In our last article, we looked at formatting your task lists in Microsoft Outlook in order to easily identify certain tasks and group them by client. In this article, we’ll look at sharing your task list with your clients, or your colleagues so that you can keep track of your tasks and save time on communicating updates.
This is a great function of the Outlook task list that enables you to track tasks as they are worked on and automatically update others on your progress. It also allows you (or your client) to request status updates as the job progresses. To assign a task, you first need to create it, and then send it as a task request to somebody else who can decline or accept it, and even assign the task to someone else. This is useful for your clients, who can create tasks in their task list and assign them to you to complete, they will then be kept updated via email updates as you make changes and add details.
Assigning tasks from your task list to somebody else
There are different steps depending upon whether you are assigning a new or existing task:
1. To assign a new task, under task view click file > New Task.
2. To assign an existing task, open the task list and click on the task that you want to assign. Click task tab > Manage Task group > Assign Task.
This will open the task and here you need to enter the email address or name of the person you are assigning the task to in the ‘to’ box. You could also select a name from a list of contacts by clicking ‘to’.
Next, enter a subject or task name if it is a new task (this pre-populated if it is an existing task), select a due date and any other status options as applicable. You can also set up the task as a recurring one and opt to receive a status report each time the occurence is completed.
To keep an updated copy of the task on your task list, or receive a status report when complete, make sure that you check the relevant boxes check box and the Send me a status report when this task is complete check box.
When you are happy with all of the information you have entered, click ‘send’ to assign the task.
What happens after a task is assigned in Microsoft Outlook?
Once the task is sent, the recipient has a few options. If they accept the task, then they will become the permanent owner. At a later date, that person is then able to assign the task to someone else, and when they do, the new assignee becomes the owner.
Only the one of a task can make changes to it. However, when changes are made, all copies of the task are updated, including previous owners and the person who originally created the task.
When the owner completes the task, Outlook automatically sends a status report to the person who originally assigned the task, all other prior owners, and anyone else who requested a report.
Next week we’ll look at tracking assigned tasks and keeping on top of assignments with status reports.