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Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook: My Review

Updated on March 3, 2013

The Best Day-to-Day Organization Book I've Read

Are you tired of seeing hundreds of emails in your inbox? Have you read book after "how to get organized" book and struggled to figure out how to implement the recommendations? Total Workday Control was the answer for me. You may want to read it too.

I've read most of the organization workbooks. Fifteen years ago I had a Franklin Planner binder, then a Dayrunner, then a running to-do list.

Eventually I tried Getting Things Done, soon followed by Master Your Workday Now.

Does this sound like you?

ALL the books had great ideas and came close to what I needed. What Total Workday Control gave me that none of the rest had was a step-by-step guide to implementing the system with my current environment: Microsoft Outlook and and Apple iPhone.

It's a brilliant book, and I highly recommend it. Read on for more.

Image courtesy of Amazon

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How this book helped me

What I love about this book is that Linenberger gives detailed, specific instructions to implement the Master Your Workday Now organization approach in a Microsoft Outlook world.

Twenty years ago I successfully used a paper Franklin Planner and loved it. But as email and desktop apps invaded my life a paper binder didn't work any more.

The Challenge

Most electronic planning systems I looked at were either too cumbersome (Franklin Covey's software for example) or didn't integrate across multiple platforms. (In my case I use a Windows laptop, an iPhone, and an iPad.)

Some "getting organized" books gave me approaches and theories that I knew made sense, but didn't help me figure out how to implement them in Outlook. For example, both the Getting Things Done and the Master Your Workday Now (MYN) system recommend having an empty inbox and a regular approach to managing tasks. But anyone who's used Microsoft Outlook's tasks can tell you the interface doesn't exactly streamline your day.

Artificial due dates can actually lead to more missed deadlines

To Do
To Do

The Solution

With Total Workday Control I learned exactly how to implement the MYN system in Microsoft Outlook. It gives detailed instructions for Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Mac 2011. He walks you through the three horizons of the MYN program and shows you very specifically how to configure Outlook tasks to meet your needs.

All the usual gotchas are covered: follow-up tasks, delegated actions, scheduled versus unscheduled tasks, categories, roles, and more -- and explained from both the MYN system perspective and how to implement in Outlook. This is exactly what I was looking for.

Equally important, he gives specific recommendations for apps to use in your mobile phone in order to sync with Outlook. For example, he recommends using TaskTask on the iPhone and iPad, and Touchdown on Android-based devices. My job requires a LOT of travel -- the ability to sync my Microsoft tasks to my mobile phone is critical to my day to day life.

I like the Master Your Now approach to managing my work day, and love how Linenberger makes it 'real' for us. As a result of Linenberg's clear and concise writing I now have an empty inbox and a manageable work day. What more could I ask for?

Help implementing Total Workday Control

These tools can help you implement the Master Your Workday Now system using the information in Total Workday Control.

You might not want this book if:

A guide to when you should look elsewhere

No book is all things to all people. While the recommendations have absolutely improved my life and productivity, that won't be the case for some people:

  • Are you using Lotus Notes in your office? If so this is not the book for you.
  • Are you adamantly attached to a particular productivity system (besides Master Your Workday Now)? You may still glean tips, but this book is specific to Linenberger's system of organization.
  • Are you using a version of Outlook that's not on the supported list (currently 2007, 2010, and Mac 2011)? You might still enjoy the book, as long as you understand there will be differences in your version.
If you fall into one of these categories you will do best to consider Linenberger's other book Master Your Workday Now -- which lays out the theory of his organization system but isn't specific to Microsoft Outlook.

Learn more about Total Workday Control

I'd love to hear your comments.

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    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      A wonderful lense - thank you.

    • profile image

      Timsmansmall 5 years ago

      Nice book review.

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks for sharing this! Having a way to organize all we do is a great helper!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Excellent review. I like how you told your personal story. Good work!

    • bsalas lm profile image

      bsalas lm 5 years ago

      @Elsie Hagley: That's great! I'm glad things are working for you. I'm juggling enough different tasks that my work week runs about 60 hours...IF I organize well. Otherwise it's more like 80 hours. (ack)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great review! I don't use Outlook, but I do use an Excel spreadsheet for both personal and business to-do lists. Glad you found something that works for you!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for your review, I am sure it will be helpful to others, but at my age, I seem to get everything I want done, done.