Dec 08, 2005

tag your tasks!

Use Outlook?  Love keeping todo lists, but hate the default task entry screen UI?  Following some version of the gtd mantra, and foregoing due dates for hard scheduled calendar landscape?  In love with tags, and your seemingly endless desire to apply free form metadata to small snippets of text?

Then this is for you.  I hereby present the most streamlined task entry form ever.  Now with tags!

Through the magic of Outlook and customizable forms, I've hacked Outlook's default task entry form down to the bare essentials:  the task, tags on the task, and its priority.  I've saved this as my default form for the "Tasks" folder in Outlook, muscle-memorized CTRL+SHIFT-K, and voila: super fast and easy task entry.

One of the most underappreciated aspects of Outlook is its "Categories" feature, which has both an overdesigned popup with embedded checkboxes, and a free form text entry field.  The free form one takes comma delimited words and turns them into individual categories.  For my implementation I pumped up the font sizes, and sexed up the word "Categories" by renaming it "Tags" to give my Outlook install just a bit of Web 2.0 cred.  (Next up, yellow fade!)

The task listing is pared back to these three fields, and set to automatically group by whatever I'm sorting on -- priority or "tag" -- and I can use Outlook's (lame for email, fine for everything else) search feature to limit my todo list on a particular word.  (Who needs contexts, when I can limit my view to things with the tag "waiting for"?)

I'm not into writing "how to's" for fun, so I'm not going to even attempt to writeup how you can add this to your Outlook install, but if you want the .oft file, here it is, provided on an as is basis, with no support, no guarantees, and a warning it may kill your kittens and erase all your data if you even look at it funny, etc.

Now, back to the task list.