How to set up Outlook for GTD

Written by w.a. leon
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How to set up Outlook for GTD
If you configure Microsoft Outlook the right way, you can get more things done. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a work productivity system created by David Allen. Allen believes that implementing the GTD system allows you to be more productive while enjoying a stress-free state of mind. At the heart of the Getting Things Done system is capturing every work task, large or small, in written form. Allen's company has devised a way to use Microsoft Outlook as a tool to capture tasks in a systematic way. By making use of Outlook categories, you can organise your projects and tasks so that you can get things done wherever you are.


    Task list

  1. 1

    Open Microsoft Outlook and select "Tasks."

  2. 2

    Go to "Task" view. "Click "Tasks," directly below the "To-Do List."

  3. 3

    Delete all existing tasks.

  4. 4

    Find the "Current View" panel and select "By Category."

  5. 5

    Click "Customize Current View." You will see the "Customize View: By Category" window.

  6. 6

    Click the "Fields" button. You will see a "Show Fields" dialogue box.

  7. 7

    Add the "Complete" and "Notes" field to the "Show these fields in this order" column.

  8. 8

    Remove the % Complete, Attachment, Categories, Flag Status, Icon, Priority, and Status fields from the "Show these fields in this order" column. Click "OK" when done.

  9. 9

    Click "Group By." The default setting should be "Categories, Ascending." If so, click "OK."

  10. 10

    Click "Sort."

  11. 11

    Sort items by "Subject, Ascending." Click "OK" when done.

  12. 12

    Click "Filter."

  13. 13

    Click the "Advanced" tab. Click "Field," "Frequently-used fields," "Complete."

  14. 14

    Click "Add to List." Click "OK" when done.


  1. 1

    Click "Categories" in the Outlook toolbar.

  2. 2

    Click "New" and add GTD categories, or rename the existing default categories. Recommended categories are: Projects, Someday/Maybe, @Agendas, @Anywhere, @Calls, @Computer, @Errands, @Home, @Office, and @Waiting For.

  3. 3

    Click "OK" when done.

Tips and warnings

  • Read the book "Getting Things Done" to get a thorough grasp on the concepts and methodology of the GTD system before implementing it with Microsoft Outlook.

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