People often ask me the best way to manage their priorities when out and about or on the road. Most of us have phones or tablets that sync our email and calendars, and although these apps are always going to be lightweight compared to a tool like MS Outlook, they still do a reasonable job of helping us to stay on top of things when away from our desk.
The question of mobile productivity usually revolves around how to manage tasks and priorities on our mobile devices. The good news is that our devices will usually sync with our task list in Outlook, but which app you use on your device will depend on your organisation and the restrictions they might have in place. Here are some options:
For those using Android devices, tasks in Outlook will usually sync to the Calendar app on the phone. This does depend on the phone itself, but I usually find that there is a Tasks view in the Calendar that should automatically sync with your Outlook tasks.
iPhones and iPads
The default task app on the iPhone/iPad is called Reminders. The Reminders app has the ability to run several separate task lists, and one of them is called ‘Tasks’. This is usually the one that syncs with Outlook. In some organisations this syncing will be disabled for security reasons, especially if the organisation tries to keep everything that syncs with Outlook in a secure environment. In this case your email and calendar may have to be accessed through the Outlook app on the phone. The problem with this is there is no task function in the Outlook app. See next point if this is the case.
To Do App
For those using Office 365, you will have access to the To Do app. This is a part of Office 365, and you should find that your tasks will sync to this automatically, although you may have to install the app from your Office 365 online portal. One of the challenges with the To Do app is that it does not use Start Dates for tasks, so any tasks that you enter into the app will show up in a group called ‘No Date’ if you are using the Smart Work task system. It is simple enough to then schedule them properly when back at your desk. Otherwise, it’s a simple and effective task management app.
This has been my go-to task app for a number of years. It is an app that you must purchase through the App Store, and it will not function in many organisations because of security restrictions. But if it does work, it is the best of the bunch. It is clean, simple and is the only app to allow you to access and see emails that are attached to tasks.
I reckon it is worth having a play with the apps mentioned above, and to work out which will work best in your situation. It can be really helpful to be able to see your task list when in meetings or travelling, and to add to it when you think of a new action.