more on long-term reminders

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about losing all of my long-term reminders. Since I wrote that post, I found out that I can use Microsoft To Do at work. I just can’t use the web-based version. And the desktop software had to be pushed down to my machine; it isn’t generally available unless you ask for it. So here’s my observations about using MS To Do in our environment.

When I first launched To Do, it prompted me to pull in my Planner tasks and my flagged emails. It did fine with the Planner tasks, so I guess I can now use Planner and To Do together, if I want. It did not actually pull in my flagged emails from Outlook though, probably because we’re still using on-prem Exchange. That’s a bummer, since I do use those flags a lot.

For tasks that I create directly in To Do, I can set up both due dates and reminders, and the reminders don’t have to be on the same day as the due date, so that’s nice. For my long-term tasks, I generally want to surface them a few days before I actually have to do them. So if an SSL cert expires on a Friday, I want to get the reminder about it on Monday, so I can do it at some point during the week. To Do also supports recurring items, which might be useful for me. I haven’t tried those yet though.

To Do and Planner both share one slightly annoying weakness: While both support a free-form notes field on a task, it’s only a plain text field. That might not seem like a big deal, but it makes it hard to, for instance, paste in a link to a OneNote item the same way you can in an Outlook task.

I’ve also noticed that To Do doesn’t have a calendar view, and doesn’t integrate with Outlook’s calendar. (Maybe it does, if you’re not using on-prem Exchange. I’m not sure.)

So, putting this all together, I guess I can decide to use either Planner or To Do, or use them in combination. I think Planner is really supposed to be a group project management tool, and To Do is supposed to be an individual task management tool, so I should probably just use To Do. (But of course I’ve already created my tasks in Planner, so I’d need to redo all that work in To Do, if I was going to abandon Planner.) Regardless of what I do there, I’m going to wind up with a more complicated system than I used to have, since it’ll now be a combination of Outlook (for calendar and flagged emails) and at least one other system, or both.

I kind of want to go rogue and find a third-party service or piece of software that’ll be better than Planner and/or To Do, but of course then I’d be risking the wrath of the security folks who don’t like that kind of thing. And I’m still entertaining the idea of going low-tech and just creating a 43-folders system in OneNote. I should probably spend less time thinking about this stuff and more time actually working, huh?

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