Tackling Your Microsoft To-Do List: Pro Tips
With a seemingly endless list of to-do list apps available, finding the right one can be an uphill battle. Luckily for you, Microsoft To-Do serves as a mini project management software that enables you to create Microsoft to-do lists.
As Microsoft 365 experts, it’s our responsibility to share the best ways to use this great Microsoft tool. Here are the features we love and use daily, and we’ll show you how to customize them to fit your needs.
7 Microsoft To-Do List Pro Tips
1. Seize “My Day”
If you get anxious about work piling up, it can help to organize your tasks one day at a time. Choose between three to five things you can feasibly tackle in one day and add only those items to your list for the day.
Instead of examining an entire week’s or month’s worth of tasks, you can now focus on the things that matter today. It comes across as visually simplistic and minimalistic, which helps alleviate stress.
2. Prioritize Important Tasks With the Important Tab
When you “star” a task in Microsoft To-Do, it automatically relocates the task up to the top of your list, so you know what is a high priority. That visual clue is remarkably helpful when you can’t figure out where to start or you become tempted to skim your list and start with the easy stuff.
You can see all your “Important” tasks in one spot in a tab located on the sidebar, even if they’re not on the docket for that day. If nothing appears immediately urgent, that’s a great place to start your day.
Having a clear view of the day is great for optimizing your workflow, but not if it means a dozen other things are floating around in the back of your head. Assign daily due dates to the tasks so you can see your plans days and weeks ahead. Any time you receive a new assignment, drop it in with a due date.
You can choose when you plan to take care of a task or send it to “Later” if there’s no particular due date associated with it. When tomorrow (or any future date) becomes today, all the tasks automatically get moved to “My Day”.
This is especially helpful when you remember an odd task over the weekend with a very specific due date but only have your phone immediately accessible. Everything is synced, so if you add the task on your phone, it shows up on your desktop at the start of the workweek.
4. Delegating Workflows and Attaching Files
Like many to-do list apps, you can share task lists with other people; but with Microsoft To-Do, you can also assign those tasks to different coworkers, so long as they have a Microsoft account.
Context helps with everything, and to help give your coworkers some background information, you can attach relevant files to your tasks. If your workplace uses the Office suite regularly, you can easily attach Word docs and other Microsoft documents. If you’d rather link to a Google Doc, you can do so in the “Notes” section.
5. Group Your Tasks With Hashtags
If you have multiple tasks for one client but you want to see all your work for that client in one place, you can group your tasks using hashtags. Add #clientname to each related task to tag the assignment and associate it with the relevant client.
Clicking on the hashtag will show you all the tasks you need to get done for that client. Being able to have multiple ways of organizing tasks (and subtasks) is part of what makes Microsoft To-Do an excellent personal project management tool over traditional to-do list apps.
6. Automate Task Flows With Recurring Tasks
Need a repeating reminder to send your invoices without putting them on your calendar? Or maybe you manually assign the same task to your virtual assistant every week?
You can make it a recurring task on Microsoft To-Do. The recurring task will show up in your “My Day” view when it’s time to tackle it, and you’ll get an alert whether you’re on your phone or computer, so you can’t miss it.
7. Other Automation Examples
There are lots of ways you can automate Microsoft To-Do to ensure you’re spending less time in your task management tool and more time completing your tasks. Here are a couple of pro tips from the Merit Technologies team:
- If you use Trello, you’ve likely noticed it doesn’t give you the satisfying “ding” of checking items off a list. Create a “To-Do” list in Trello so that whenever you move a card there, it gets added to your Microsoft To-Do task list. Import all the necessary information, including the due date, and it will be waiting for you in To-Do in the exact right spot.
- Time tracking is great for anyone who bills by the hour or anyone who wants to see where their time has gone. Instead of manually creating tasks in your time tracking tool like Toggl, you can send all your Microsoft To-Do tasks over, so when you get to Toggl, all your projects are there, and you just need to choose the right one.