How to Plan and Prioritise Tasks in Microsoft 365

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For any business, improving productivity is a major key to growth. The productivity tools available with Microsoft 365 help people do more with their time, not just individually, but as a team. With apps such as OneNote, Planner, and To-Do, both you and your staff can get more done during the workday, to help your business grow. Here are some ideas for using Microsoft 365’s main productivity apps.

OneNote

OneNote is a versatile piece of software that’s great for note-taking, but it can also make prioritizing tasks a breeze. Tomorrow morning, try the following process to help you decide what tasks are most important.

1) In OneNote, draft a list of every task that needs to get done today.

2) Use tags to designate each task’s priority level.

3) Tag the highest-priority tasks as “Important”. This also tags those tasks with a star, to help you see at a glance what the “must-do” tasks are for each day.

4) Use other OneNote tags such as “Priority 1”, “Priority 2”, and “Remember for later” to plan what needs to get done and when.

5) Plan your day’s work with the priority list in mind. Get the high-priority tasks done first, then turn to the non-priority tasks, getting the most difficult or time-consuming items done before the quick and easy ones.

Adding New Tasks

Throughout your workday, you’ll probably have new tasks to add to the list. If they’re quick, easy and can be done in five minutes or less, it’s often most productive to just get them done immediately, then return to whatever you were doing before. If it’s something that will require a bit more effort, add it to the bottom of the list. If you don’t have time to finish it the same day, add it to tomorrow’s list.

Planner

If you’re using OneNote to plan your day, what are you using to plan individual tasks and projects? Planner is a great option here. This app is specifically designed for project management, so it’s the obvious choice when you’re planning something big or complicated.

Within Planner, tasks and other discrete items can be separated and organized in columns called buckets. There are plenty of ways to use buckets to organize a project. One simple method is to chunk out a project into a number of buckets according to whatever categories make sense. Then create single cards for each task, and drag each task to the appropriate bucket. As tasks are completed and checked off, they’re automatically archived, so it’s easy to see at a glance how the bucket is progressing.

Planner has some important benefits. As project manager, it’ll help you track the progress of each team member to make sure they’re keeping up. It helps prevent miscommunication, so that everyone’s on the same page at each stage of the project. And it helps you make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and what each other team member is doing.

Planner also integrates nicely with Microsoft Teams, giving your project team additional ways to communicate, and share and manage information.

SharePoint

SharePoint offers a cloud-based location for storing and collaborating on documents. However, while it can work brilliantly when it’s set up the right way, some organisations do have issues with making it work for every different department.

The key to making it work is to set up different file “sites” for each department. Within each departmental file, additional subfiles can be created according to whatever works for each department. For instance, within Finance, subfolders might include accounts, expenses, invoices, and others.

With this method, each department only has access to the file sites that are relevant to them. Nobody has to wade through lists of irrelevant documents, and it helps ensure that sensitive information is restricted to those who need to see it.

Teams

Microsoft Teams is Microsoft 365’s main communication hub. It’s a feature-rich app that can also integrate with a number of other Microsoft 365 apps, including Planner and SharePoint. In fact, one of the best things you can do as a project manager is to add a Planner tab to Teams, to get the benefits of both.

Within Microsoft Teams, you can:

  • Replace individual apps such as Slack, Skype, Messenger, and internal email.
  • Create multiple teams with different member lists.
  • Save virtually any kind of document and find it easily with the search function.
  • Selectively share documents and information to the appropriate teams.
  • Hold group chats and meetings, including audio and video conferences, and record them.
  • Schedule private meetings for one-on-one conversation, or start impromptu team meetings.
  • Used as an alternative to internal email, streamline your inbox and store information more logically.

To-Do

This personal task-management tool is a simple and intuitive way of managing and prioritizing tasks. Within the app, a user can create task lists, add deadlines, categorise tasks, and integrate with Outlook Tasks if they wish. And, because each user’s To-Do list is stored and organised privately, it’s easy for users to structure their day according to their own preferences.

Interested in the planning tools available in Microsoft 365? Contact ACUTEC today to discuss making the switch.