Ask the Admin: Recurring Hourly Tasks in Outlook

By | Mar 15, 2010

I had a request from a reader about setting up recurring tasks in Outlook on an hourly basis.  I know of only two options, both of which are workarounds.  After doing some Google searches, I haven’t found anything else better, though.

Use the Snooze Button

The first option is to set a daily recurring task starting first thing in the morning.  When your reminder pops up, set the snooze time for 1 hour.  Then, throughout the day, whenever the reminder pops up, just keep snoozing it for an hour at a time.  At the end of the day, remember to mark the task complete so you get the next task popping up the next morning.  This isn’t the most precise option, since you may not see it immediately when it pops up, but it is the easiest to set up.  If you need to set your reminder for an hour after the last one, it works well.  If, however, you need to have your reminders at precise times, then try the next option.

Multiple Recurring Tasks

If you need your reminders to occur at precise times, then the other option is to set up a recurring task for each time of the day that you need a reminder.  It takes longer to set up, because you have to set up multiple tasks, but you’ll get your reminders precisely on time.  For example, if you need to be reminded of a task on the hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., then you’ll set up 10 separate recurring tasks, each with a reminder for one of the hours (8 a.m, 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., etc., etc., etc.).  The set up is annoying, but you’ll get your reminders at the precise times you need them.  Again, remember to mark each task complete so you get the task to reoccur the next day.

Software Workarounds

Remember, no software will ever have all of the options you’d like.  Sometimes you have to use your ingenuity to make software do what you need.  When you need a piece of software to do something it isn’t designed to do, stop and think about what the software does do, and how the software works.  Often you can come up with what the tech folks call “workarounds”.  Essentially, you use the software to do the job the software isn’t designed to do, as we did above with the recurring tasks in Outlook.  Being able to come up with workarounds when you need them can make using your software a much less frustrating task.

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