Outlook 2010 - tasks vs flagged emails

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by Suelin23, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Suelin23

    Suelin23 Registered

    Jun 5, 2010
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    Melbourne Australia
    I've recently changed over to using Outlook 2010 for managing my task lists, and just noticed that the GTD guide recommends only using tasks, not flagged emails for NAs, although Outlook can do both and there are other setups on the internet that use both.

    Any thoughts on reasons why and which is better?

    One pro for me is that Outlook tasks sync to my phone much better and I can see them in the same app I use for my home tasks, but flagged emails don't come across.
    However it's faster to just flag an email and assign a category and I can also do this from my iPhone, whereas to setup tasks with the email in it I need to be on the laptop.
    Would be interested to hear what works for others.
  2. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Sep 11, 2008
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    I dislike using emails for tasks because an email is not a nice one-to-one clear communication of a task. One email may include several tasks. Figuring out the task represented by the email might involve reading a couple of paragraphs, and if the email list is your task list, you might do that dozens of times before the task is done.

    If for some reason I did want to use emails for tasks, for some technical/software reason, I would forward them to myself with a subject line that was a nice clean description of a single task, plus a prefix that makes it easy to distinguish task emails from regular emails.

    For example, if Jane sent me an email about several issues that she had with an application for which I was doing support, I would convert that email into as many tasks as it represented. Her one email:

    Subject: Problems with new version--can you call?

    might become three emails:

    Subject:TASK-- Investigate crashing of Widget Annual Summary report
    Subject:TASK-- Research interface issues with Widgetbase password change
    Subject:TASK-- Export Q1 Widget data for Jane

    Each email would have the content of the original email, because I would likely be too lazy to edit it, but the tidy subject lines would save me from having to actually read them until I decided to actually work the tasks.
  3. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Jun 3, 2008
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    I don't use Outlook but I also don't like to mix e-mail and next actions. What i do is save a link to the e-mail in my task manager.
    The reasons are basically the same as Gardener, em-mail often contain several tasks, maybe even across project boundaries and are rarely concise and complete descriptions of the real next action.

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