Task Management Supercharged

Task Management Supercharged

How a busy founder can keep track of all of their tasks and inboxes using a system that is operating system agnostic.

Running a venture studio means there is a lot to keep track of.

Email, SlackHQ, HubSpot SMS, Phone Calls, Calendars - the list goes on and on.

Creating tasks and reminders can be a very daunting endeavor as each platform I listed above has its own #taskmanagement system.

So how do I keep it all together?

Microsoft To Do

It does not matter if you own an iPhone or an Android - about 5 years ago I realized that I needed to create a system that is operating system agnostic.

Microsoft is the only company that operates its entire fleet of applications on Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android.

Building around Microsoft is a life hack that will allow you more freedom in hardware and software.

But let’s dig into why.

Running a Windows machine and an Android phone as my primary driver I need to store tasks that work with the operating system.

Google Tasks does not appear on Windows machines nor does Apple have a native task editor.

So, all users must download a “web app” for the hardware device they are on.

Downloading a web app leads you down an endless search of Task trackers but after trying over 10 of them, Microsoft To Do is the only one that works for me.

I’ll explain why.

Slack → Microsoft To Do

Working in Slack all day with a team that is fully remote means messages come in 24 hours a day.

Sometimes I read the messages and need to take action but just can’t at that time. So I press this button….

From Slack’s standpoint, this action saves all your messages to your Saved Items, like an internal task management system.

You need to go into Slack to remember to check these saved messages.

However, you can Zap any saved Slack items to Microsoft To Do with the following two steps.

Boom.

Now all your saved slack messages go into Microsoft To Do with a nice checkmark next to the item for when you complete it!

Email → Microsoft To Do

This is my favorite hack on the list.

I use Microsoft Outlook as my email client.

Why?

Because of the priority inbox. I either get important messages that need to buzz my phone and watch or unimportant messages I can read later.

Microsoft Outlook has a simple button “move to other” which allows me to tag any person that got my attention and shouldn't as “not-important” from now to the future.

What Microsoft also has is a “flag” email button.

At any point, if I need to remember to reply to an email or mark it as important I can “Flag” this email with a single click. I can do this from mobile, web, or my Windows client.

It even works from Gmail. Gmail calls it “starred” but because Flagging emails in Outlook is the same as Starring emails in Gmail the Zap will still work.

Multiple Email Accounts

Every entrepreneur has access to 22 email accounts at any time, right?

Microsoft Outlook allows you to create a universal Inbox so that you can add as many email accounts as you like (so does Gmail on mobile-only - which is why I don’t use Gmail on mobile.)

Each email account has its own Zap.

This allows you to send important messages to folders in your Microsoft To Do app.

You just rinse and repeat every time a new account is added.

Keyboard Shortcuts

When you go Microsoft you never go back. On both Android and iOS you can swap your keyboard with “Swiftkey” which is owned by Microsoft. Why is this important?

Whenever you are typing an SMS, searching Google, or using ANY app on your phone you have the ability to copy the text on the screen and paste it INTO your keyboard.

By pasting this text it goes right to Microsoft To Do as an item to remember.

You have quick access to all your tasks, adding new tasks, and appending old tasks.

You don’t need to create 100 zaps for each application - you just need to install Swiftkey.

Bringing It All Together

Tasks will start flowing seamlessly from your daily activities.

You will start realizing that any app you are in you have quick access to add tasks to Microsoft To Do.

Being on a Windows device you also have To Do baked into your operating system.

The left panel organizes all the data in a neat orderly fashion.

Each “zap” has its own category.

As you can see, “Flagged 923 emails” show up with a marking of 20 for me to get through.

Any items that are planned are organized chronologically in “Planned”.

I move “Major Tasks” to its own category to make sure that I gather those first.

When I wake up in the morning, I select items from Microsoft AI “Suggested Items” and add them to my day.

Remaining Humble

Another important Task Management Hack is to tell employees and people around you how you work.

I personally am not putting everything down into my task management system and sometimes people need help.

The people that work closely with me understand that reminders and nudges go a long way.

I always notice how nice the request is. “Kind reminder to do x” or “Andrew, I really need this done please.”

Working with a team that you trust and can communicate with is more important than any hacking system.

The point of a task management system is to help your brain remember things you can’t.

But if the people around you are the reason you are creating a task management system - remember that communication is always better than a system.

TL;DR Use Microsoft To Do to manage your tasks and your life will be much easier.

I regularly share insights on Twitter and in my Revue newsletter where I write all about my experience running 923_studio and other digital ventures, stay tuned for more!

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