Surviving in nowadays’ modern work environment and digital workspace where technology, collaboration and productivity are higher than ever, is not an easy task. Technology enables us to be more productive at work, doing more things in less time. Tools and apps facilitate us to manage our daily work and collaboration reached a new era, with smart tools that allow people to work together remotely from everywhere in the world. Well, I am also part of this working environment, exposed to all this technology and fast way of doing things, managing tasks, collaborating and much more. Sometimes I wonder: During my working day, which is the most difficult thing to do? The answer for me was: managing all the things that I have to do, simultaneously. In one word? TASKS.
As I said before, technology comes to help when we are talking about planning and managing tasks for various projects. I am not just talking about your Outlook calendar, but something more than that. As almost all of you, readers, know, Microsoft Ignite 2018 took place in September and many announcements have been done. The protagonist of this conference was doubtless Microsoft Teams and all its new integrations with other apps. Following the on-demand sessions remotely, my interest was caught by a session of about thirty minutes
presented Simon Chan, senior program manager, about how to manage my personal tasks across Microsoft Office 365.
And actually, this section answered my main concern: How can Office 365 help me manage all my daily tasks across different plans and projects?
Microsoft task ecosystem is complex. There is a multitude of tools for general purposes, tasks, work, project management that we can use in Microsoft Teams, Project Online, Planner, Outlook, OneNote, To-Do. And the possibilities are almost infinite. But this session focused specifically on managing your personal and individual tasks using the Office 365 app To-Do.
To-Do, your personal task manager
To-Do is basically your personal task manager that helps you manage your tasks every day across different platforms. Since today, in order to keep track of all these tasks happening everywhere, you needed to manually add them inside of To-Do. However, the vision of Microsoft is to put the user at the centre of the task management process, with control on all the tasks he is assigned to or has to accomplish.
So the plan is to capture all the tasks and requests across all the different apps and organize them in one single place: To-Do. Thanks to this, your productivity flow will highly benefit. But Microsoft is just at the beginning of the process to build this vision.
New Features in To-Do:
- My Day: it is a daily to-do list that teaches you to focus and achieve your most important tasks every single day. Moreover, “suggestions” gives you an overview of everything you had to do, but haven’t done yet. It helps you to be really intentional about the tasks you want to achieve that day. And this tool really works. Microsoft, thanks to a research, found out that actually 75% of tasks within My day are completed.
- Intune: Microsoft enabled support for Intune in To-Do. Intune is a cloud-based service in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space that helps to distribute applications while keeping your corporate data protected. It’s quite surprising that the company’s task management application was not supported by this platform but now that this support will soon arrive, it will make it significantly easier for Intune customers to deploy the app.
- List sharing: an easy way to collaborate on your listed tasks. A way to manage tasks in really small groups. You can share a list of tasks by creating a link and share it with the app you use the most (like Microsoft Teams). People who will receive the link are invited to join your list on To-Do. You can decide when to stop sharing your lists whenever you want.
- Steps: You can use steps to add more structured details to your tasks. But what you can also do with steps is to add subtasks where you can break down larger tasks into smaller and more achievable steps.
- Importance: A more permanent way to mark some tasks with high priority. But it is also a simple way to prioritize across lists. And it stands out visually, grouping all high priority tasks in one simple overview.
- Dark mode: It is available right now and you can have your To-Do app with a dark background. Everything has been studied properly in order to make visually attractive all your lists, tasks, priorities and highlights, despite the dark background.
To-Do new integrations across Microsoft Office 365
- Outlook tasks integration is available now: when you add a task inside of To-Do it appears also in your Outlook tasks. Everything sinks one to one. This integration is really helpful for everybody who establishes workflow between their email and Outlook tasks. Now they can just add those tasks on the phone in their To-Do app.
- Outlook Web Email Integration: your To-Do lists are integrated into your Outlook Web Email, so you can easily drag and drop tasks from your emails in your To-Do lists. This integration will also help you manage your inbox better and reduce the number of emails in your inbox while keeping track of all the tasks you are required to do. Moreover, you can manage your tasks while checking your emails without switching between different apps. Coming in late 2018.
- Outlook Calendar Integration: with To-Do integrate into your Calendar, based on your lists of tasks and priorities, you can easily manage your calendar and block some time to focus and accomplish high priority tasks, without living your Calendar. Coming in late 2018.
- Flagged emails: The way flagged emails work is very simple, but it is also an incredibly powerful tool. When you receive an email that requires you to take some actions, simply click the flag, go to the To-Do button on your Outlook, and you will find that flagged email directly on your To-Do list. Flagged emails work across all Outlook clients. Coming in late 2018.
- Planner and To-Do: Planner is the place to go for all your team work management. In Planner it happens that you are assigned a lot of tasks. And to see all your tasks within Planner, you have a window called “My tasks”. However, what if you want to see in one place your Planner tasks, together with all your other tasks (like from your Outlook or other apps)? The answer to this is the integration of Planner in To-Do. This integration will be rolled out in spring 2019.
With these new features and integrations, Microsoft makes To-Do a more usable and flexible task management app. It seems that To-Do will become THE hub for task management, while Microsoft Teams is the hub for collaboration. If you want to know about the new features of Microsoft Teams announced during Microsoft Ignite 2018, read the blog Microsoft Ignite 2018: Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork.