Manage your tasks in Microsoft 365
Editor’s note: This article was published in 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of February 2021.
Using multiple sources like your email inbox, a physical notepad, a digital notepad like OneNote, and sticky notes for your task lists can cause a headache. This method requires us to divide our attention amongst many sources and can lead to missed deadlines and a general sense of dread towards our to do list.
By using one centralized list to capture your tasks in one location, you’ll have one place to reference and one source of truth for your tasks. Microsoft makes this possible, and easy, with their task management application Microsoft To Do. This application works with Microsoft Planner and Outlook to integrate all your tasks into one single pane of glass.
A great general rule of thumb for managing tasks: Do it now, do it next, or do it later. If the task takes 5 – 10 minutes, do it now. If the task requires more time, preparation, or is dependent on another task, schedule it for next or for later. To keep track of those next and later tasks, I recommend using Microsoft To Do.
Microsoft To Do
Microsoft To Do includes task management features that just can’t be done with a paper notepad. To Do allows you to create, categorize, prioritize, and assign tasks. Even more, you can add notes, files, and due dates to equip yourself with all the information you need to get your tasks done.
Access Microsoft To Do
First, let’s make sure you know how to access Microsoft To Do. Navigate to Portal.office.com and select Microsoft To Do. You can continue to use the browser version or download the app. SUCCESS recommends downloading the app so you have access to the entire feature set.
Now that you have the application download, let’s start adding your tasks! Adding a task in this program is simple. Just follow along in the video below. Once you add your task, you’re presented with several different options to help organize and schedule your tasks, such as:
- Setting a due date
- Setting a frequency
- Adding a file to reference or note
- Adding steps
- Assigning to a colleague
Many times, we have tasks related to projects or certain areas of our work. Microsoft To Do helps you categorize your tasks with the lists option. This feature keeps count of the tasks in each list so you can see a high-level view of which area of your work needs the most attention.
Keep track of those tasks that you absolutely can’t miss by flagging them as important. All your important tasks can be viewed in the tab labeled “important” – providing a high-level view of all those imperative responsibilities you can’t miss.
Build out your day
Plan out your tasks for the day using the “My day” tab. Click into the tasks you want to add to your list for the day and select “Add to my day.” As you finish tasks throughout the day, check them off. This is a great way to take your overwhelming task list and narrow it down.
View your assigned tasks from Planner
Microsoft To Do integrates with Microsoft Planner – providing you an aggregated view of all your assigned tasks across multiple project plans. To view your assigned tasks, click on the “Assigned to you” tab on the left menu.
Create tasks from your flagged emails
Flagging emails to follow up can work until they become so buried in your inbox that you miss them. This app integrates with your Outlook to create tasks from your flagged emails. Click into each task generated from a flagged email to add it to your day or add a due date. This program also displays a preview of the email and an option to open the email in Outlook.
View upcoming tasks that are due
Microsoft To Do collects all your scheduled tasks and displays them in one tab named “Planned.” This allows you to view all your upcoming tasks that are due and keep tabs on any that are overdue.
Create tasks from Microsoft Teams chats and conversations
Download the tasks app in Microsoft Teams to create a task from any chat or conversation. By downloading the tasks app, you can take any @mention or chat message and create a task for it right form Microsoft Teams. Watch the video below to learn how to add the tasks app, create a task from a message, and view it in Microsoft To Do.
Future of tasks in Microsoft 365
The future of task management in Microsoft 365 looks bright. Microsoft has announced a new feature called “Tasks in Teams,” which will consolidate personal tasks from To Do, Teams Channels, Planner, and Outlook Tasks into a single view in Microsoft Teams. This feature is expected to be available in the summer of 2020.
Microsoft To Do makes task management simple, bringing all your tasks into one centralized workspace. The good news? It’s likely already part of your Microsoft 365 subscription. Click here to view The Microsoft 365 suites that include the licenses needed to use this Microsoft feature with a work or school account. For any further questions on the subject, visit SUCCESS Computer Consulting’s website.