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Automatic flagging of actions not getting done in Outlook

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  • Automatic flagging of actions not getting done in Outlook

    I use Outlook 2003. I would like Actions/Tasks to be flagged up in a different colour when they have been on my list for over two weeks.

    I realise I can set a due date two weeks hence but would like this to be done automatically without me having to do the extra clicks every time I input an action.

    Anyone know a way?

  • #2
    No colours but you can set up a view


    Outlook doesn't support coloured tasks - but there's a way that you can achieve something similar (but it's not perfect).

    This is one quick (and easy) way of doing something along the lines of what you want.
    1. Go to the Tasks screen (Ctrl-4)
    2. Right-click on the column headings and select "Field Chooser"
    3. In the drop-down box of the field chooser, select "Date/Time fields"
    4. Drag the "Created" field in the chooser to the headings in the Task list
    5. Close the Field Chooser box (clicking on the X in the top right-hand corner)
    6. Click on the "Created" field heading and you can now look through the list in the order that you created them

    Hope that helps - J.


    • #3
      Nearly but not quite

      I think you can get near to this by going into View-->Arrange By-->Custom-->Automatic Formatting and then Add a new condition. Haven't played around enough to get exactly what you need though.


      • #4
        Thank you

        Thanks for that. Yes playing around I can have condition of "created on or before a month ago" to flag up in red. I will play around with this a bit more.

        Thanks again.


        • #5

          Wow! I had no idea you could colour tasks - great one, Clarkey.



          • #6
            More info on automatic formatting

            You can setup an automatic formatting rule in OL2K3 and later that checks for:

            FIELD = "Created"
            CONDITION = on or before
            VALUE = 14 days ago

            The correct syntax for the VALUE part of rules varies in Outlook depending on which types of objects/messages you're dealing with, and hasn't been adequately documented (at least to my knowledge) -- a shame, since it is a powerful tool.

            Hope this helps.
            Last edited by mvcioni; 03-12-2007, 09:02 PM.


            • #7
              Thanks again

              I've also found I can also put the formatting rules in order of precedence so my choice of colour for projects and recurrent actions overrules the "over 2 weeks old" colour.

              This way I can flag up actions that are perhaps stagnating (not getting done) so that I either rewrite the action to make it easier/more appealing to do, put it in sometime/maybe, erase it or otherwise consider why I am procrastinating on it.

              It may not work but at least the tool is available to try.

              Thanks again.


              • #8
                In various settings, I've simply reached for the big 'A' icon (e.g., in Microsoft Word) to then color-code background and/or foreground text to what makes sense to me. Mechanical, perhaps, to reach for that, though at the same time I know what those color codes meant to me.

                (Alas, I lament that part of the GTD book where I believe it said color-coding wasn't such a big distinguishing factor for folders; my experience has been that color evokes certain emotions, very conducive to getting things done, like those from Chicago who proposed "Colour My World with hope of loving you.")