Look at task list first before email in the morning?

Oct 11, 2016

Here’s a thought that may help some of you. How about if you look at your MYN task list the very first thing in the morning, prior to checking your email Inbox. It may save you a few hours a day.

The reason to do this should be obvious. For many of us, once we jump into our Inbox, we easily get lost in reading all levels of mail, including low priority mail. And we can lose hours. But if we look at our task list first, and jump on the important work first—work we set up days before—we are more likely to make progress on our important work and we’ll be less likely to waste precious time on low priority mail.

Of course the best solution is a compromise of those two:

  • Look at the task list to see what’s critical and important for the day.
  • Also scan very quickly the Inbox to see if any emergencies have dropped in that can’t wait.
  • Decide between those where the best place to start is. Create new tasks from the longer term actions in the email. And then start at the top of the task list.

But if you tend to get lost in email the moment you look at it, the task list is the better place to look first.


Better MYN Urgency Zone Definitions

Sept 30, 2016

Normally I say of the three urgency zones that their definitions are these (in both 1MTD and MYN):

Critical Now: must do today. 5 tasks max. Review hourly.
Opportunity Now: do in 1 to 10 days. 20 tasks max. Review daily.
Over-the-Horizon: do beyond 10 days. Unlimited tasks. Review Weekly.

These definitions work great for 1MTD where no start dates are used. And they are a good starting point for MYN.

Better MYN Definitions

But in MYN, with start dates used to hide tasks to future, there really are some better definitions—ones that capture the fine points of MYN. Specifically, there are better definitions that incorporate Defer to Do and Defer to Review. Those definitions are:

Critical Now: Tasks you absolutely must do now—today—or tasks deferred to do on an absolute future date. Five tasks max can be visible at a time and an unlimited count can be scheduled to future. Review visible list approximately once each hour.
Opportunity Now: Tasks you want to do as soon as possible and that you want to reconsider daily. Or tasks deferred to do on an approximate future date. Twenty tasks max can be visible at a time (with most important at top). An unlimited count can be scheduled to future. Review visible list at least daily.
Over-the-Horizon: No firm commitment to do these tasks; rather only a commitment to periodically reconsider them. Defer all these tasks to an appropriate future Monday review date so that a reasonable number appear each week for review (and so you don’t see each task too often). If on review you find the urgency is now higher, move that task to a higher urgency zone. Otherwise schedule again for future review (or delete them). An unlimited count can be scheduled to future.

These definitions capture the essence of MYN so look them over.


Toodledo MYN Video Updates, and New Lower Video Course Prices

Sep 18, 2016

Updated Video Set

We finally finished the updates to the Full MYN Toodledo Video Training class. Those videos are now updated to incorporate the new web version of Toodledo that came out a while ago. These updates are free to anyone who ever bought the class. If you are a paid user, you can log in here (use the username and password you used the last time you accessed the course): http://michaellinenberger.com/MYN-ToodleDoVideoCourse/

New Price Reduction for New Buyers

And for new buyers, we’ve lowered the price of that course to $249, starting immediately. It was previously $299. To read more about this product or to purchase it, go to this link: http://www.michaellinenberger.com/FullTD-MYN.html

Why Toodledo?

As you may know, Toodledo is the task management software I recommend for people who cannot use Windows Outlook to manage tasks. It works with Macs, Android—any platform really. And it works with all email systems. It’s robust, very powerful, and has built-in quick configurations for my MYN methodology. It also works well with my simpler One Minute To-Do List methodology. And the Toodledo software is free.


Working ridiculously long hours doesn’t work

Sep 1, 2016

Interesting article in Washington Post about how working insanely long hours is ridiculous, and how unfortunate it is that it is expected these days in many work environments.


It’s a pet peeve of mine, how it’s become a badge of honor.

Better: realize that you will never get it all done—these days that is not possible. So instead, identify your most important work (MYN and 1MTD help with that). Then, starting at the top of the priority list, work efficiently and with focus, and get as much done as you can. Then, at a reasonable hour just stop, leave the rest undone for the day, and go home. The rest of work will still be there tomorrow.

From the article: “Studies have shown that after about 50 hours a week, productivity actually decreases, and it plummets after 55 hours, leaving no detectable difference between those who work 56 hours and those who work 70 hours.”

Sounds about right to me.



Mimic Subfolders Using Categories (Video)

Aug 13, 2016

You probably know that I advocate using a single folder to file all mail, and to use Outlook Categories there to group by topic. I have tons of posts and lessons on this.

One reason some people are hesitant to give up multiple folders is that they currently use subfolders. And the problem is that Outlook Categories has no provision to create subcategories. But really that’s not a problem. That’s because you can apply multiple categories to an email, and then find emails by searching for those multiple category combinations.

I have created a free video that shows how to do this: how to mimic subfolders using multiple category assignments. Go to this page (it’s the sales page for the paid video site) and then scroll all the way down to free video #28 to see that. It’s a free Preview, and available even if you have not purchased this video set. The video starts with a review of using Categories in a single folder.


Auto MYN and 1MTD Views for iPhone

July 11, 2016

The iPhone (and iPad) app TaskTask recently released an update that provides automatic MYN and 1MTD task views on your iPhone. So now it’s even easier to implement the MYN or 1MTD systems when going mobile.

I’ll write more about this in an upcoming newsletter, but the gist of this is that with new releases of TaskTask, you can choose a preset view for either MYN or 1MTD. So you no longer need to hand configure the settings.

More to come. Michael


Take a Vacation!

July 2, 2016

Many of you may be thinking about not taking a vacation this year. But perhaps this Washington Post article will make you think again:


The article says many people skip vacation due to the “indispensability syndrome: A fallacious emotional urge rooted deep in our desire to be wanted and needed“, and that it’s not a healthy thing. It even points out that in some industries it can lead to problems.

And even if that’s not your reason, vacations are important—they give you a chance to step back and take a broader perspective.

So plan a vacation this summer and take it. Cut loose and take some time off!


Software Update: MYN Views release 1.1

July 1, 2016

The software I announced last month from ClearContext, called MYN Views, has just been updated with two fairly major feature additions.

As you may recall, MYN Views is an Outlook add-in that inserts the MYN To-Do Bar settings into Outlook, which saves a lot of time over inserting those manually. It also adds optional MYN views to the Tasks folder. And it inserts a new Ribbon tab called MYN Views that provide some view controls.

New Features in Release 1.1

Here’s what’s new in 1.1. First, a new command has been added to the MYN Views tab called Show Flagged Items in To-Do. You’ll see it in the image above, and it does what it says: inserts flagged items (primarily emails) in the To-Do Bar. By default, these are filtered out in MYN Views, so this gives you a choice. Note, you have to restart Outlook after clicking the button for this to take effect, and you can toggle this back and forth.

Second, the optional MYN Tasks folder views are now installed in all tasks folders, including the To-Do List view. Previously they only installed in the default Tasks folder.

ClearContext says this new release is free for all current MYN Views owners.

To Update to 1.1 do this:

  1. Use the same download link received in your original MYN Views receipt; that now downloads the v1.1 installer (but don’t run it until step 2).
  2. Shutdown Outlook
  3. Run the new v1.1 installer to update the existing installation to v1.1
  4. Open Outlook and click the Restore Views button on the MYN Views tab to upgrade to the updated views

To Purchase the Product

To purchase the product (if you don’t have it yet) go to this ClearContext company page:  http://www.mynviews.com/


Remember, I don’t make any money on retail sales of this software, so if you have any questions or need other software support, please contact ClearContext directly at: support@clearcontext.com

Announcing New MYN Outlook Add-in

June 13, 2016

I am happy to announce a new MYN Outlook software add-in called MYN Views for Outlook. It was created by the ClearContext folks and they are selling it starting today. It’s $15.


The purpose of this Windows desktop Outlook add-in is quite simple: it inserts the MYN To-Do Bar settings into your copy of Outlook, those shown in Chapter 3 of my Outlook book. So, using this add in, you can save 10 to 20 minutes of work entering the MYN To-Do Bar settings.

It also inserts a number of advanced MYN tasks folder views into your default tasks folder (those described in Chapter 12 of my Outlook book). These could take several hours to enter by hand.

And perhaps most convenient, it also installs a button that allows you to reset all these MYN view settings with one click. Why is that important? Due to bugs in Outlook and Exchange Server, some people lose their MYN view settings periodically, especially in the To-Do Bar. Also, some people accidentally change their views. So this product is a good remedy for those issues.

Below is the link to the product. It’s only $15 and note that I don’t make any money on retail sales of this product. I am just happy to see ClearContext create and support the product because I know the need for it is out there. More details at this link:


Take a look at it.

And FAQs here: www.mynviews.com/help



How We Collect Tasks (and how MYN saves us)

May 13, 2016

Now that I am updating my Toodledo training, I have completely switched over to Toodledo again and am using it as my main MYN task system. I did that a number of years ago, used it for about 2 years, then switched back to Outlook when I starting updating the Outlook book in 2013.

It’s good for me to make this switch periodically for many reasons. One is it keeps me fresh in both systems. And it reminds me how good both systems are. Right now I am marveling at how good Toodledo is with MYN. If you are not using Windows Outlook (say you are a Mac user), I even more now recommend Toodledo as your MYN tasks system.

But another good outcome that I noticed this time is that making the switch (and transferring tasks) forced me to see how many tasks I’d accumulated. I had nearly 600 tasks deferred to way in the future in Outlook!   Continue reading