This is a “how to guide” to creating and sorting your Outlook Tasks
If you have arrived at the point where you need to sort your life – well! Let’s start with creating and sorting your Outlook Tasks. I do know there are lots of softwares that will do this – at a cost. If you are a small business, or not quite sure you are ready for more costs.
Create a basic O365 task and sort into a business order
- Click Tasks> New Task or press Ctrl+Shift+K.
- In the Subject box, type a name for the task.
For Clients – I start with their name, then task: eg: Smith Family Trust (sometimes SFT), Monthly BAS, otherwise quick reference name: eg Dental Appointment – 3pm – take xxxx!
Details cans be put in the body of task. This can be as simple as an address for the first meeting, a name or some other clue or preliminary questions – whatever is on your mind that you want to be on your phone when you are out in the field!
The amount of detail probably depends on your screen real estate – so whether you are viewing on a tablet, laptop or big screen – or multiple screens. Personally, I like the big screen which has my emails on the left and the tasks on the right.
For clients I attend regularly I might have Client’s name eg: SFT – Wk 1 and when this is complete, move it forward to the Wk1 of the next month – DON’T DELETE, move it forward! This works well for Jobs – zGC (or zPSAR) and then reset for the approximate time (eg after payday) for approximately same time next year, set reminder for AT LEAST TWO WEEKS, IF NOT THE PREVIOUS VISIT, OR A FORTNIGHT BEFORE. You will have a specific category for this and you can review sometime in late May or early June to make sure it all falls into place.
So, to continue, add SFT – Wk 2 etc and date accordingly. Quite often there is a floating Wk 5 and could skip several months before it rears it’s head! Each week I might have a summary of tasks of basic things to be done – eg: make sure statements are sent.
- If there’s a fixed start or end date, set the Start date and Due date – at least put today’s date in for start date, secondly ALWAYS put a Due Date as this is a critical field for sorting to work – and your life to be sorted!
- Create & Set Category (harder at first but it gets easier!).. I use categories like: Jobs – IAS-BAS; Jobs – Super; Jobs – W/Comp – etc; Health; Dates (for birthdays or Christmas Parties!). Erands,
There are coloured categories – I would rename these first (they weren’t around when I first did mine). This list may evolve – mine is just an example which includes business and personal categories.
Here are some suggestions that have worked for me.
Jobs – 2FA
Jobs – IAS-BAS
Jobs – FBT
Jobs – Payroll Tax
Jobs – Reports
Jobs – Roll Data file 2018
Jobs – STP
Jobs – Super
Jobs – TPAR
Jobs – WC
Jobs – zPSAR
- Set the task’s priority by using Priority (fancy that!!)
“Must do for the day” = High,
“Would like to do for the day” = Normal and
“Hopeful” = Low,
A task will default to “normal”, again it is imperative to sorting functionality.
- Set Role – with nothing, 0,1,2 etc being highest – this is also a sorting necessity
- You can use the % complete – do so if you wish – you will need to add this to the sorting functionality if it is required – I don’t as I am continually moving the tasks forward to form a dynamic task list.
- If you want a pop-up reminder, check Reminder, and set the date and time. I would suggest don’t overuse these – a continual unnecessary dinging throughout the day can be a disruption.
I use these for things like a reminder to take “gym clothes” at 8am so that items leave the house with me (no kidding I rely on this list!)
- Click Task> Save & Close. See next article if you want to know how to sort – in a way that makes a world of difference
This is the Miscrosoft version if you need to go back to basics (or I have left too many details out!) Office 365 (Outlook 2013) – Create or edit a task – UW Knowledge Base
Now for the all important SORT AND VIEW:
- On the top Ribbon, Select “View Menu” then Select “View Settings”
- Select the “Columns” icon – make sure “All Task Fields” is selected instead of Frequently-used fields.
Then “add” from left hand menu and sort into this order: Icon, Categories, Priority, Role, Subject, Due Date – and move into this order (at least for starters)
- Then select the “Group By” Icon and select as follows:
- Then move on to “Sort”
Now, if you want all your tasks together, you can stop there, but I create a second “jobs” list by creating a second list – you can call it whatever you like (just be mindful Outlook will default to the “To Do List” – so make this one your priority.
- While on your Tasks Page, go to “My Tasks”, right click and add “New Group”
- Once you have created the new list, select the “Advanced” Tab, then select the categories you wish to have show in this second listing – as you can see, I selected all “job” related categories – which is why I put a “z” in front of my PSARs as I only look at them once a year!
- Customise your columns – You will find that some of your columns may not stay the way you want them… grrr!
So, pop into the “Format Columns” icon and play until your heart is content – remembering to first select the field on the left – MANY times I have changed the wrong one!
Sort your mail and tasks on one page