Office 365

Task Management in M365 – How to make it work for you

M365 Branded Featured Image - Blog 1 - Task Management

At the start of the New Year, we often find ourselves setting new goals, setting resolutions and coming up with plans to make our lives, and working lives, that bit better or easier. But in order to stay on top of these goals we need to take some actions, and this is where good task management can really set you apart and help you to ensure that you are achieving your goals.

When we’re looking at work-based goals and tasks, there are a range of different tools that we can use to help us stay on top of things. The Microsoft 365 suite of applications alone contain a wide range of different tools and features that can help us organise and prioritise our workload.

However, with our Microsoft 365 applications, as you may already know, there are a number of different ways to do a similar thing.

Today we’re going to look at the different tools we have for task management and how you can make them work for you.

Tasks and OneNote

OneNote is our trusty digital notetaking tool – we can use it to gather, organise, store and share personal notes as well as notes for a specific team or project, enabling everyone to access and refer to the same information.

Whilst gathering meeting notes, quite often whilst accounting for key decisions made in a meeting, we also need to gather the actions, the detail around them and the owner responsible for making these things happen.

To identify an item in a notebook as a task, you can use tags from the Tags section on the Home tab:

1. Select the text on the page

2. Click a tag to assign

Top tip: Use custom tags (as shown in the screenshot below) to group tasks in new ways. In the example, Emma has been assigned the first two actions, and the final action is marked as “Important”.

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Another way that OneNote can be used to support proper task management is to assign items the Outlook Task tag. This creates the task in Outlook and allows you to input additional information such as a deadline and notifications. It also means that you can view all tasks across various OneNote notebooks and pages in one place and add additional items that don’t necessarily have a corresponding notebook.

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Tasks by Planner and To Do

Planner is the M365 tool optimised for team task management – with all the handy features to help distribute, organise and update tasks involved in getting a team to achieve a common goal.

To Do on the other hand is better optimised for your own personal tasks – providing you with a place to store reminders, detail out actions and check them off as you complete them.

Recently Microsoft has consolidated these two previously separate applications under one new header “Tasks by Planner and To Do” for use in Microsoft Teams. Making it easier than ever to keep on top of your actions. When working within Teams, we can benefit from hosting conversations, storing files, accessing applications and plans in one simple to navigate interface.

To create a Plan in Microsoft Teams:

1. Open the Channel within the Team best suited to host the plan (e.g. General)

2. Click the Add a tab button at the top of the screen

3. Click the Tasks by Planner and To Do icon

4. Enter a name for the plan in the Tab name field

5. Click the Save button

To add tasks to a Plan:

1. Click the Add task button

2. Enter the name of the task

3. Click Set due date and use the date picker for time sensitive tasks

4. Click Assign to select the member(s) of the team responsible for completing the task

5. Click the Add Task button

6. Click on the task to add additional details such as Progress, Priority, Notes and more

7. Drag and drop the task into the buckets to organise in a swim lane fashion to see at a glance what needs done

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Top tip: Access your consolidated list of tasks by pinning the Tasks by Planner and To Do app to the left navigation.

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The To Do Desktop App

To access tasks in one basic interface, download the Microsoft To Do desktop application from the Microsoft Store.

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Let us know in the comments below how you track and manage tasks using Microsoft 365 tools!

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