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Oklahoma Bar Association

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Microsoft Task Management Tools Can Be a Challenge to Implement- Here’s a Great Guide (August 6, 2020)

A busy lawyer is often juggling dozens of projects, tasks and deadlines. Most lawyers delegate important tasks to legal assistants or other staff. But if the task you delegated could have profound negative consequences if missed, few lawyers are willing to delegate it and forget it. There needs to be tracking or monitoring of the assigned task.

Lawyers use to-do lists. But most of these are hand-written lists of what they need to do today or tomorrow. There are great task management tools available. But many lawyers don’t use these tools or don’t use them well. Microsoft Outlook has a task management tool, but it is not used by many of us. Let’s face it. Most lawyers who have a critical deadline, like a statute of limitations expiring, will use the Calendar instead— a 9:00 am appointment that says Smith Statute of Limitations Expires today and likely a similar one the day before. It is often said we lawyers live by our calendars. But if you have three critical deadlines one day and set them at 9, 10 and 11 am, it looks like your calendar is full that morning when it’s really just your to-do list.

To add to the challenge, Microsoft now offers several tools that are integrated with Microsoft 365 and have features that seem to overlap.

Your tip today is to read, or at least bookmark, Which Tool When: Microsoft Lists, Planner, Tasks in Teams, or To Do? This is a great overview of tools that are a bit challenging to comprehend, to say the least.