A Love Letter to Outlook Tasks

Dear Outlook Tasks,


We first met in the early 2000s.  I came from a Lotus Notes world, and you were there to welcome me to civilization. You sat in the lower left-hand corner of my screen. You beckoned me with promises of productivity, but I ignored you.


You were patient.


I tracked my to-dos in my trusty Franklin Planner until it turned into a black hole into which actions went to die.


Meanwhile, my Outlook Mail blew up like Aunt Marge in the face of an angry Harry Potter.


Until one day.


It was an accident, really.


I was clicking an email and dragging it to a folder when my mouse slipped.  I dragged the email to Outlook Tasks instead.




Suddenly, my world opened.  No more marking emails unread!  No more meaningless red flags!  Who had I been kidding anyway?


You helped me be systematic, Outlook Tasks.  You gave me the platform upon which I could be productive.


You inspired and enabled me to quit my corporate job and open my productivity consultancy in 2007.  Yes.  That was you, my dear.


In the years since, we have only grown stronger together.  You gracefully embrace my need for progress dates in your date fields.  You cradle the verbs I hold so dear in your loving subject lines.  You relieve my stress with your uncanny ability to retain all the notes I put on you, no matter how random.


And, I have shared you with others – hundreds, probably thousands, of others over the years.  They love you, too…


I also learned the effectiveness in using Outlook Tasks as a “to do list” function. I struggled with making my to-do list work and keeping track of my action items. Melissa helped me see that this system did not work for me because the paper method just frustrated me and stressed me out. Now I use Outlook Tasks religiously. This works more efficiently than flagging my emails for follow-up. ~Your 2nd biggest fan


I love my task manager in Outlook. This is a blessing in disguise. I used to write notes on all over the place and mark my emails as unread so that I could remember [to process] the request. Now, I put the email or the request in my Outlook Tasks and give myself details and due dates so that I can be reminded. That has been a great asset and allowed me to be more productive because I don’t lose the sticky notes and I don’t forget. ~Your 3rd biggest fan


Oh Outlook Mail and Calendar, you have so much going for you.  Like thisand thisand this!  But, my heart will always belong to Tasks.


With affection,




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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


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