Tasks are meant to be a helpful piece of the productivity puzzle, but managing them sometimes becomes an unproductive task in and of itself. This problem becomes particularly acute when many or most of your tasks are essentially emails in your inbox that you can’t get to right away. Different email platforms have different systems for making these emails-turned-tasks somewhat manageable, but not many of them are optimal. If you use Outlook as your email client, software solutions such as TaskCracker offers a compelling solution to this problem. Is your Outlook inbox filled with emails that you can’t delete just yet? Often those emails have important tasks, approvals and decisions that you are going to need in the future. As a result, your inbox is constantly full and cluttered, which is counter-intuitive to productivity. Outlook’s standard To-Do List is not helpful at all. This situation can happen even if you use the Inbox Zero productivity technique. Then you have an option to defer the email, but when your inbox has too many deferred emails in it, the technique is compromised.
Folders Aren’t the Answer
You may do like many others do and use different folders for these emails, but this proves to be impractical because of the time it takes to organize the emails this way and the fact that the resulting folder doesn’t push you to any activity. All this does is create a separate file of emails, and doesn’t do much to help with your tasks. Outlook has a built in follow-up option that automatically places an email on your task list, allowing you to organize the email like any other task. This is a good first step, but it still leaves the issue of organizing the tasks and assigning action steps, which is the biggest chink of time in the entire process. TaskCracker attempts to solve this problem for you. This is an Outlook add-on that installs in less than 30 seconds and presents your task list in a visual matrix. The important emails that you’ve sent to your task list by marking them with the follow-up flag can be moved around this matrix with your mouse. It will only take you a couple of minutes to drag and drop your tasks around, and assign the appropriate priority and deadline, as the video below shows.
Manage Outlook Tasks visually with TaskCracker The simple grid layout combined with drag-and-drop organization makes TaskCracker a simple but powerful tool in your task managing toolbox. Once you have your task list organized visually, the important emails are transformed into properly prioritized tasks. Then you can easily deal with new incoming emails in the Inbox Zero method: Delete, Delegate, Respond, Defer, or Do. TaskCracker takes your Outlook task management to a new level to make you more productive. While TaskCracker looks simple, it actually unites several well known and proven productivity techniques: Eisenhower matrix, Inbox Zero, Getting Things Done, and First Things First. On the TaskCracker website you can find out more about those techniques and how to apply them to your Outlook tasks.
Very cool, I wasn’t aware of these capabiliies previously. Thanks for sharing, Wally.