Author Archives: Michael Linenberger

2 Videos Updated in the 1MPM Video Class

Oct 20, 2017

If you own the One Minute Project Management video class, (1MPM), we’ve just updated the two Toodledo videos. So the fifth video and the eleventh video in the class are updated as of today.

We primarily did this to reflect newer versions of Toodledo, but we also added a few more principles; the videos are each about twice as long now and contain more details.


Outlook Tips from a Reader

Sep. 24, 2017

Reader David Morrison sent me the following Windows Outlook tips, which I have copied word for word below. And one of them I will write about separately later. Thanks David!

From David:

  1. What I have found to be helpful is to setup a second calendar called TASKS (Outlook allows you to turn on and off alternate calendars – and display side by side or overlay)  I use this to potential times to do tasks.  This is opposed to the main calendar that has appointments (and I have yet another for just reminders that are not tasks or hard appointments)
  2. I am able to change the appointments from one calendar to another by simply dragging it to the calendar name in the folder pane – it removes it from one then places it in another (holding ctl will copy it instead of moving it)
  3. I am able to drag these appointments to the task bar, creating an appointment ( it seems to by default create it in the priority:normal section – if you know how to have them be priority high please let me know.
  4. I can also drag tasks from the task bar to the calendar to put them in a proposed time to accomplish the task.
  5. I can drag these appointment ( proposed task times) around the schedule to move to another time
  6. I can select multiple calendar items and by holding shift key keep them all selected and shift them together (holding ctl will copy them).

Separately, David wrote this:

You can press control and use the mouse scroll wheel [in the Calendar view] to quickly change from day to week to month view.  What I do is keep two calendar windows open – one is set to next seven days or alternatively, a set of days that might be from two days ago for ten day (set by setting the view to Day, then by clicking the first day (in the folder bar calendar) then shift clicking the last day), the second calendar is set for month view to see the big picture plan.  Having two calendars with different time scales (and maybe different active calendars) is helpful.  I can have a big picture without messing up the scale in the other window I have set up.

I also use this technique with mail – I keep one window open to the inbox, the second to the processed mail folder – I find myself often having to check on the content of mail that I have received – maybe to find an attachment, for example.

Lastly I always keep a contacts view open on my third monitor (the docked) at all times.  All told I have five outlook windows open on three monitors.

Asking a Favor

Sep 20, 2017

I have a favor to ask of my regular readers. Someone left a nasty review for my Outlook book on Amazon, and for some reason it is sitting right at the top of the featured reviews list, in the most prominent position. It’s actually from a few years ago (a previous edition) and the person admits he didn’t even read more than 1/3 of the book, yet gave it only two stars and a terrible title and review. Nearly all other reviews are 5 stars, so this gives a skewed appearance to the book and leaves an inaccurate impression for new potential buyers.

The favor I am asking is for you to go to that book listing and mark the reviews below it as “helpful” (click the Yes button at the bottom of the other reviews). That should push them up in the list and push that review down. The amazon listing is here:

And even better is, after you do that, and if you’ve read the book, put a positive review on the Amazon site for the book. Amazon reviews are incredibly influential to potential buyers, so I appreciate your action on this.


Michael Linenberger

Couple Quick Videos Introducing 1MTD and MYN

Sept 20, 2017

If you have friends who need a quick overview of 1MTD or MYN, here are a couple quick videos that you might want to pass to them.

This is an animation that encourage people to try 1MTD.

And this is from a State Bar of Wisconsin interview I did, talking about the email problem and controlling it:


To-Do List Nightmares

September 11, 2017

I am just wrapping up a huge project: the building of my new house. I just moved in and am getting the loose ends wrapped up. This project has taught me lessons on the importance of using a good to-do list. Not for me—I of course use one. But for the managers on the project: the general contractor and the supervisors there. All were good people and tried to manage well. But none had a good to-do list system in place and the results were frustratingly apparent. All of them, after I pointed out a small (or big) task that needed doing, kept dropping the actions. It was ridiculous how often I’d need to remind them—sometimes 5 or 6 times—before they’d get on the important ones. Sometimes it just required that they make a simple phone call. They really wanted to stay on top and would beat themselves up for not remembering the requests. But it was really sad to watch, because it is so typical of the waste in our work world.

Of course my 1MTD and MYN systems would have solved their issues, but there is that adage about how “you can lead a horse to water…”

It did lead to observations about how an effective to-do list works and why my two systems are effective. Here are some points I saw over and over again that were lacking or to blame.

  • Quick and reliable way to add items to the list. They did not have an at-hand entry method. For contractors, since they are on the move so much, it should be an app on their smartphone. (For desk jockeys it’s a good system on the computer).
  • One good single list kept at hand. These guys would write down the item in many cases, but they’d lose the current list or prioritize it wrong. Because of that they would not “see” the things that needed to get done.
  • Size matters. A list should not be huge. If it is you will give up. Keep the critical-now list at the top and under 5 or you’ll glaze over when you glance at the list for urgent next actions.

Like I said, it’s sad to watch the work world in action these days with so much wheel spinning and wasted time due to disorganization. With this house project that fact really “hit home.” A properly implemented to-do list really can solve so much of the inefficiencies in business these days.


Touchdown App Being Phased Out by Symantec

July 16, 2017

The Android and iPhone app Touchdown has been officially sunsetted by Symantec. More information here:

Years ago I highly encouraged Android users to get the Touchdown app to manage MYN tasks when mobile. About a year ago I switched my recommendation to Nine for Android.  Why the switch? The Symantec Touchdown management seemed a bit flaky about their new Android Touchdown version that was in testing for over a year. Feature support was unclear. Release timetable completely unclear. So I steered folks to Nine which had all the needed features for MYN users and a strong support team.

Also, two years ago Touchdown came out with an iOS version, and it was an option for iPhone MYN users for email (handled categories and converted emails to tasks), but the task module was not quite right. I have always recommended TaskTask for iOS tasks instead, and still do. You might combine that with Preside for email (has categories–tags–and converts emails to tasks).

Too bad about Touchdown. The decline started when Symantec bought them out several years ago. They slowly transferred the entire original developer team onto other projects, and the passion for the product seemed to wane. Goes to show that sometimes the best app developers are the small companies who can be nimble and responsive.


Multiple Ways to Convert E-Mails to Tasks (Windows Outlook)

June 3, 2017

Key to both my MYN and 1MTD systems is converting e-mails to tasks. It’s the main way to get control of your Inbox. In Windows desktop Outlook, the primary way to convert e-mails to true Outlook tasks is to drag the e-mail from the Inbox list view to the Tasks icon or label in the lower left portion of the Outlook Window. It’s how I almost always do it.

But there are other ways to convert e-mails to tasks that that have some advantages:

  • Right-click the e-mail and while holding right mouse button drag to Tasks icon or label, and then choose second item in the 4-part pop-up list. That converts the e-mail as an attachment, with many advantages (can see attachments, can reply).
  • Create an Outlook Quick Step that converts e-mails to tasks in one click. See this link for how to do that and list of advantages.
  • Right-click the e-mail, choose Move, and choose Tasks. This deletes email from Inbox after converting.
  • If you have multiple task folders or multiple e-mail accounts with tasks folders and you want to put converted tasks directly in one of those, do this: drag e-mail to a specific tasks folder on the left. You need to put the Outlook Folder Pane on left into Folders mode first: (Outlook 2013/2016 click ellipsis button in lower left and choose Folders to do that). Then you can see all tasks folders on left.

Other Points:

  • Don’t drag e-mails to the To-Do Bar on the right. That can appear to create a task, but it doesn’t, it creates a flagged mail task, which we don’t want.
  • Don’t convert to task by simply flagging the e-mail. It creates a flagged mail task, which we generally don’t want to use (other than for deferred replies).
  • There is no way to convert an e-mail to a true task in the standard iPhone and Android mobile mail apps. But third-party mail apps do allow this (iPhone: TouchDown or Preside; Android: Nine).
  • See Lesson (Chapter) 7 in my Outlook book for many more details on converting e-mails to tasks.


New Edition 5 Upgrade Paths

May 12, 2017

We just released Edition 5 of the book Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook.

See more details here:

Upgrade Paths:

We almost always get questions about upgrade paths when new books come out. There are upgrade paths for the PDF book only. Here is the whole story:

  • Paper Book: There is no way for us to offer upgrades for paper books you bought from bookstores (online or physical). It’s just not done in the publishing industry mainly because it’s too hard to do.
  • Kindle, Nook: The same goes with proprietary eBook formats like Kindle and Nook—we have no way to get into the computer systems of Amazon or BN to see who bought it and when, and we have no coupon arrangement with those vendors.
  • PDF Buyers This Year, you get a free copy: if you bought the PDF book from our PDF store between Jan 1, 2017 and May 12, 2017, directly from us, you can get a free PDF copy of the new 5th edition. Just go to this page, log into your account, and download it. If after logging in it says the product is not available, it means you purchased it before Jan 1 (or you did not log in correctly).
  • If you are uncertain about when you bought the PDF book, or how to login, check your saved e-mails for a receipt to see when you bought it and/or to confirm your username—you would have gotten an e-mail receipt immediately after purchase with a subject line containing: “MichaelLinenbergerVideoAndTraining”. Search on that term. If you cannot find that email, go to and log into your account, and click the Payments History link at the right and look up your purchase. But please don’t contact us asking us when or if you bought it or what username you used when you bought it, unless you have done a thorough search first. Thousands of people have bought the book and we can’t look that up for everyone easily—it may take several days to get back to you.
  • New Video Course Users: Those who own the Complete MYN Outlook 365 Video Course, the one released last fall, you get the new PDF of edition 5 free no matter when you bought access to that video course. You can download the new Ed 5 PDF from the video delivery page (after you log in)—once there, just click the Ed 5 book image on the right once at that page.
  • $1.00 off coupon: All others who bought the Edition 4 PDF directly from us, but who are not eligible for the free upgrade (you bought before Jan 1 2017), here is a coupon code: U5LH1FIN that will give you $1.00 off your edition 5 PDF purchase: Just go to this page, log into your account, and enter it in the coupon field during purchase. If the coupon is not accepted, it means you did not purchase the book from us on that account—please login again using the correct username. Please don’t contact us asking us when or if you bought it or what username you used when you bought it, unless you have done a thorough search first. Thousands of people have bought the book and we can’t look that up for everyone easily—it may take several days to get back to you, sorry!

Using Critical Now on Really Busy Days

May 6, 2017

As you know in all my books I teach a pretty firm rule about keeping the Critical Now section at 5 or fewer items. Well, I received a sincere question from a dedicated 1MTD user who asked the following (I am paraphrasing): “What about those days when one emergency after another come rolling in, and if I write them all down I’ll have well over 5 items on my Critical Now list.”

My Standard Answer

Normally what I say is “when you are about to put the 6th item on the list, stop and get something else done that’s already on the list. Or do that new item immediately. Just try to keep the list at 5 or fewer.” Here is an article that discusses that point and more:

Breaking the Rule

But occasionally the ideas in that article won’t help and even I go over 5 items, under the very circumstances he described in his question: an unusually crazy day where events come piling in faster than normal. So I break the rule that day. Every rule is absolute until it must be broken. But only break it with awareness and a heightened sense of responsibility.

Like Breaking a Road’s Speed Limit

It’s sort of like those days you have to break the speed limit driving on a busy road because of a true emergency. If you must do it, do it with a very high sense of responsibility, scanning the road in front of you with great care and great concern and attention. Knowing you have to slow down as soon as you can.

Same with your list when it gets over 5. Keep in your mind “I have to get that list back down to five—it’s a dangerous letting it get big like that, I could drop something,” and just plunge ahead trying to do that. Try as hard as possible to get it back to 5 relatively quickly so that you can take a step down in your heightened awareness—which cannot be maintained accurately that long. And during that time, keep a very sharp eye on that list knowing it is rather risky to have that many critical items piled up. That’s all you can do.

 The Rules are to Allow a Reasonable Work Life

The point of the 5 item limit is to allow you to, on most days, relax and enjoy your work, knowing that you have things under control. That was my reason for creating the rule. It’s a tool to create a reasonable work life. But if you temporarily can’t stick to the rules (and the suggestions in that article above just don’t work because it’s such a busy day), and so you must get above 5, only do so with great care. Just focus very carefully on those days.

And don’t make a habit of it. Otherwise you’ll start dropping things. For a maximum sense of control (and thus a more relaxed work day), I like to keep my Critical Now list no bigger than 3 if I can. There are many days it is zero. Remember the definition of that section: you will only put items there that are so critical you would even work all night if they were not done by the end of the day. Keep using that “Going Home Test” and use that section very conservatively.

Here are some more articles about the 1MTD and MYN Critical Now urgency zone rules: