You know, it seems almost old fashioned these days to not primarily be using a web or smartphone version of a mail app, or anything else, really.
Obviously, Gmail and the Google Docs started that trend to web-based apps being primary, and then Microsoft responded swiftly and smartly with their web (and smartphone) product line. And there are a ton of other web-based productivity tools out there, of course.
But, when I have a choice with Microsoft Office, I just can’t bring myself to use the web-based versions much. Rather, I am still obsessed with the desktop versions—the Windows desktop versions specifically.
For good reason of course, they are so incredibly feature-rich
compared to all other versions, and I use
a lot of those features.
Case in point. I use Quick Steps all the time in Windows desktop
Outlook. Probably 40 times a day. I’d feel super cramped without it. And it
does not exist anywhere else. Not in Mac desktop Outlook, not in Outlook
online, and of course not in the Outlook smartphone app.
About once a month I get a note from someone asking: “When are you going to show us how to use the new Microsoft To-Do with MYN or 1MTD?”
Well, for MYN, my short answer is: “not until they add a ton more features. And it may be a while, by the way.”
For 1MTD, there are some possibilities for partial or full use, but only if you are willing to use Outlook Online, or Outlook.com online, instead of desktop Outlook. And that’s not a glowing desire for most of my clients. (That said, I may write up those Outlook Online opportunities in a bit, just in case it helps you).
The main issue is this: Microsoft To-Do is designed for a different audience than my audience, and so it lacks some really important task management stuff that MYN (and 1MTD) users come to expect:
- There is no 3-level priority setting;
- there is no start date field;
- view filtering is very limited;
- there is no way to convert an email into a to-do from Desktop Outlook (online web version only);
- no categories;
- and no task assignment.
In terms of which of these features are really important,
the lack of 3-level prioritization kills it for both 1MTD and MYN, and the lack
of a start date field kills it for MYN.
The other deficiencies are unfortunate too because they lead
to greatly limiting your flexibility for sophisticated task management. You
see, I have a ton of optional task views and processes that I also teach, and
many people use, and they provide ways to take MYN and 1MTD to the next level.
They provide advanced users a way to really nail down their comprehensive daily
work management routines. But all those lacking features preclude you from making
As you probably know, I recommend using a single-folder
filing system to speed filing and finding mail. Typically, I recommend you
create a subfolder of the inbox and name it Processed Mail. Or, in newer copies
of Outlook, I recommend that you use the new Archive
folder and button that Microsoft provides in many recent versions of
Clearly, if you use such a single-folder approach, it’s
going to collect a lot of mail over time. And with the huge storage limits we
have these days on Exchange—50 GB in many cases—there seems to be no reason to not
let that single folder expand as much as needed. As long as you don’t exceed 50
GB total storage, why not simply let that folder grow?
Item Count Limits on
Well, it turns out that the Outlook system gets a bit cranky when single folders have too many items in them.
Starting immediately, if you own either of the Outlook Inbox video courses, you can purchase the MYN Outlook video course for roughly $65 off (new price: $235). To get to that price, log into your Ninja course, then go to this link.
There is a small amount of overlap between the two courses, and we wanted to adjust the price to give credit for that overlap.
Price reduction on Ninja Course for MYN Course owners
Also, if you already own the MYN Video Course, and would like to purchase either level of the Ninja course, then enter this coupon code MYNNIN when checking out and get $50 off your Ninja course purchase. Again, this is to give credit for the small amount of overlap between the two courses.
I read an interesting article today about how the prevalence of Burnout at work is getting out of control.
Almost no one will disagree with that, but it also reminded me that while nearly all of us really are overloaded, there are some overloaded people who don’t burn out. In fact, many of them have the gift of enjoying work, and life, in spite of their overwhelmed work demands: they are able to stay positive about it and above the fray.
There are, of course, a ton of ways to attain that positive view. Stress reduction, balanced life style, positive thinking, etc., all are good examples. But you need to add to that the following: effective management of your workday.
An “Ah ha” Experience
I want to reflect on an experience that I had the other day that’s illustrative of the latter of those as a way to avoid burnout.
As background, I recently wrote an article on how to dig out of an overloaded task list. I wrote it because I had allowed my own MYN task list to exceed the MYN/1MTD size limits (see that link for details), and it was bugging me: I was starting to feel overloaded.
So I followed my own recommendations, and worked to get my list under my recommended size limits. I ended up with fewer than 25 items in my entire visible task list. Fewer than 5 were critical and the rest were optional for the week (in 1MTD/MYN language, they were Opportunity Now tasks).
Have you ever been cc’d on an ongoing email conversation that seems to go on forever in Outlook and you don’t want future messages from the conversation clogging up your Inbox anymore?
There are two commands in Windows Outlook that can help you process these automatically, essentially stopping future messages in those conversations from entering your Inbox. They are the Ignore command and the Always Move command. One deletes the future messages, and the other moves them to another folder as they come in.
I’ve just made a new video that shows how to use these quick commands, it’s Lesson 1.13 in the Outlook Inbox Ninja Course, and it’s free to anyone who wants to watch it. Go to that link, scroll to Lesson 1.13, and watch it now.
Or if you prefer to read about this topic, the text below is a short subset of what’s in that new video lesson.
I just read an interesting and entertaining article about
how all to-do lists tend to get too long after only a few weeks or months of
use, and then we give up on them. It’s a funny and informative article, and it describes the problem well. However, I definitely don’t agree with the author’s solution (Sticky Notes—Really?). As a 1MTD or MYN user, you already have the solution.
But in any case, here’s the link to the article: https://medium.com/swlh/why-high-performers-dont-use-to-do-lists-5d298045444d. Perhaps the problem statement in that article resonates and inspires you to take action (just don’t get serious about his fix).
You Already Have the
Fix to an Overloaded To-Do List
You know, the thing is, both my 1MTD and MYN to-do list
systems solutions are designed from the ground-up to solve that overloaded-list
problem. In both 1MTD and MYN, the use of Urgency Zones and size-limits in each
zone are phenomenal solutions to the typically overloaded to-do list. And the
use of start dates in MYN takes it to the next level (if unsure about which
system to use, be sure to see my
recent article about the difference between 1MTD and MYN).
A Derailed System?
Now, even the best plans can get derailed, and even though you are using one of my systems, I bet many of you have more than 5 high priority items and more than 20 normal or medium priority items.
You probably know that I created and teach two task (to-do list) management systems: the One Minute To-Do list (1MTD) and Master Your Now (MYN).
The first, 1MTD, is a great starter system, and it’s “good enough” for many people to get control of work. It’s the topic of my book by the same name.
But MYN handles a lot
more tasks. You see, 1MTD normally gives out after you have more than about
100 total saved tasks. And that’s normally when I recommend moving to MYN.
But you can extend 1MTD, perhaps double its capacity, without moving to MYN, by using the lessons in the 1MTD Video Course (see Videos 9 and 10). Or by using the corresponding videos in the Outlook Inbox Ninja Tasks videos (Lessons 4.9 and 4.10). So definitely consider that if you aren’t ready to move up to MYN.
But really, MYN is by far the more sophisticated and useful system of the two, and that’s primarily because of its very powerful use of the Start Date field on tasks. It also takes a bit more study to learn.
What is it about using
the Start Date field that is so key?
Many people have used Outlook rules to automatically move incoming email to a folder. But there are a ton of other useful ways to use rules in Windows Desktop Outlook. In this article I’ll give an overview of 6 ways rules can help you. I’ll also tell you which lessons in the Outlook Inbox Ninja Video Course to watch if you want more details.
1. Moving Email Directly to a Folder
Anybody who uses Outlook rules probably does this. In fact, this is so popular that Outlook includes shortcut steps to set up such rules. See Lesson 2.4 for clear instructions of how to do this, including how to use the shortcuts.
2. Categorizing Incoming Email (and Leaving it in the Inbox)
Categorizing incoming email and leaving it in Inbox might be the most important new use of Outlook rules for anyone to learn. Why? Because doing this expands the range of email you can automatically apply rules to for auto-processing.
I have a pet peeve with newer versions of Outlook/Exchange. The default setting for these is to cache (or store) less mail locally, meaning when you scroll or search, only newer mail is shown and older mail may be completely excluded.
Well, it turns out there is a setting for this, a setting that allows you to store much more mail locally, which speeds up scrolling and shows more search returns.
Technically, it’s an easy way to directly control the Cached Exchange setting (expanding the OST cache).
But it’s actually a very easy and practical thing to do. I’ve created a new video in the Outlook Inbox Ninja Video Course that shows you how to do this—to expand how much mail you see at one time and improve search results. It’s Lesson 8.4, and it’s available to all paid users.
Go take a look!