We’re back with the second post in our blog series about task management tips for beginners. Our first post takes you on a high-level tour of Microsoft Planner and tips for effectively managing your team plans. Today’s post covers all the other apps and integrations in Microsoft’s task management ecosystem, including Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Loop.
To Do: tips for taking control of your individual tasks
Whereas Planner is for team tasks, To Do is your go-to Microsoft 365 app for individual work and personal tasks. But it’s much more than a simple to-do list: the app helps you prioritize what’s most important so that you’re in control of your tasks—and not the other way around.
Project: tips for managing projects large and small
You don’t need formal project management training to use Project. The reimagined Project for the web was built under the assumption that everyone manages projects—even if it’s not in their job description. Project is well-known for its Gantt chart and dynamic scheduling engine, but there are other tools that help beginners effectively manage projects of any size. Note, the following tips only apply to Project for the web. The UI and instructions for Project Online and the desktop client may vary.
Outlook: tips for pairing your emails with To Do
To Do serves as the main tasks hub in Outlook for the web (and in preview in Outlook for Windows), helping you convert email messages into tasks and tracking those action items in a dedicated To Do pane. When coupled with Cortana, task management in Outlook for the web becomes even easier.
Office: tips for assigning tasks in the flow of your work in documents
Tasks happen everywhere—which is especially inconvenient if you’re in the middle of something. But if you’re working in Word or Excel for the web, you can capture those tasks in the moment using @mentions.
Task assignments from @mentions are currently only available in Word and Excel for the web.
Teams: tips for streamlining frontline worker tasks
If you read our blog for Planner beginners, you already know about some of the task management features in Teams, like create tasks from messages. But the one we didn’t mention is task publishing. If you’re in retail, healthcare, manufacturing—any industry with a large, disperse frontline workforce—task publishing can help you streamline task management across your workforce. As a leader, you can create tasks centrally at the corporate level and publish those tasks to targeted frontline locations like stores, clinics, or factories. After tasks are assigned, frontline workers see a simple list of their task assignments in Teams, while corporate has full visibility into task progress across all locations. Setting up the feature takes a little time, so we suggest reading our support article for details.
Loop: tips for connecting tasks across apps
Hybrid and asynchronous ways of working mean people need a more fluid way to create and maintain context as they collaborate with their team. Loop was developed to achieve just that. The solution has three elements—Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces—and the first components for Teams chat were just released in November, including task lists. The Loop task list component appears as a table in your Teams chat, with columns for the task name, assignee, and due date. To add one, select the Loop icon at the bottom of your Teams chat, then choose “Task list.”
Anyone in the chat can edit the task list table, and task assignees receive an Outlook notification that also contains the component. Here’s the best part: no matter when or where you edit the table—today, next week, in the Teams chat, in Outlook—your changes replicate instantly across all endpoints. This means you can manage Loop tasks lists in your preferred app and know that it’s always current. Loop task lists come with Version History too, so you can easily recover older content.
Our tasks webpage has even more information about managing to-dos across Microsoft. And if you’re looking to connect with other task managers and stay current on all the latest Planner and task management news, bookmark our Planner Tech Community site.
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