4 Microsoft productivity tools you should be using

Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that gives users access to a variety of Microsoft products for communication and collaboration, email and calendaring, cloud storage, and more.

If you're like most users, then you might be familiar with only the more popular Microsoft 365 apps like Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, and OneNote. However, there's more to the Microsoft 365 subscription than these software and apps. Did you know that Microsoft 365 is actually packed with tools that can help you manage tasks more efficiently so you can increase productivity?

Here are four of Microsoft 365's hidden gems that can help you get more things done in less time.

Microsoft Planner

For monitoring team-based projects

If you're working on a project with a team, then Microsoft Planner is a great tool to help keep everyone organized and on track. It’s essentially a virtual Kanban board where you can create task lists, assign tasks to specific team members, set deadlines, and add notes and attachments.

In Planner, you can also create individual project boards called Plans for your Yammer community, Teams members, or Outlook groups. You can fill up your Plans with tasks, then write descriptions or information for each and assign team members. This allows you to monitor the progress of your projects and see who is working on what.

Apart from the default board view that lets you see your team's progress, Planner also offers calendar and personal views. Use the calendar view to easily see when and which tasks are due, and use the personal view to check only your deliverables.

Microsoft To Do

For keeping track of personal tasks

Microsoft acquired Wunderlist in 2015 and rebranded the task management software as To Do, a stand-alone app meant to replace Outlook’s tasks section. With To Do, you can see all your tasks across your Microsoft apps at a glance. It’s a simple yet effective task management app, and it even syncs with Outlook so you can easily add emails to your to-do list. It has features like reminders, due dates, and subtasks that can help you stay organized and on track, and you can also share your lists with others for better collaboration.

Microsoft Lists

For creating custom lists

Microsoft Lists enables you to create custom lists for tracking data, tasks, or anything else you need to stay on top of. The app has built-in lists for common business tasks, such as monitoring inventory, logging customer concerns, and making event itineraries. If you can’t find a ready-made template that suits your needs, there’s an option to create your own. The app also lets you customize your lists with colors, icons, and conditional formatting to make them more visually appealing and easier to use.

And if you’ve been using Excel to create different lists, then you’ll be glad that Lists offers more functionalities specific to list-making, such as interactive checkboxes that can be used to mark tasks. It’s also easy to import your Excel spreadsheets into Lists and turn them into more user-friendly formats.

On top of these, Lists allows you to add, edit, and share list data with others. You can even add Lists as a tab in Teams if you want your list to be easily accessible by every member of your team.

Tasks in Microsoft Teams

For conveniently viewing all your tasks

Tasks by Planner and To Do, or simply Tasks, is an applet within Teams that enables you to manage and track your work without leaving the app. By installing Tasks, you and your team can view all your Planner and To Do tasks without opening those apps separately.

This means you can create and assign tasks, as well as track progress and deadlines, all in one platform This minimizes the apps you use to stay organized and on track with your work. It can also help reduce the need for emailing back and forth, which can save you time for more important duties.

These are just a few of the Microsoft 365 tools that can help you become more productive. If you want to learn more about how to leverage technology to improve productivity, talk to our business IT specialists at Cutting Edge.

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