Jan 31, 2014
It’s not often that I come out with new configuration changes for the MYN Outlook system, but here’s an optional one that you might want to consider. It’s to show tomorrow’s tasks in the MYN Task List in Outlook. Below is an image of how this would look (gray items are tomorrow’s tasks).
Why Do This?
First of all, here’s the background. As all MYN users know, with MYN settings in Outlook’s To-Do Bar, all future tasks are hidden until their start date arrives. When that date arrives, they pop into the top of their urgency zone. Before that happens, if you want to see future-dated tasks, there are two ways to do this in the standard MYN system. One is to view the Daily Task List in the week calendar. The other is to go to the Tasks folder and activate a view like Simple List that shows future tasks.
But I often get pushback from new users who say “no, I want to see tomorrow’s tasks right on my MYN Task List. I don’t want to have to look somewhere else.” And my standard response has been that I fundamentally disagree with doing this. Why? Because the reason most tasks lists fail is they get overloaded. So, you want to simplify your list to show only those tasks that you need to worry about right now. That’s why I instruct you to hide tasks you don’t want on your mind today. And if you create a future task that you realize you do need to worry about right now, well then just set today’s start date on it and indicate a future deadline in the subject line. But just for that task. Don’t clog up your task list by showing all future-dated tasks.
Some Good Reasons for This
But my stance is softening a little bit and I can see some arguments for showing tomorrow’s tasks on your list. For example, seeing them may trigger some preparation today that you did not consider were needed when you first wrote down and dated the task. It also gives you a way, at the end of today, to create a list for tomorrow, and so plan ahead. And it allows you to rethink what you may have planned earlier for tomorrow, before the day starts.
With all this in mind, I’ve developed an optional set of configuration additions to the MYN standard Outlook settings that will accomplish this. They result in view you see above.
All of the steps I’m about to show you are in addition to the standard MYN settings that are shown both in the MYN Outlook video class, and in Lesson 3 of the Outlook book. So ensure those settings are in place first before proceeding with the steps below. The steps below work for Windows Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013.
There are two sets of changes to make. The first are changes to the filter so that tasks starting tomorrow are also shown on your list. The second sets the formatting for those tasks to be a lighter gray color (as shown in the figure above).
All of these changes start at the main configuration window for the To-Do Bar, which I fondly call “the tall stack of buttons.” So let’s start with opening that.
Opening the tall stack of buttons window
- At the top of your To-Do Bar task list, right-click the Task Subject label.
- From the bottom of the shortcut menu, in 2010 and 2013 choose View Settings; in 2007 choose Custom or Customize Current View.
Once at the tall stack of buttons, then take these steps:
- Click the Filter button, then click the Advanced tab.
- Select the filter condition which states: start date, on or before, today and click the Remove button, which places those conditions in the editing fields where you can change them.
- Highlight the word today in the right-most editing field and change it to tomorrow. Leave all else as is. Click Add to List.
- Click OK to return to the tall stack of buttons.
- At the tall stack of buttons, click the Conditional Formatting button (called Automatic Formatting in Outlook 2007).
- Click the Add button in the upper right corner.
- In the Name field, overtype Untitled with MYN Start Date Tomorrow. (By the way, leave the current rule that may be called MYN Start Date Today in place. That’s for a different purpose).
- With the MYN Start Date Tomorrow title selected in the scrolling list above, click the Font button, and change the color to Gray. Click OK.
- With MYN Start Date Tomorrow selected in the scrolling list, click the Condition button, and click the Advanced tab.
- Click in the empty box below the Field button and type Start Date.
- To the right of that, from the Condition drop-down menu choose Tomorrow, and click Add to List.
- Click OK, then OK again. And then OK again to return to your newly modified task list.
That’s it. Your view should look similar to above. If you don’t see any gray tasks at the top of each section you may not have any tasks scheduled for tomorrow, so create a few to test the settings.
Again, I don’t recommend this for everyone, but if you feel it fills an important need for you, give it a whirl. And if you do try this out, let me know how you like (or dislike) the changes in the comments below. I am particularly interested if you find this makes your list too busy, or if in fact you feel it provides useful information.