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Other Productivity-Increasing Add-Ins?

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  • Other Productivity-Increasing Add-Ins?


    I've bought the Outlook Add-in and I'm loving it.

    I'm wondering if there are any other add-ins for Outlook that work well with GTD?

    Or any Outlook macros that you find very useful?



  • #2
    Here's something for recurring tasks

    I've been working with outlook's tasks for a while and found that I really hated their implementation of recurring tasks as they kept showing back up in my view of things. So, I wrote a script that allowed me to mark these as done, but have them return at the right time. This is mostly for tasks that need to be done more or less on a given day or every 3 days. Things like weekly status reports or watering my plants at home (every other day).

    So, here's the first draft of the script. There's some ultra-limited documentation in the comments at the top:

    Sub Relist_Done()
        ' Mike Miller -
        ' Copyright Mike Miller 2005
        ' This is a macro for Microsoft Outlook 2003 that performs 2 basic functions
        ' on tasks that have some extra text at the *end* of the subject line of the
        ' form "[rate category1 category2]" (the two category values are optional,
        ' but I think they provide a lot of functionality) and it performs the
        ' following actions on these tasks:
        ' 1. If the task is complete, then move the task to the category1 category and
        '    set the due date to be the date marked complete + rate days and mark the
        '    task as not started
        ' 2. If the task is not complete, the due date is >= today, then move the
        '    task to the category2 category to draw attention to it.
        ' The usage model is that I had some small tasks that I needed to do on a
        ' highly regular basis, and basically wanted them to "recur" but outlook's
        ' recur mechanism leaves the item visible at all times, which is bad. For
        ' example, I want to water my plants every other day, so I have:
        '    Water plants [2 Tickler, Home]
        ' So that when mark it done, it drops off the list, and goes into the tickler
        ' category until 2 days elapse and then it pops up in the home category
        ' again to remind me to water my plants.
        ' Eventually, I'd like to have more complicated expressions for "rate" like
        ' "MWF" or "2Sun" to get the recurrence to happen on particular days or the
        ' 2nd Sunday from now. Unfortunately, without regular expression support in
        ' VBA, parsing such items will be tricky, and for the first pass, I can live
        ' with just having #of days.
        Dim myolApp As Outlook.Application
        Dim myNamespace As Outlook.NameSpace
        Dim myFolderTasks As Outlook.MAPIFolder
        Dim myItems As Outlook.Items
        Dim myItem As TaskItem
        Dim myString As String
        Dim myStringArray() As String
        Dim myRecur As String
        Dim myHiddenCategory As String
        Dim myActiveCategory As String
        Set myolApp = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
        Set myNamespace = myolApp.GetNamespace("MAPI")
        Set myolApp.ActiveExplorer.CurrentFolder = myNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderTasks)
        Set myFolderTasks = myolApp.ActiveExplorer.CurrentFolder
        For Each myItem In myFolderTasks.Items
            ' We check for subject = "" as protection against mid() on zero-length strings
            If (myItem.Subject = "") Then
                GoTo Relist_Skip_Item
            End If
            'See if this task has [] in it
            myString = Mid(myItem.Subject, Len(myItem.Subject), 1)
            myStringArray = Split(myItem.Subject, "[")
            If ((myString <> "]") Or (UBound(myStringArray) <> 1)) Then
                GoTo Relist_Skip_Item
            End If
            ' OK, this task appears to have stuff we are interested in, process
            ' what is between the [] and assign internal variables to the values
            ' for readability. Note that the 2 category options are optional.
            myStringArray = Split(myStringArray(1), " ")
            myRecur = myStringArray(0)
            If (UBound(myStringArray) > 0) Then
                myHiddenCategory = myStringArray(1)
                myHiddenCategory = ""
            End If
            If (UBound(myStringArray) > 1) Then
                myActiveCategory = Mid(myStringArray(2), 1, (Len(myStringArray(2)) - 1))
                myActiveCategory = ""
            End If
            If (myItem.Status = olTaskComplete) Then
                ' Here is were we reclaim a completed task and stash it off in the hidden
                ' tickler or waiting category so we don't have to look at it.
                myItem.DueDate = myItem.DateCompleted + Int(myRecur)
                myItem.Status = olTaskNotStarted
                If (myHiddenCategory <> "") Then
                    myItem.Categories = myHiddenCategory
                End If
                ' If the user provided us with an active category and the due date is
                ' today, then "promote" the task to the active category so it gets the
                ' right visiblity
                If (myActiveCategory <> "") Then
                    MsgBox "comparing " & myItem.DueDate & " with " & Date
                    If (myItem.DueDate <= Date) Then
                        myItem.Categories = myActiveCategory
                    End If
                End If
            End If
        ' yes, I know gotos are evil, but I don't know of the break functionality
        ' so I'm not nested so deep I can't make heads or tails of where I am...
    End Sub
    I'd be interested in feedback on my script or suggestions on how to make it better.

    There are a few out on the web as well. This guy has a couple of basic ones that are interesting starting points:

    - Mike


    • #3
      Minor update

      Probably want to remove this line
      MsgBox "comparing " & myItem.DueDate & " with " & Date
      It was in there for debugging reasons. I've got a text copy over on my website

      - Mike


      • #4

        I'm so tired of seeing "Time sheets" on my daily task list! Tried to work on a filter to hide them, but couldn't quite figure it out. The hiding worked, but couldn't get them to display on the date due. This sounds like just the ticket!

        I do need them on the 15th & 30/31st, so I'll see if I can play around with that bit.



        • #5
          ANy directions how to apply script to Outlook

          This does look useful. Can you point me to some directions how to apply the script/macro in Outlook


          • #6
            To add the macro...

            To add a macro to Outlook, go to Tools -> Macro -> Macros which brings up a little dialogue box. Type macroname in the "Macro Name" field and then click on the "Create" button. This should bring up the Visual Basic Editor with
            Sub macroname()
            End Sub
            Then replace that text with the text at

            That should do it for you. You can now run the macro by going to Tools -> Macro -> Macros (or alt-F. Let me know if that doesn't work for you

            - Mike


            • #7
              Minor update

              I've added some more comments and also made it pop up a message box showing which tasks it has changed. I found this to be particularly useful for "Promoted" items so that they get called to my attention.


              - Mike