Visual task management is one of the most simple yet powerful productivity techniques: no surprise there are plenty of applications for its implementation. The only problem: they are mostly stand-alone application while we usually use Outlook for work. Even in case you pick the best productivity application and yet you have to switch between the applications, this automatically leads to a productivity drop down. Meanwhile, the visual view is almost irreplaceable when it comes to strategic planning. The solution that enables visual task management of Outlook tasks without leaving its interface is called TaskCracker for Outlook.

TaskCracker

TaskCracker is based on the principals of the visual Urgent Important Matrix which is also called Eisenhower task management method. The main principal of the method is that when you come to strategic planning of your tasks, you can measure their value judging from the two parameters: its urgency and its importance. Urgent tasks are rarely important while important tasks are rarely urgent. When you look at your to-do list with all the urgent tasks marked as important, you simply lose the prospects off sight. When the same task list priorities are shown visually in a form of a view, you can see which grids of the matrix are over-crowded by tasks and which ones are not completed enough. This way, you can correct your behaviour in order that your task list matches your goals.

How to install TaskCracker?

As with any other application I started by the trial which I downloaded from TasckCracker.com and ran it as any other application. Note that your Outlook needs to be close during the installation and when you re-open your Outlook, you will find the TaskCracker button already there. When you hit it, you will discover that all of your tasks are already presented in a grid view when you hit the TaskCracker button. When you go back to the original Outlook to-do list, you can see the tasks in the form of a list again. This way, you get the visual view for strategic planning and you still have the to-do view for completing your tasks one by one.

TaskCracker button

How to work with TaskCracker?

At first glance, TaskCracker looks really beautiful which is really a breath of fresh air in the strict office software. The tasks are color-coded depending on their priority. You can move tasks around with a drag and drop and this will automatically give them new status: priority and deadline. Believe me, since you open the TaskCracker view, you will want to move something around because of two reasons: the first one – because it looks so good, and the second one, which is more serious, is because the visual matrix view shows you at a glance where you’ve planned your tasks in a strategically wrong way. Seeing your weaknesses and your strengths is one of the main advantages you can profit when using TaskCracker, and, what’s more, you can change the situation with a slight movement of the mouse. Here is how it looks like:

Outlook visual method

Visual Task Management

Visual task management gives you a number of advantages over other productivity systems first of all because you can perceive more information visually rather than when exploring a text. This way, you don’t need to guess if you can do this or that tomorrow or if you have forgotten to plan something for today. The grid view gives you full visibility over your workload.

Setting priorities according to your goals is easier with the TaskCracker matrix view: when you place low-importance tasks to the lower grids and the more important ones to the upper grids, you can separate tasks that are moving you to your goals from the tasks that distract your attention and used to seem important. This way, you can change your work behaviour towards more productivity.

You can combine your daily agenda in a more productive way: drag and drop is really quick and the new status is applied to the task automatically once you put it into a new cell. This is much quicker comparing to the standard way when you open each task and set a new deadline and priority and you already forget what you wanted to change on the way of doing it. The visual interface helps you concentrate.

Verdict

TaskCracker installs quickly, doesn’t require additional settings, looks need and works fast. Using the add-in turned out to be a pleasant experience. The possibility to combine the familiar productivity tool, Outlook, and visual task management techniques inside the same application helps strategic activity planning and productivity. 

Product video:

 

With TaskCracker you can visually manage tasks using Urgency / Importance matrix inside the native Microsoft Outlook interface.


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