Delegating Effectively: Using Microsoft Outlook

Once actions have been delegated, then the delegator can use the functionality within productivity software to track and manage those delegated items. The following are three methods to track delegated action items using the Task function in Microsoft Outlook but can also be applied to other productivity software’s such as Lotus Notes or Google.Adult business man reading and signing documents at his office

Create a category. Using categories in Outlook allows users to view e-mails or tasks assigned to a person in one group. In Outlook, there is only one category list to use for all functions including Calendar, Email, Contacts and Tasks. First, create a new category by the person’s name. Then, categorize e-mails or tasks that have been assigned to that person simply by right clicking on the task or e-mail item, choose Categorize and then click on the person’s name. Once items are categorized you can view them by category by clicking on View/Arrange By/By Category. When having a one-on-one meeting follow-up items can be quickly accessed by using the category view.

Create one task item. Another option is to create one task for each direct report or delegatee. Name the subject line of the task item by the person’s name. In the text and notes section of the task window, type in a listing of all action items with due dates. This can then be one location for all the delegated items for that person.

In Outlook, you can also create a table from the Insert ribbon inside the notes section of the task list. This can make it easier to track actions by creating columns for the action item, due date, completion date, notes and status of each delegated action.

Create separate task folder. In Outlook, separate task folders can be created. Click on the task folder and go to File/New/Folder and the Create New Folder dialogue window will open. Enter in the name of the person and click OK. This will create a new separate sub-task folder by that person’s name underneath the primary task folder. Then create individual task items under this new task folder for the delegated action items. All delegated task items are then organized under one task folder to make it easy to manage and track.

To learn more about all task list management, download Getting Tasks Done, by K.J. McCorry