Microsoft Outlook provides several ways to define task due dates. Most users are comfortable with entering a single task or even one that repeats on a regular schedule. There is another task option that is useful and quite flexible when you need to create a task based on the completion of the previous task. These are regenerated tasks.
Outlook Recurring Tasks
If you’re familiar with Microsoft Outlook, you’ve probably seen the option to create a recurring task. Generally, the task repeats based on specific triggers. Many of these triggers are predictable:
- Interval of above
Most of these triggers are self-explanatory. For example, I created a task to occur each Tuesday and Friday to water a friend’s plants while she’s away. This worked fine until I didn’t make it a couple of times. I now show some overdue tasks along with the current task.
Outlook Regenerated Tasks
There is another type of recurring task where the next task occurs only when you mark the previous task as completed. Initially, you may not think many tasks fall into this category. Here are some examples:
- Changing your oil every 90 days
- Donating blood every 2 months
- Getting a haircut every 6 weeks
These regenerated tasks are also good for goal reviews or building habits. Another difference between these types of tasks is that you generally don’t need to make up missed occurrences. If you’re overdue in giving a pint of blood, you don’t give 2 pints the next time you donate.
A benefit to using these types of tasks is you won’t see multiple open items.
In hindsight, I could’ve regenerated the task every 3 days. As I completed one watering, the next task would be queued for three days out. I wouldn’t see multiple entries. If I missed Tuesday, I still have the task, but only one occurrence.
How to Create a Regenerated Task
- Open Microsoft Outlook.
- Type Ctrl+Shift+K to start a new task.
- Type your task name in theSubject textbox.
- Click the Recurrence toolbar button.
- In the Task Recurrence dialog, set the radio button for your Recurrence pattern. (Think of this as the duration between tasks.)
- Click the Regenerate new task radio button.
- Enter a number in the day(s) after each task is completed box.
- Set your Start: date for the task.
- Select a radio button for the recurrence. You can either choose No end date or specify the number of occurrences.
- Click OK.
- On the Task dialog, add additional text, priorities, or reminders if needed.
- Click OK.
You should see the new regenerated task. If you double-click the task you can also see the reminder about the next task.
While I don’t use regenerated tasks with the same frequency, I appreciate the flexibility they offer. They provide another way to remind me of tasks that aren’t day or date specific. I’ve seen people get creative with using these types of tasks for establishing good habits such as exercising and practicing a new skill. Personally, I tend to use these types of tasks for many review or checkup processes. Your options are endless.