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18 Feb

Let the to-do-list write itself in Office 365

Datum: 2020-02-18 11:38

Let us say that there are things you do at work more than once, per­haps even rel­a­tive­ly often. And they are not tiny tasks either, but rather, small­er projects that take more than a work­day to com­plete and in them­selves con­sist of a num­ber of small­er to-do-tasks.

You com­plete these tasks or projects from time to time for dif­fer­ent cus­tomers, dif­fer­ent months, or some­thing else that make them dif­fer­ent from one time to anoth­er. Every time you need to repeat the task, there is some­thing new and unique about it.

Doing instead of writing

But sure­ly you do not want to rewrite all the small to-do-tasks, which the more exten­sive task con­sists of, every time you are going to do them?

Would you not rather ensure that the to-do-tasks are auto­mat­i­cal­ly writ­ten on your to-do-list so that you are able to focus on doing the tasks rather than spend­ing time writ­ing down the things you have to do?

I have found a way to do this for those who work in Office 365. (If you use anoth­er email-client than Out­look, such as Gmail or Mail for Mac, wait for next week’s edi­tion of Done! where I will share how to do the same thing in these email-clients.)

Do this

Let us say you use Out­look Tasks as your to-do-list, which is a tool a lot more Out­look-users should explore if you ask me. And to have an exam­ple to play around with, let us say we are going to bake a series of dif­fer­ent cakes and cookies.

  1. Cre­ate a new plan in the ser­vice Plan­ner in Office 365 and let this be the place where you plan all your bak­ing. Let us give it the title Bak­ery”. To make it sim­ple, only cre­ate two columns: To bake” and Have baked”.

  2. In the ser­vice Flow in Office 365, cre­ate a new flow that will work as a tem­plate con­sist­ing of all the tasks you have to do when you are going to bake something.

  3. As a trig­ger, choose When a new task is cre­at­ed” in Plan­ner and choose to work with the Bak­ery” plan.

  4. Now add the first action, which is that a new task will be cre­at­ed in Out­look Tasks (called Tasks in Flow) when a new task has been cre­at­ed in Plan­ner. In my bak­ing exam­ple, I could name the task Buy ingre­di­ents for” and then add the title from the task cre­at­ed in Plan­ner since I am going to name the tasks in the Bak­ing plan after the kind of cake that is going to be baked.

  5. Next, set a due date, which you actu­al­ly can cal­cu­late auto­mat­i­cal­ly. I want to buy the ingre­di­ents one week before the cake needs to be ready, so then I use the add­Days-func­tion and set the due date for the pur­chase to be the due date for the bak­ing day minus sev­en days.

  6. Add the remain­ing to-do-tasks which the larg­er task (in my case the bak­ing) con­sists of as more actions. The tem­plate is almost finished.

  7. The only thing that remains for me to do is to cre­ate yet anoth­er action that will make Out­look send me an email remind­ing me that the plan for the upcom­ing bak­ing ses­sion is ready.

Let’s say you now want to make a batch of cookies.

  1. In Plan­ner, add a new task and name it cook­ies”.

  2. Choose what date you want the cook­ies to be ready and click Add task”.

  3. A few moments lat­er you will get an email from Flow that lets you know that the plan for bak­ing cook­ies has been created.

  4. After a quick look in Out­look Tasks you are now able to con­clude that all the to-do-tasks that are required to bake cook­ies have been auto­mat­i­cal­ly added to your to-do-list — with the exact cal­cu­lat­ed due dates.

Was this hard to grasp in writ­ten for­mat? Here, I made a video for you:


More time for the right things

By using this clever func­tion, you will get the to-do-tasks writ­ten with­out hav­ing to write them when you have to do things more than once. You will spend less time admin­is­ter­ing the to-do-list and will get more time to actu­al­ly do the things on the list.

What’s your way?

Have you used Flow for some­thing sim­i­lar or some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent? Feel free to share in a comment.