You’ll Never Get the Things You Want Done…Without Being Reminded

How “Outlook Tasks” Can Help You Accomplish This

Organization can be difficult to achieve. One monkey wrench that regularly gets thrown into the organizational machine is forgetting things. This can be costly when it’s a meeting with a customer or a deadline for a proposal that’s missed.

Too many things bouncing around in our head at one time, makes us more likely to forget things.

Over the past several weeks we’ve discussed the system I use for scheduling my time and organizing my tasks. There were two main focuses.

The reasons for having a system –

The tools I use –

Now we’ll look at the third tool – Outlook Tasks. This is a separate function from the calendar in Outlook. On the surface, using Tasks in Outlook seems redundant to having lists in OneNote.

I shared how I use OneNote for collecting and sharing information. It is great for this. It’s easier to move things around when reviewing and prioritizing lists. Not to mention you can draw, record video, record audio, and a whole lot of other things that you can’t do in Outlook Tasks.

Next was how I used Outlook Calendar to block out and schedule my time. The benefits of a calendar, whether digital or written is allotting time for tasks. One thing written calendars and Tasks in OneNote don’t do is remind you of upcoming appointments and things on the to do list that need done.

Reminders are the game changer.

In Outlook, both calendar events and tasks can have reminders scheduled…there’s some reminders now. As I writing this a reminder alarm sounded and a window popped up on the screen. Now it’s up to me to determine what to do with these reminders.

One is a recurring meeting with myself coming up in 15 minutes (snoozed it until 5 minutes before). Two are action list reminders (snoozed for 15 minutes). Any of these reminders can be snoozed for a specific period of time or dismissed to be rescheduled later.

When I’m in the middle of doing focused work like preparing proposals for construction projects or writing a blog post, etc. It’s easy for me to lose track of time and forget things. Reminders help prevent that.

Outlook Tasks will connect with the other tools in my scheduling system.

All the tools in this system have specific functions that only they serve. At the same time, they all support the other and work together. (There’s the reminder again. Am I going to snooze them again or take a break from writing? I’m going to pause my writing and come back to it. I have another meeting coming up in 30 minutes.)

Here I am, back to writing. I only have a short amount of time to write before I need to go home to watch the Camping World Truck race that’s on this evening. Another thing that’s scheduled on the calendar.

I can set reminders in Outlook Tasks to be one and done or recurring at specific times and days. I can embed links in the tasks directly to action lists in OneNote. This way when a task reminder comes up, I can open it, click on the link and go directly to OneNote to that specific list.

I know all that scheduling and planning can seem overwhelming and it can be. You can decide if or how much scheduling and planning you will do. Not doing anything will leave you drifting through life with no clear destination. Having a system in place with reminders both for prioritizing and allotting time, will help you get things done.

Are you going to be in control of your life or is it going to be in control of you?

How To Get Control Of Your Life

Budget Your Time…You Have a Limited Amount

For years I have heard people express frustration with organizing and managing their schedules and “to do” lists. For years I was one of those people. These issues are multiplied when running a business.

Not that I have it all figured out but, I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

The question of what the best tool to use to manage scheduling and “to do” lists, has come up a lot lately. Most people are looking for a simple app or tool that will magically do it all.

There is nothing that will miraculously do this for you.

I’ve been refining my scheduling system for decades. Trying different things, starting with paper calendars, notebooks and notes on scrap paper. Now it’s all on my computer. I like my system way better now than before (I still use some paper for quick notes). However, it doesn’t do the work without my involvement.

Here’s the thing, most of us have way more things on our lists than there is time to get them done. Or we forget to do something because it wasn’t written down. Or the paper it was written on got lost in a stack of papers. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget or misplace reminders.

Keeping track of things is the most important part of being organized.

We naturally want order in our lives. We want to be in control. The problem is we live in a world of chaos. Organization is a weapon to fight against the chaos. The more organized we are the less chaos there is.

What does organization look like? According to Webster, organization is, “the act or process of organizing or being organized.” Organize is, “to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole, to arrange by systematic planning and united effort.” This sounds good to me.

Having OCD, Organizational Compulsive Disorder, I organize at a level more intense and detailed than most.

My system works for me. This doesn’t mean that everyone’s has to be at this level. Some people feel restricted by a schedule. Just like some people feel that a budget restricts them financially.

I find both to be freeing.

My detailed system allows me to know what to expect. Not to mention it keeps me motivated to get more done. I used to struggle to determine what thing should be done next.

It is a combination of lists and calendars. My “to do” lists are a place to write things down so that they aren’t forgotten. I then prioritize the things that need to be done to reach goals. Each task gets an amount of time and then put on the calendar. The calendar allows me to see the tasks as a block of time and not just an item on a list.

A calendar works like a “budget” for time.

It is easy to let things slide if you aren’t intentional about planning. The most important thing is to know yourself and figure out what works for you.

Next week I will open up my toolbox and show you the tools I use to keep control of my life and minimize the chaos.