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Outlook 2007 - All Day Event vs Dated Task

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  • Outlook 2007 - All Day Event vs Dated Task

    Hi GTD'ers,

    I'm trying to ensure that the hard edges between calendar items and next actions doesn't become blurred.

    I'm using Outlook on both my PC and PDA and I'm finding that I'm using dated tasks for day specific next actions, rather than calendar all day events.

    Outlook is setup to show these dated tasks on the calendar view on their relevant day, but at the same time, hide them in the tasks view until their start date is current etc.

    It's working fine; they're clearly viewable on the calendar and at the same time they don’t clutter up the task view while they're inactive. My only slight concern is that in GTD speak, these items are generally classed as calendar all day events, however in practice these dated tasks are working the same.

    Do you regimentally keep these as calendar all day items or do you use the dated task option instead? I think they may have been calendar items initially as you couldn’t view dated tasks on the calendar in Outlook until more recent versions?

    Any comments are most appreciated.


    Last edited by AndyD; 11-15-2009, 01:26 PM.

  • #2
    Day-specific actions

    Funnily enough I had this epiphany yesterday too (I'm a bit slow at times): a dated next action is the same as an all-day calendar event.

    In David-Allen-speak, these are called "day-specific actions". The recommendation is that day-specific actions "should be tracked on the calendar...but not tied to any particular time slot".

    For day-specific actions, maybe it's the system you're using that will define what works best (ref. visual clutter etc.). For me (Omnifocus, iCal), I prefer to leave the all-day-event area of my calendar for "day-specific information" (e.g. boss away, electricity billing period end, big scary project starts next week etc.) and my next-action lists for day-specific next actions. In Omnifocus I just look at the "Due" view for what's needed today; it's an extension of the calendar in that sense.


    • #3
      Hi Andy,

      I make extensive use of dated tasks in Outlook. I do not use the calendar to view them. I have my "To-Do Bar" set to show only tasks that are due today and ones past due (all of my next actions). A task gets a start/due date on the day I enter it into Outlook (for me start=due date) with the default being today unless I know I don't want to work on it right away and then I give it a date in the future. I also use the flags in 2007 to defer tasks to the next day or week.

      I have many tasks that recur on a daily or weekly basis. These appear in the the "To-Do Bar" on the day they need to be done. For example, "draft weekly report" appears on Thursday and "submit weekly report" appears on Friday.

      I have a custom view called "future tasks" that shows all of my tasks which I review during my weekly review.



      • #4

        Originally posted by AndyD View Post
        Hi GTD'ers,

        I'm using Outlook on both my PC and PDA
        For me it could be the ideal system. May I ask which kind of PDA would you recommend?


        • #5
          Originally posted by clango View Post
          For me it could be the ideal system. May I ask which kind of PDA would you recommend?
          Hi Clango,

          I'm using a Vodafone V1615 (rebadged HTC TyTn II) which is currently discontinued, but it's basically a Windows Mobile device with both touch screen and a slide out QWERTY keyboard.

          It run Outlook Mobile / Pocket Outlook which is a cut down version of the Desktop Outlook. However, for me it works a treat and syncs to the Desktop with no problems.

          I'm also using 2 third party programs that greatly help with GTD.

          I've TodayAgenda ( which runs on the Today Screen and shows my calendar and dated tasks for upto the next 45 days.

          It's always there on the main screen so I've no excuse for missing anything. Switch on the device and it's there, don't even need to go into calendar or tasks lists to see what's Today and the next few days too.

          I'm also using DeveloperOne AgendaOne for the Tasks manager alone; this allows me to view by Context/Category/Project etc. It's also cool as I've setup several task templates based on context etc.

          I'm also using the voice recorder, camera, excel mobile and word mobile for lists, quick capturing and project notes etc. I've also remapped many of the hardware key to open tasks, voice recorder, notes etc with a single press.

          I'm due an upgrade this month but it's working so cool now that I've finally set it up just as I've wanted, I dont want to upgrade and have to set it all backup on a newer device!!

          Let me know if you'd like any further info and screenshots etc.