28 February 2022
Productivity Hacks for Microsoft 365: A Guide for Busy People
Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? Everybody’s lives are busy, but some people just seem to have an edge when it comes to organising their time and working efficiently. For most of us some extra help is undoubtedly welcome, so we’ve sifted through the many tools and capabilities in the current Microsoft 365 suite to find the top 7 productivity boosters.
1. Microsoft To Do
This task app is a favourite that used to only exist in Outlook but is now available throughout other key Microsoft 365 apps. Instead of keeping separate lists in different apps, or separate businesses, you can now add to, and check off, tasks on a single list wherever you are working, on any Windows, Mac OS, Android, or iOS device. Moving from multiple lists to one can reduce overwhelm and ensure that important tasks are never overlooked.
We all can get distracted easily, but it is easy to configure apps so that they don’t take away our focus or cut into our downtime. The notification settings in each app, including Outlook, Teams, To Do, and Windows can be set to stop pop ups and sounds. Teams even has a feature that allows you to set Quiet Time. You just specify the start and finish window, and choose what’s allowed to happen, so you may want to stop messages but allow calls, for example.
3. Using Microsoft Planner Within Teams
We often create a team for collaboration purposes, such as a common project. Typically, project teams have meetings that produce action items. You can now add planner directly into Teams channels, so that tasks and action items can be grouped logically. Teams has become a default tool for many working groups, so bringing Planner into Teams keeps everything together neatly in one place, helping you to stay focused on the tasks ahead.
4. Using Cloud Storage
A lot of businesses are using Teams and moving to a cloud-based model but still storing files on a server or device. If the files are stored in the cloud, they are available for everyone with approved access. This has the added benefit of creating a single source of truth, instead of having any number of different versions in circulation. When it is time to review, you can make changes that are seen instantly, confident that you won’t find yourself editing an already outdated version. With version control built in, when you add comments, everyone can see them, and nobody is working in the dark.
5. Teams Chat
Who hasn’t had their inbox flooded by a ‘send to all’ email and its many responses? The discussion can get confusing, with many separate loops emerging, and trying to unravel it takes up a lot of time – as does a crowded inbox. If your business saves emails for situations where specific action must be taken, it can be a great productivity boost. The more general chat about a topic, and larger group interactions, are easier to follow in Teams chat, and allows everyone to quickly identify what they need to read.
6. Use Recordings in Teams
One of the most underused and underrated capabilities in Teams is the recording function. It is easy to record and share meetings and training sessions – so if someone is away, they can catch up on the content and save time. If you get a new employee, you don’t have to rerun a training session, they can watch it when it is convenient. Recorded training sessions can now include camera-facing whiteboards, so the presenter doesn’t find themselves blocking what they write, making it perfect for improving presenting style in meetings and brainstorming new ideas.
7. Outlook Quick Steps
This often-overlooked feature helps to manage frequent inbox actions quickly. Imagine you receive several emails every week from the same person, or on the same topic, and take the same action each time – whether that is forwarding to the same person, moving to a particular folder, or deleting. These actions can all be created as a Quick Step, where you set a rule to automate the repetitive action. It allows you to remain consistent, while saving time, so you can get on with your day.
Microsoft 365 has new capabilities added almost daily, so it is worth revisiting new features often. The friendly TechPath team is always happy to help you to filter through the many new additions to pinpoint those that bring most benefit to your unique situation.
Want to get more productivity gains from your existing Microsoft 365 investment? Contact us for a chat today.