How to Influence Outlook’s Design

Nov 10, 2017

Microsoft is constantly changing desktop Outlook, usually for better but occasionally for worse (one unfortunate change from October is mentioned here). But what many don’t know is that you can have a say in what features they add and remove. It’s called UserVoice and it’s built into Outlook—you just click a button and type in your suggestions. I am told by insiders that it is one of the main places Microsoft goes when looking for new features and user opinions.

If you have a suggestion on how to improve Windows desktop Outlook, here’s how to submit it:

  1. Click File at the top left of Outlook’s window.
  2. In the list on the left of the window that opens, about two thirds down, click Feedback.
  3. Click the Suggest a Feature button.
  4. Enter your idea in the web page that pops up. Or scan through existing new ideas and vote for them.

So yes, you have a voice. Are you going to use it?



Problems in a New Release of Outlook 2016, And a Fix

Nov 9, 2017

For those of you that subscribe to Office 365, you know that you can receive updates to Office with new features quite regularly—it’s one of the advantages to that subscription. But it can sometimes work against you. Specifically, in a new release that came out in October (and one that’s still the latest release), Microsoft inserted a problem in Outlook 2016. They accidentally eliminated the View Settings command in every place it was located in Outlook. So if you have not updated Office 365 since before October, I recommend you reject offers to update Office for a while till they make the fix.

If you DID accept that update, note that this is primarily an issue for new MYN users because the View Settings command is what you use to insert the MYN settings into Outlook’s To-Do Bar (using Chapter 3 of my Outlook book, or Lessons 8 and 9 of my video course). Since it’s now missing that’s quite a problem for new MYN users.

This problem is documented at this Microsoft link. They show a workaround, but it is not applicable to the To-Do Bar. So if you are a new user of MYN following my instructions and have that update, you may be wondering what to do.

The Fix

Well, the good news is there is another workaround—a fix—that you can if you are a new user who is formatting the To-Do Bar, and here it is: Simply follow my instructions at this article to add the Change Views button to the Outlook 2016 Quick Access toolbar and create the MYN Tasks view per instructions there. Then select it and make it active in the To-Do Bar.

Doing that is a temporary stop gap to be used until Microsoft releases a new release of Outlook 2016 with a fix. That said, the Change View button is a pretty useful tool, as described in that article, so consider using it as described there.


Changing Views in Windows Outlook To-Do Bar

Nov 9, 2017

[Note: this article is presented in new Video #30 just added to the MYN Outlook 365 Complete Video Training.]

One of the great things about Windows Outlook is the ability to save and activate various views in all of Outlook’s main modules (Mail, Tasks, Contacts, Calendar). I especially like using various views in the Tasks folder because you can use them to filter out or show certain types of tasks, prioritize them in different ways, and so on. The result is that that you make sure you focus on your most important tasks and don’t waste time. It’s an underused tool that I encourage you to try in the tasks folder, and it’s easy to do: simply go to the View tab in the Tasks module and choose Change Views.

In the resulting menu you can pick from a number of preset views, or you can build and add your own views using Manage Views at the bottom (in Chapter 12 of my Outlook book, I suggest many you might want to build). The software MYN Views adds several views, ones useful to MYN users, to this menu.

No Change View for To-Do Bar

However that said, I’ve never found a way to do this in the To-Do Bar, where you must make all view changes one at a time—you can’t save and select sets of view changes and recall them. Since in MYN and 1MTD we mostly use the To-Do Bar to manage tasks, this has been a needed feature in Outlook for years.

A Solution

Continue reading

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.