disappears out of the Inbox because it's actually reflected back here on the Tasks list.
If she goes back in it where it says Design Survey for Northern California Expansion and opens this up, notice that it says that the new owner of this task is Olivia. Here's the text that was sent along with it. She can click on Details and notice that there's been no work actually assigned to this task yet. There are some views that you might find more useful than the simple tasks for you when you're working with a number of delegated items and that's for example the view of Assignment here. So I can change to a Detailed list view or I can change to a Forward looking view, next seven days or even to an Active tasks view and say, but I would like to see this by Assignment.
So the items that are assigned are here at the top first; this is actually had an assignment accepted. I could also if I wish, right-click and I could choose to add a new field to Field Chooser and that would be the Assigned To field and I can drag that up and add it here and notice that I can see that this was assigned to Greg, it hasn't been accepted yet and this was assigned to Olivia. So simply opening that Field Chooser and dropping that Assigned To field gives me some more information. When I open up this item from Olivia again, looks good.
She says she's going to start it on Thursday. She didn't actually tell me that in her text, but that's fine, Due date hasn't changed, I'm happy. So very easy to delegate the task, very easy to be able to track it and again if you're assigning several different items or even more than a couple, feel free to change to a view that's going to be very useful for you and if you want this Assigned To field in it again, just right-click, choose the Field Chooser and drag the Assigned To field out here and drop it into your view.
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