An Experiment With iOS Reminders and Task Management

For a while now, my tools of choice for task management have been Microsoft Outlook, gSyncit by Fieldstone Software to sync my Outlook tasks to Google Tasks, and then gTasks HD on iOS and gTasks on Android to actually manage the tasks.

Since upgrading to the iPhone, and having been using the iPad as my main tablet for the last few months, I thought there had to be a better way to get my tasks from Outlook to my iOS devices, as well as a way to get the reminders Siri was creating for me back up to Outlook.

I have an Exchange account included with my ISP account, that I am using for my main email. So I decided that I would enable Reminders on that account on my iOS devices, and see how it would work, as that would eliminate the gSyncit middleware. But I wasn’t happy as my categories from Outlook didn’t carry over, and I found my task list under Reminders was fairly useless for any serious task management. But then I discovered that if I used folders, instead of categories in Outlook, the folders would sync to Reminders! Now, I could view my tasks by context based on the folder under iOS, and it didn’t impact my workflow any. So far so good!

The only remaining issue to overcome was Siri. The tasks created by Siri were not syncing back to Outlook. Digging into the iOS settings, I changed the default Reminders list for Siri from Reminders to an Exchange list, “Actions”. My thinking here being that many of the short term reminders created by Siri are of a more immediate nature.

ios_reminders_cropped

Now, tasks I create under iOS with Siri sync back to Outlook, where I can then assign them to the proper context during my daily review.

While it has been less than a week since I’ve made these changes, I do feel comfortable with them. And as an added bonus, I eliminated both Google Tasks, and the gSyncit application from the equation, simplifying my life since I no longer need to manage the sync process.

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