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  • My turn: My Weekly Planning Hack in Outlook

    Hello Folks,

    There have been some great ideas presented in this forum for preparing a weekly plan, or the creation of a "weekly radar" list as an all-day appointment in Outlook. Another person created a separate context category he called his "On Deck" area; he would scan his next action lists and then place the ones he needed to focus on doing in this separate category. All of these are great ideas! I wanted to share my variant of how I use Outlook and the PlannerPad to focus my week.

    After conducting my weekly review, I have a good idea of what is due this week, i.e. has to be done, and what I would like to focus on relative to my monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. I scan over my next action lists (I have the standard context categories for GTD: @Computer, @Office/Work, @Online, @Errands, etc. Here is my personal tweak. I have TaskPad setup so that it only shows next actions that start with an asterisk. It does not matter if they have a due date or not. This way, I have a weekly focus or weekly radar list right next to my calendar. I also have next actions color coded based on due dates. Actions with no due date appear in normal black, actions with a due date today are in blue, actions with a due date 2-7 days are in purple, actions with a due date 8-14 days are in green, etc. If I want to schedule a specific block of time to complete a next action, I can quickly move it to my calendar from the TaskPad. The power of this is that I don't have to rescan all of my next actions after completing one to see what I want to do next. I have already made that decision for the week on what I want to focus on. Now, with that said, I still use the GTD approach in that I may find I am too tired at the moment to do what I still have on this weekly focus list, or I have an extra 10 minutes before a meeting, etc. I then go back and scan my next action lists to see if there is something I can do that would fit right then based on my energy level and amount of time I have. But most of the time, I move on things I have in my weekly focus list.

    I also use a PlannerPad (Executive size) and use it in the same manner. I have my weekly focus list at the top, and I number each item -- not by priority, but to assign them a code. The next section on the PlannerPad is the Daily things to do area. Here, I assign next actions with the idea that this is not a regular "to-do" list, but next actions I wish to focus of for the day.

    At any rate, this is my way of bringing some planning and focus for the week, all based on my notes from my weekly review.

    Best regards to all,
    Longstreet

  • #2
    I also have next actions color coded based on due dates. Actions with no due date appear in normal black, actions with a due date today are in blue, actions with a due date 2-7 days are in purple, actions with a due date 8-14 days are in green, etc.
    Can you give me a hint on how you do that? I've been playing around trying to figure out how you are color coding them. It's probably staring me in the face, but I haven't found the way yet. I did see where I can change the font on completed and uncompleted tasks. But how do you get Outlook to color it based on the due date.

    Maybe I am reading this wrong. I'm assuming that as another day passes, Outlook automatically changes the color of a task, the closer the due date becomes, yes?

    Comment


    • #3
      Color coding task in Outlook

      Hi Elena,

      Here is what you do:

      (1) Right click on the top of taskpad and select customize current view.
      (2) Choose automatic formatting.
      (3) Click on the add button.
      (4) Name your rule -- Let's use due over the next 7 days.
      (5) Click on font; choose whatever color you wish and click on okay.
      (6) Click on condition, then the advanced tab.
      (7) Below the field, type due date.
      ( Under condition, select over the next 7 days.
      (9) Click on "Add to list".
      (10) Now click on all of the okay buttons for all of the screens.

      Your next actions that are due over the next 7 days should now appear in whatever font and color you have chosen. You can do this for any span of days. I can help more with some of the spans as it is a little different. Go ahead and try this to see if it works for you. I do this on Outlook 2003.

      Best wishes,
      Longstreet

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