3 things as to why I think Microsoft ToDo is more than just your average ToDo list

By August 31, 2021Microsoft ToDo

Another interesting way that I use and set up Microsoft To Do is also around the collation of reference material. For example, browsing websites and things like that. Quite often, you might be on your phone or your mobile device where you are reading or consuming content and you might need to or you might want to have a reference back to that material. Rather than bookmarking it or things like that you can actually use To Do and set it up in a way that allows you to easily use it as a referencing tool as well.

In this article, what we’re going to take a look at, or what we’re going to discuss in a little bit more detail is Microsoft To Do and the integrations that Microsoft To Do provides throughout the course of my day and also across different applications inside of Microsoft 365.

Now, Microsoft To Do is, I guess, often thought of and spoken about as a simple task management application or tool. Now, this is true, but I think it’s actually a lot more than that. And when I go through a couple of different scenarios, hopefully there’s some key takeaways there and some different ways in which you can potentially use Microsoft To Do as well.

In addition to managing tasks, there’s some things like jotting down ideas or thoughts that randomly pop up over the course of a day. You might be walking or driving or out and about and you have an idea or a thought and you quickly need to jot that down or make a note of that. Then Microsoft To Do can actually help and assist in that way, too.

Use Microsoft ToDo to collate reference material

Another interesting way that I use and set up Microsoft To Do is also around the collation of reference material. For example, browsing websites and things like that. Quite often you might be on your phone or your mobile device where you are reading or consuming content and you might need to, or you might want to have a reference back to that material. Rather than bookmarking it or things like that, you can actually use To Do and set it up in a way that allows you to easily use it as a referencing tool as well.

Now, the first thing I want to talk about and, I guess, a really common thing that the integration here with another application that I use To Do for ease when I’m in Outlook. When I’m consuming my email or going through my email on my mobile device, there’ll be times where I need to follow up on an email or read it later or take an action on that item, when right in that point in time I don’t have time to actually do that right then and there, so what I do is I actually… In iOS, on my phone, what I can actually do now – and this is a really nice, easy, simple integration – is that I can create a task directly from Outlook on my mobile device. When I’m reading an email, then I can click the three little dots that appear next to the delete icon or the rubbish bin and I can actually create a task directly from that UI there.

Adds the item to the default task list

Now, when I click on create task, it actually adds it to the default task list, but… And this is one of the key aspects here is that I’ve now got one application where I need to go to that has everything that I need to take action on, everything that I am collecting or collating, and I don’t need to go to different applications.

Now, we talk about the flow of work. Now, the flow of work for me is when I don’t need to change context or I don’t need to switch applications; I’m there doing something and I don’t want to change my state or my flow. This is one of those instances where I’m reading emails. I don’t want to then have to flick out to To Do or open up another app on my phone. I can stay inside Outlook, click the three little dots, and I can create a task directly from there. Nice and simple, saves me time and it’s just a really practical way of doing it.

Now, the other way inside of Outlook is obviously to be able to flag an email. Now, when you flag an email, this is what’s called a connected application. Inside of Microsoft To Do, if you don’t see the list that’s called flagged emails, you can go into your settings of To Do, and under the section of connected apps you can actually turn that on so when you flag an email, it will automatically add that email with a link to that email, mind you, straight to the flagged email list that gets set up inside of To Do. There’s two ways there in which you can not break the flow of what you’re doing, in this instance reading email, you can actually then collect any action items or followups or anything like that from those emails that you’re reading, and you’ve now got a central place where you can go, that is Microsoft To Do, to to follow up on those.

Track Microsoft Teams messages with Microsoft Todo

Now, the next thing I want to talk about is Microsoft Teams. Now, there’s some new functionality that’s rolled out to Microsoft Teams now where you can create a task from a message. Now, obviously with the increased usage of Microsoft Teams, a lot of people are getting overwhelmed and consuming a lot of messages throughout the course of a day. Now, quite often we’re not able to respond to those messages right then and there on the spot. There are a couple of different ways in which we can, I guess, follow up on these. We can use the save, we can save those messages in our saved list. But again, for me, that’s just another place I need to remember to go to try and find things that I need to followup on. I would prefer to be using a single application like To Do to be able to know and trust that application, that it’s got everything in there that I need to take action on. When I’m in a message or when I’m in Teams, I’m reading some communication through there, then if I can’t respond directly quickly, usually with, I guess, a two to five second response, then what I’ll do is I’ll actually… Again, if you hover over the messaging question, you click the three little dots, you go to more actions, you can actually then create a task.

Ability to choose the list in ToDo

Now, the great thing about this functionality here is when you click create tasks, you can choose the list in To Do where that task gets created, you can set the priority, you can even set due dates, and you can take notes and add additional information if you need to as well. It also puts a link in the description or the notes section right back that message so you don’t lose track of what you are adding to that list. There’s a direct link back to that particular message. A really great piece of functionality.

Those two in particular, creating tasks from Outlook, especially on your mobile device, and also the ability to create a task from Microsoft Teams allows me to gather anything that I need to follow up on. It’s not specifically a task I need to complete but just something I need to come back to. And that’s where a lot of people may not see the use in To Do for other types of scenarios like that because we’re thinking of it more as a task list or a to do list that we need to tick things off.

Use Microsoft Todo for “read later” material from your mobile device

The next two topics here you may not have even thought about as well. One of the uses of To Do I use as well, especially… And again, on my mobile device, I might be browsing a website, reading some content and might come across something that I want to remember. Rather than bookmarking that in my browser or, again, opening up another application to make a note or copy and pasting URLs and things like that, what I do on my iOS device, on my iPhone, is actually click the share tray in the browser itself. And then what that does is open up the share tray and it allows me… and the integration here allows me to tap on To Do, and then I’ve got the option to choose To Do and send, and I can select a list. I’ve got a list set up that’s called reference. In that reference list, I’ve got a lot of items in that list that I’ll want to keep reference to. Again, it’s another central location where I collate all of my reference material and I can then open up To Do… When I’ve got focus time, I can then organize that reference material into other locations if I need to or want to, or I can just keep that reference list there as a central place.

Now, the last thing here is also another cool little feature on my phone, on your iOS device, is the ability to use Siri. Now, what you can do with Siri is you can actually add a shortcut, a voice activated shortcut that allows you to not have to type or open up To Do to add items to a list. What you can do is give Siri a command. I’ve got a command that says, when I say, “Hey, Siri, add a task,” it opens up Siri and then it adds… You can create and set the default list that the task gets created on. If I need to be hands-free, then I’ll use this option here. If I’ve got a quick thought or an idea or something I just need to jot down really, really quickly, then I’ll use that.

Ideation with Microsoft ToDo ?

And that actually puts it into a list that I’ve got called ideation. I’ve got reference material as a list. I’ve also got ideation as a list. And again, it might be something small like that, but what that does mean is that, again, I don’t have to have multiple different applications to manage all of this. I’ve got one application; Microsoft To Do. I’ve got it integrated through Outlook, through Teams, through the browser as well, as I mentioned, through that share tray where I can take and collate all my reference material, and also voice activation through a Siri shortcut. Again, saves me time, also allows me to clear things out of my head, any ideas so I don’t lose that idea if I’m out and then have to come back to the office and things like that, or I don’t need to open up another application on my phone to make a note of that because I might… That means I’ve got different places I need to go to try and then get across or collate that information into a single location to take action on. Microsoft To Do, I hope that information brings you some value and opens up a few other possibilities and potentials in how you can use Microsoft To Do over and above just the simple task management application a simple to do list.

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