In February I have developed a (or better MY) way to handle all the tasks that come to my private and working life. I’ve created a routine within OneNote and Outlook to get things done. So in this 5 steps procedure I collect all my ToDos in OneNote and then assign Outlook task with it. (Re-Read the complete explanation here)
So after four months of keeping this workflow it is time to analyze the pros and cons and adjust it to get even more effective.
Start with everything!
In the beginning it was very hard to write down everything in OneNote and nowhere else. But if this system should work properly you have to do this, you have to collect every task and every piece of assignment into OneNote. So in my case I got lots of new pages in my ToDo/Inbox Section and the multi-Plattform usability of OneNote is so helpful for this. I’ve created pages/Infos not only on my PC, but also by using my smartphone (the handy OneNote-Badge on Android is very useful for this!). Somtimes I even used the „Send To“feature from the Edge-Browser to collect all things. I also sent important e-mails which required some actions afterwards to my OneNote.
So literally everything that could have become a task eventually was captured this way in OneNote.
Then sometimes I assigned the Outlook task immediatly, but more often I flick through the different pages and gave them a dedicated „Due-date“. This step is very important for me, as I can focus on the really important stuff and I have already prioritized the tasks. After that I put the pages into different sections. These are pretty static sections, but there are also „living sections“, depending on the projects I am working on. Thanks to OneNote this is very easy to accomplish and you can quickly create, rearrange and delete sections.
Now to the Outlook portion: I love to work with the tasks in Outlook (until there are too many to accomplish!), and although I had a look in other great ToDo-Apps like Wunderlist or Todist I stick to the old-fashioned Outlook-Taks-pane. There were two small problems I’ve experienced with this workflow: First, sometimes there were „empty tasks“. I mean, task, that were not linked to OneNote pages, because I accidently clicked the wrong way. Second: When you assign an Outlook task from OneNote, you get the link to the OneNote page (see screenshot). There you have to click open and confirm to open the OneNote page. This is pretty annoying, as it costs two more clicks to get back to the working space.
So far so good. The last step (5) was the one that I did not managed to keep going. And this is bad, really bad! Tasks without scheduling time is worth nothing! I often „forgot“ to put my tasks in my daily routine and therefore I was working on different tasks at once. The classical problem and the main reason to get nothing done… 😉
Fine Adjustments and some ideas
I would say that I have to add another, 6th step in the end: When I have finished a task I have to delete it within OneNote or drop it to the „Done“-Section if it is worth storing for documentation. I already do this with all the workshops and other events I am hosting and this is pretty impressive what sums up after years of working this way…
But all in all I have to say that this workflow DOES work for me and as I have a lot of different topics and „construction zones“ due to different areas of my professional life“ the structure and the sections are highly effective. As my main program is OneNote I am used to see through the pages every day and therefore nothing slips through…
After some months I will slightly adjust the workflow. I surely have to concentrate on step 5 to get a better daily routine (but this can wait as the holidays are just about to start!) I am also thinking about using the OneNote categories to tag the tasks and „cluster“ them a bit more. (Categories like: Computer work, e-mail,…)
Let’s see how can I further improve this idea. Do you have any suggestions?