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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23 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?

    • gcav says:

      MS Planner will be changing completely in early 2024. The new Planner looks more adapted to use MYN. I think the reason they simplified Tasks was to offload more advance functions with the new Planner that will combine Project.

      I modified my system by changing to tasks folders as my monthly deferred dates when Michael made the last post about classic tasks potentially going away.

      It works well and in the new tasks app you can group them under a folder called deferred (i.e. Deferred > January > tasks).

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  7. Dino says:

    Hi Michael,

    I’ve switched to 1MTD with Micrososoft ToDo after 15 years of MYN with the traditional Outlook task module – thank you for the video course on this!

    There are some recent changes to ToDo and Outlook compared to your videos that may be an incentive for others to make this change:

    First, new tasks in your ToDo lists now appear at the top of the list instead of the bottom. Same for tasks moved from other lists, like Defer-To-Do. With that feature, it’s at least close to FRESH priorization.

    Second, the new Outlook app on Windows and also the mobile app (at least on Android) have a feature to directly convert emails to tasks. In Outlook, this option appears by right-clicking on a mail. In the mobile app, it’s an option once you opened the mail. That’s actually a big improvement when working mobile. The new tasks directly appear on top of your task list and reference the original mail.

  8. Dino says:

    …and a third new feature I forgot: If you star a task (critical now) it automatically moves to the top of your list

  9. mixturebloat says:

    Instead of appearing at the bottom of your to-do lists, new items now show at the top. The same applies to items that are transferred from lists such as Defer-To-Do. It’s almost exactly the same as FRESH prioritization with that functionality. doodle cricket

  10. 365! says:

    Michael, will you be providing a new take methodology that considers Microsoft planner, todo and the new outlook? I know you’re getting comfortable with your mac but I venture to say most of your followers fell in love with your system because it worked the best with the outlook and Microsoft ecosystem. I think many of us would appreciate and updated system based on the new Microsoft 365 functionality.

  11. Lauryfriese says:

    I started testing alternate task apps, ones that worked well even if you keep using Outlook for all other uses. Candy Crush

  12. Roger Wichmann says:

    It looks like the end of the road for Tasks is September 2024.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/roadmap?featureid=391672

  13. Kara Taylor says:

    This change might be frustrating for users who heavily rely on the Tasks module for their a small world cup. They might feel their productivity is impacted.

  14. The same applies to items that are transferred from lists such as Defer-To-Do. It really isn’t that different than gmail tasks, which I do not like. So disappointed with this change.

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    The update on Windows Desktop Outlook Tasks sunsetting parallels Traffic Rider Mod APK’s evolution. As one shifts gears in gaming, Microsoft announces the end of an era for desktop task management. Just as riders progress through levels, users adapt to new digital landscapes, embracing change for enhanced productivity and efficiency.

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  17. inventif says:

    Microsoft has an upvote option on their customer feedback site. Worth visiting and putting some pressure on MacroHard to add a Start Date:

    https://feedbackportal.microsoft.com/feedback/search/746f5230-3b1c-ec11-b6e7-0022481f8472?q=start+date

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