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I work in a large corporation, so using Outlook is mandatory - All the e-mails, contact lists, appointment requests, room scheduling, etc., goes through the Exchange server. It is therefore very convenient for me to use Outlook as a dashboard - It is always open, and I look at it frequently. If something appears on Outlook, I can't ignore it.

However, Outlook is a very poor organizer w.r.t tasks and projects. You can't divide a task to sub-tasks or set next actions. It is also poor at keeping "project support material" other than e-mails.

I know that there are many good personal task managers, GTD implementations, etc. available either on the web or as standalone applications. The functionality that I am looking for is displaying "next actions" and deadlines from that service or app on the Outlook calendar and task list. It does not have to sync back from Outlook, one-way is perfectly fine. I don't mind setting up some elaborate configuration and/or doing some mild hacking, as long as it does not tamper with the Outlook installation.

Did anyone have good experience with such a setup? Thanks.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Outlook has been working perfectly well for me as a GTD system for > 5 years. I'm using a pretty plain vanilla GTD approach in Outlook, with the Tasks as my primary list manager.

There are setup guides available from DavidCo for various versions of Outlook. (See this one for Outlook 2010)

There is also a plugin available from NetCentrics.

I don't use either of those, having migrated to Outlook from paper and then a Palm desktop. The root of my system is Tasks, using outlook's categories as tags, some smart Task Views to show me the things I want to see, and a customized Outlook Today dashboard. See here or search "gtd outlook dashboard" for hints on how to approach that.

GTD is not intended to be a project management system, and doesn't automatically tell you what to do next. What it excels at is giving you a place to keep track of your stuff, so you can see it all and make intelligent decisions about what to do. The tools can help with the drudgery, but you still can't delegate the decision making. And for this approach to GTD, Outlook works just fine.

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This is an interesting approach. I'm not sure I would like to give up on personal project management altogether, but simplifying it is a good starting point. – Little Bobby Tables Jan 27 '13 at 11:20

I like Asana. Beautiful, clean interface, and great ability to create tasks, subtasks, etc. Integrates with Outlook nicely! Good luck!

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