Toodledo Redesign Leads to Better Smartphone Use

Nov 26, 2015

The Toodledo folks announced yesterday that part 5 of their redesign is completed. There is more to come but this is an important milestone because apparently most of the obvious and large user interface changes are complete with this phase. You can read about the latest changes made here.

All the changes that have accumulated over the last few months seem really good to me. They make the software controls more nimble and less “noisy” on the screen, but still just as functional. I think the overall appearance is better too.

Major Benefit: Website “Fits” on Smartphones

Without going into all the major changes, let me mention what I think is the most important benefit of the changes: if you run Toodledo in a smartphone web browser (Safari on iPhone, Chrome on Android, and so on), and your screen size is reasonably large, you can see enough of your tasks and major controls to use Toodledo quite nicely.    Continue reading

Best Smartphone Mail Apps for Use with MYN and 1MTD

Nov 11, 2015  [this is a complete update to a older Dec 4 2014 post]

As you know, I have two primary recommendations in MYN and 1MTD for keeping e-mail under control:

  1. Convert action emails into tasks.
  2. Empty your inbox into a single folder (for speed) and use Categories in Outlook to group your mail by topic when needed.

Unfortunately, none of the native mail apps on either iOS and Android have the ability to assign categories or convert emails to tasks. Nor does Microsoft’s Outlook smartphone app, which is surprising.

But there’s an app that can do both of these on the iPhone or Android: and it’s called TouchDown, and it’s marketed by Symantec. It’s only for users with an Exchange Server (e.g. for those in a corporate environment or for individuals using Office 365 with Exchange).

I’ve been recommending TouchDown for years on Android, but up until recently I thought its iPhone version was too immature—however, as of the past year or so it’s e-mail module is ready to recommend. It also comes with good Calendar and Contacts modules that sync with Exchange.

These are very unique apps

There are very few e-mail apps on iPhone and Android that can both assign or view Outlook categories on smartphone mail and convert e-mails to tasks—even Microsoft’s apps can’t do this. (I am told that on Android another app called Nine can do this too, but I have not tested it. And I was just told in comments that Mail+ for iPhone by “iKonic apps” can do this too, again, not tested by us yet). So these TouchDown apps are very good for MYN and 1MTD users. I covered the Android TouchDown app well here, so in the rest of this article I want to focus mostly on the iPhone/iOS app. Continue reading

Lots of Issues with new Surface Book

Nov 1, 2015

There are lots of reports in the technology press about lots of problems with the new Surface Book. Here is one such article:

That article was from 5 days ago and most of those bugs are still present (I know, I have one).

I suppose this is inevitable with such a new product and OS. Heck, even Apple has lots of these:  when I upgraded to iOS 9 on my iPhone 6 last month it led to tons of bugs on my iPhone that took weeks to finally fix with the release of iOS 9.1.

The Surface Book issues almost all seem like software issues, so auto-updates should take care of them. But you may want to wait a while before getting one if you were thinking about it.


Common Start Date Misunderstanding in MYN

Nov 1, 2015

You probably know that the main difference between the two task systems I teach: the MYN system and the One Minute To-Do List system (1MTD), is that MYN uses start dates on all tasks. This use of start dates in MYN leads to a ton of advantages such as keeping your visible list shorter, setting follow-up tasks, and using Defer-to-Review to keep your low priority (Over-the-Horizon) list well under control. It makes MYN a much more powerful system and one capable of handling a lot more tasks.

But again and again as I teach MYN in person, I see an initial “misunderstanding” crop up about how to set start dates, and I want to cover the solution to that misunderstanding here in case it affects you. Here is how this problem usually shows up.    Continue reading

Continuing UI Changes in Toodledo

November 1, 2015

As I reported about a month ago, the Toodledo web application is undergoing major User Interface (UI) changes, all of them good in my opinion. They are rolling those changes out in stages, and the latest changes were released a few days ago and described here:

The Toodledo team still has more UI changes that they plan to make in the weeks ahead. Once the UI changes have settled down, I am going to update the Toodledo MYN and 1MTD video classes to reflect them. But there is no sense in me doing that until all those changes settle down, so be patient.


Some Trusted Reviews of the new Surface Book and Surface Pro 4

October 21, 2015 [updated Oct 22, 2015]

Microsoft’s new PC hardware is extremely important to productivity users because they highlight the new Windows 10 productivity features, and many of you may be ready for a laptop or tablet upgrade.

So I am very interested in the reviews about this hardware—should productivity users invest in them? I read hardware reviews with a lot of care, mostly because they are too often slanted by the whims of the reviewers. So I try to find writers I trust when I recommend a review to my readers. Here are a number of writers I trust and their reviews of the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4. I am emphasizing the Surface Book reviews since it is such a new design.    Continue reading

Office 2016 Upgrade Questions Answered

Oct 15, 2015

Some users are struggling to get their Outlook 2016 upgrade. First, I see no reason to rush; but still, some users are excited. Here is an article that explains why some are able to upgrade, but others not, and what to do about it.


Should Voicemail be Eliminated?

Oct 9 2015

I much prefer that my business contacts e-mail me rather than leave a voicemail. That way I can scan their messages more quickly. In fact, if I call someone and get their voicemail, I rarely leave one; I usually jump into e-mail and send them a message.

I am not alone. According to this article, some companies are even turning off voicemail. The article goes on to list reasons not to use it.

Now, all that said, I do approve of Unified voicemail, where the voicemail at least goes into your e-mail Inbox as a recorded attachment. That way once I listen and get a gist of the request, I can convert it to a task in my 1MTD or MYN system and prioritize my action on it, and easily re-listen later when I need to take action.

And I feel there are times it is just quicker to use a voicemail to describe some complex issues, and to express my tone of voice better.

What do you think? Let me know in comments.



Outlook 2016 and MYN/1MTD Support

October 7, 2015 [Updated Oct 11, 2015]

A few MYN and 1MTD users have started to update to Outlook 2016 so I thought I’d better chime in on our support for this new version of Outlook.

Windows Outlook 2016

I’ve been using Windows Outlook 2016 for about a 6 weeks now and like it, but it’s not a major upgrade. Outlook 2016 for Windows does have a few new interesting features. My favorites are the potential of its Groups feature, and the new ability to attach documents as links into OneDrive. One new feature I don’t like is the Clutter folder. It promises to filter out e-mail clutter automatically, but I don’t trust auto-filtering and prefer to set up my own Outlook rules to filter mail.

There are a lot more beneath-the-surface changes, but really Outlook 2016 is mostly just like Outlook 2013, and when using the Windows Outlook 2016 desktop application for MYN or 1MTD, just use all of our Outlook 2013 instructions for it. The Tasks module is essentially identical to Outlook 2013, so all Outlook 2013 MYN and 1MTD instructions apply—just follow our writings and videos on that.

Windows users, note that you need Exchange 2010 or newer for Outlook 2016, so check that before upgrading Outlook.

Mac Users, Caution on Upgrade!

The Mac version of Outlook 2016 has a few improvements compared to Outlook 2011 for Mac. However, in some installs it is broken in a few critical ways that mean it will not work for MYN or 1MTD. So if you are using Outlook 2011 and are considering upgrading to Outlook 2016 for Mac to use it with MYN or 1MTD task management, we recommend you upgrade with caution, leaving a way to roll back to the previous version (2011) should problems arise.

What’s wrong with the Mac Outlook 2016 version?

  • On most installs the Scripts menu is missing so you cannot convert emails into tasks. More on this here and here. [update: some users apparently are able to see the Scripts menu, see discussion in comments below]
  • And a reader named John posted the following: “Just upgraded to Office 2016 for Mac and the smart folders for tasks are not working properly. Specifically, when adding a new smart folder, setting the “Within Last” date field will not include tasks created and dated on the current date. This means you will only see tasks with a start date of yesterday and prior – those entered today will not show up until tomorrow. ” [Note: We have not been able to duplicate that issue, so keep an eye open in your copy in case this problem shows up--Michael].

Also, as with the Windows version, Outlook for Mac 2016 will not run with Exchange 2007 or earlier. Lot’s of organizations are still wed to Exchange 2007, so investigate what version your org has before upgrading Outlook.

Their are some hacks to reinstall the Scripts menu (see comment discussion below), but we are not a fan of hacks, and apparently it was removed for security reasons, so you might not want to add it back even if you can hack it back in. That said, some users apparently have no problem seeing the Scripts menu. And we are still not sure what’s going on with the smart folders and couldn’t duplicate the issue. So apparently some users will be okay with Outlook 2016 for Mac and some not okay. Let us know in comments below how it goes with your install and with the MYN settings.

Of course, if you are only using the Mail, People, and Calendar functions on the Mac Outlook application (and not Tasks), feel free to upgrade to Outlook Mac 2016, and then use Toodledo for MYN or 1MTD task management. You can always convert Outlook 2016 emails into Toodledo tasks. In fact, maybe these Outlook 2016 for Mac task issues will give you reasons to consider switching from Outlook tasks to Toodledo tasks.


Thoughts about the New Surface Pro 4 and the New Surface Book

Oct. 7, 2015

You may have seen the product announcements from Microsoft yesterday including the new Surface Pro 4, and a new hybrid laptop/tablet called the Surface Book. Since I track Windows productivity tablets, I thought I’d share my thoughts on them. I like the Surface Book a lot, but am not convinced the Surface Pro 4 is the right answer. Here are more details on my thoughts:

Surface Pro 4

I’ve never been a fan of the Surface Pro line for the average knowledge worker, and with this fourth iteration of the Pro, I’m still not there yet. Yes, its new specs are impressive, and the feature updates are quite good, especially the keyboard/trackpad. But as with all of the previous Surface Pro models, in my mind these computers are too heavy and too big to be a true tablet, and too small to do extended work as a laptop, so they don’t really fill a niche I am interested in. I could see some job roles where they make sense; for example if you work on your feet a lot (medical, industrial, and so on) and need the power of a full PC. Or perhaps are a graphic or sketch artist and need a large-format pen computer (it excels at that). But if you are looking for a PC that can serve as an iPad-like true tablet too, I think you will not be happy with how big and heavy it is. Continue reading