How do you manage "mini-projects?"

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JJB

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Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
I am barraged on a daily basis, by what I call "mini-projects." These are questions or requests that have many pieces like a project, but only last for a day or so. They are too numerous and too short-lived to assign them a category the way you'd manage a big project.

Example: Jim and his family are going to be sent overseas to run an office. I need to clear this through the budget office, our training people, Jim's boss here, Jim's new boss overseas. For privacy's sake, nobody should be privy to a response outside of their functional area. I send an email to each of the people listed. I now have 4 emails that all need to be responded to before I can move forward on Jim's assignment, the responses may bounce through several inboxes before coming back to me, and relevant side conversations are common.

My current solution is to track each email as a task (flagged when the email is sent.) This means a really long task list that sometimes becomes unwieldy. (I have 15-20 Jims at any given moment.) It's easy to not notice when all the pieces are ready. Do I create a 5th "Master Task" to monitor the original 4? If so, is there a way to link the original 4?

I'd love to hear how the community does this.

~JJB (Outlook 2010)
 

astro46

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
One option that I use is to list the various steps (eg: people to contact) in the notes section of a task. I can check them off as they are completed. and add subtasks below them. Notes field can be seen on tasks list, so depending on size of screen and notes column width, you may see all subtasks without opening the task. too bad that outlook tasks, being in stone age development, doesn't allow typing in notes field without opening the task.

there are onenote links in email, tasks, etc, that will place the email or task on a onenote page. each "project" can have a page, with the relevant emails, tasks copied onto that page. To me this seems more complicated and unwieldy, but you may find a way that works for you.
 

JJB

Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
Thanks for the insights. I've started to do just that, to a degree. I am in complete agreement with your "stone age" assessment.

I have discovered one additional half-solution. If you copy an email into the task notes, you can later open that message and do a "Find Related Items" search to get the whole thread. I'm hoping that this will turn into part of a solution.
 

astro46

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
after dealing yet again with Outlook tasklists rearranging, not listing correctly, etc. I set out to find another task/todolist program. currently I am using ToDoList, an open source, free program. It has an incredible number of setup options. Better than any of the paid programs I have looked at. You can set up numerous tasklists (projects), but I have simply used categories to delineate projects, allowing me to search for text, tags, statuses, etc across projects. I imported my Outlook tasklist into todolist. I am not immediately seeing a way to link emails to particular tasks, but this doesn't mean that there isn't a way to do it. It talks about being able to link documents to tasks, but I haven't tried this. todolist: http://is.gd/5WvixM
 
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