Update on Windows Desktop Outlook Tasks Sunsetting

This is a good time for me to update you regarding the article I wrote a few months ago—the one about how Microsoft appears to be sunsetting the Tasks module on Windows Desktop Outlook and how you should hold back on Outlook software updates. At the time I was uncertain if this was just a software release timing in issue or a true strategy change in Outlook.

But based on feedback from others, and on reports on various Microsoft news online sites, it looks like that unfortunate evolution has been confirmed. Microsoft, in its latest rollout of Microsoft 365 subscription copies of Windows Desktop Outlook, truly appears to be eliminating the old but powerful Tasks module.

The only choice Microsoft 365 subscribers have now is either to reject the update and stick with the older version for a while, or to jump into managing tasks using the newer but weaker Microsoft To Do module. Unfortunately, the To Do module works poorly with my advanced MYN task management system. It does work okay with my simpler 1MTD task management system—so 1MTD users, you are in good shape. And if you don’t have too many tasks, MYN users can get relatively close to implementing MYN in Microsoft To Do, as described in my Microsoft To Do—1MTD video course.

Subscribers Will Lose Access

But no, if you are a heavy task user, and a dedicated MYN system user, and you regularly accept software updates via the subscription plan with Microsoft 365, you are out of luck. You will soon lose access to the Tasks module. You can see that now in the latest release of Windows Desktop Outlook by turning on the “Try the new Outlook” switch in the upper right corner of the application window. Activate that switch, and you’ll see that the Tasks module is missing in the navigation sidebar on the new Outlook copy. In the image above, you can see how it looks prior to the update. In the update, the Tasks Module choice is missing.

Corporate and Consumer Users Okay for a While

That said, if you work inside a large company, and your IT staff controls the updates of Window Desktop Outlook inside the organization, then it may be months—even years—before this affects you. Talk to your IT folks about their upgrade schedule to confirm that.

And if you are an individual consumer who bought Outlook in a shrinkwrap box—not via the Microsoft 365 subscription—you are fine too; just stick with your current copy of Outlook and turn down all invitations to update. For example, shrinkwrap copies of Outlook 2021 should be supported through 2025 and beyond, so you have plenty of time. In fact, if this is important to you, you might consider cancelling your Microsoft 365 subscription and buying and installing this shrinkwrap copy now, before Microsoft updates it to a version without Tasks. For some of you, that might be your best strategy.

But for most of you, I recommend you consider moving your tasks to some other tasks app—one that supports MYN well. You can do that, and still use Outlook for all other purposes (that’s what I do). Let’s talk about that next.

Switching to Other Task Apps that Support MYN

I saw this potential dropping of Tasks module support coming over a year ago. How? I mostly use a Mac these days at my home office, and in the Mac copy of Desktop Outlook—the one released several years ago—Microsoft dropped access to the Tasks module. So I suspected they’d do the same on Windows at some point.

So to prep for that, and to provide solutions for my readers, I started testing alternate task apps, ones that worked well even if you keep using Outlook for all other uses (e.g. email, calendar, contacts). What apps?

Toodledo. First, I took a fresh look at Toodledo. For a long time Toodledo was my recommended alternate software app for folks who could not use Windows Desktop Outlook tasks. Unfortunately though, with my fresh look at Toodledo, I concluded that app is aging poorly. It has not kept up with modern task app features (e.g. drag and drop task prioritization). And it still had poorly supported smartphone apps. So, it probably was no longer the best alternate choice. Which is too bad; Toodledo is otherwise great software and still has a lot of advantages for those that need them.

Todoist. Then I looked at the immensely popular Todoist app. This multiplatform app has a large following and a long list of very useful features. And it works well side by side with Outlook. I used it personally for about six months and created a very good video course for my readers on how to use it with MYN. Take a look at that course and that app. If you use Windows, or Windows and a Mac, this is probably your best app choice.

Things. For those of you who live purely in the Mac ecosystem, there is even a better choice, and that’s using the app called Things. About a year ago as I found myself almost never using my Windows machines anymore, I personally switched to Things for my task management. I now feel it is absolutely the best tasks app anyone can use with MYN. But again, this is for you only if you live 100 percent in the Apple ecosystem. There are no Windows or Chrome OS versions of this app. And no web-based versions either that work across platforms. I love this app and I created a very good video course on using Things with MYN; so if you are a Mac/iOS-only user, take a look at that course and that app. I guarantee you’ll love it.

Next Steps

Hopefully by now you have a plan. Try one of the solutions above, and let me know how it goes!

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7 Responses to Update on Windows Desktop Outlook Tasks Sunsetting

  1. Douglas Dame says:

    What’s your assessment of Teams?

    Is Microsoft depreciating Outlook Tasks because they’re trying to move people into doing task management in Teams? (Even solo tasks?)

  2. Please talk to us about this issue? I didn’t even know there was a task function in Teams. I haven’t played with it yet. Hopefully that would provide a better alternative than learning another app.

  3. This is such a big step backwards. Now, it really isn’t that different than gmail tasks, which I do not like. So disappointed with this change.

  4. Michael A. Lake says:

    The sunsetting of Windows desktop Outlook tasks surely marks the end of an era and the beginning of new possibilities in task management! 🚀 It’s fascinating to observe how technology evolves and adapts to our changing needs. For those interested in exploring how technological advancements have been documented and discussed in academic circles, feel free to read more here. 📘💻

  5. Falk says:

    Is there any way to productively use the MS Planner application for MYN?

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