Outlook 2007 Comments

I repeat my opinion that Microsoft Outlook is designed by “feature addition”, rather than driven by a useful philosophy of time management. Programmers with weak time management skills themselves will look for tips that they can hard-wire into the code, thus making it easier to do trivial things, but perhaps harder to do some of the essentials.I did some research into Outlook 2007, hoping that it would have some of the capabilities I wanted, but instead I ran into the following “new” features:

  • Flagging Mail as TasksOften tasks are contained within e-mail, so getting tasks into your task list used to mean manually entering the information. With new mail flagging in Office Outlook 2007, that is no longer the case. With Flagging Mail as Tasks, you can create a task from your e-mail in one simple step. Simply right-click to flag your message and designate a date for completion. The item is then added to your To-Do Bar and the due dates are integrated automatically into your calendar.
  • Task Integration on the CalendarPreviously you may have scheduled fake appointments on your calendar to account for the time your tasks would take. Office Outlook 2007 integrates tasks on the calendar in the Daily Task List so that you see them displayed beneath your daily appointments and meetings. To allot time for working on a task, you simply drag the task onto your calendar. When you complete a task on a given day, the task “sticks” to that day, providing a visual record of the work you performed. Tasks you do not complete roll over to the next day and accumulate until you mark them as complete.

I was struck by mention of the “fake appointment”. They are missing a definition of the word “appointment” that is suitable for their purposes, so they essentially make one up! This comes from not having a firm and coherent theory driving the design of this feature, IMHOIt looks like they are allowing Tasks to become items on the schedule with more ease, and I think this makes sense. I like the idea of the task “sticking” to the time and day on which it is completed, as this has been a complaint of mine.What I don’t like is that I am not sure if the same thing happens with an appointment, or an item scheduled into my calendar, such as “complete taxes”. If I actually perform the action 2 days later, will it also “stick” to the new day?As I mentioned in a prior post, the field of time management is a strange one. Every single professional on the planet is bound by time, and how it can be used, or not used, in exactly the same way. Most are operating at levels of inefficiency that are costly to them and their companies.However, I am yet to find a school, discipline or conference on the topic of time management. I also cannot find any research, or academically rigorous thinking.Now, why is that?Is it that time management does not fit into any single discipline’s neat box? It has aspects of industrial engineering, management, psychology and sociology. It is truly interdisciplinary in nature, which is the reason that I think it does not feature.Hopefully, I am just plain wrong here, and there is some web page that has EVERYTHING on it that I have just not yet found.Someone, please, let me know!