I’ve been trying to wean myself from all Microsoft products lately, by which I mean everything: the entire Office suite, and Outlook. The Windows OS too, though that will take longer to achieve: I’ve already decided that my next laptop will be a Mac. I have technology envy for the Air, though Yvonne has nixed that on the grounds that it’s apparently a chick magnet.

This is the story of my attempt to wean myself from Outlook. It’s not been easy. I’ve been using Outlook for a decade now, & I use it heavily, for everything except email. My calendar, task list, & addresses, all in Outlook. Once Google developed the functionality to sync Google Calendar with Outlook, I was pretty much sold and moved to GCal almost completely right away. But the task list was a stumbling block. I did a lot of searching for good task list apps, of which there are several, but none of them sync with Outlook, which meant that I would have to manually re-enter all of my tasks in a new app, & I didn’t want to do that.

Recently Kristin & I were talking about this, and a few days later she sent me a link to this post from Unclutterer. That was the tipping point… I’d read about Remember the Milk, but was holding out (in vain, apparently) for something that syncs tasks with Outlook. Anyway, I just decided to bite the bullet & manually retype all of my tasks into RTM. Ugh. It took me a week to do it, but it’s done now.

So far, so good. I like RTM; it syncs with Google Cal & there’s an iGoogle widget, so that helps. I like the ability to tag tasks. Now if I can only figure out how to get it to sync with my Palm, I’ll be back to the level of integration I was at before.

So now I’m completely out of Outlook. I have not launched Outlook for two days, and I feel the unbearable lightness of being. Except for my addressbook, that’s still in Outlook. But that seems like it should be a pretty minor move. All of those are on my Palm anyway (thanks to Palm’s sync with Outlook) and there must be a bunch of contact list apps out there anyway. Anyone have any suggestions?

This has all been a huge time-sink, and really just not the sort of thing I should be spending time on, especially not this time of the semester, when I should be doing more important and time-critical things like, oh you know, grading. Course prep. Revising journal manuscripts. Writing a manuscript review. Writing grant proposals. Al of those things that are on my task list in the first place.