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Outlook vs. Act

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  • Outlook vs. Act

    I just started the paper based GTD and I am going to use my computer to manage GTD. I already bought the Outlook add-in but in the book David mentions that he uses Act. I am confused on which to use. I would like to hear your feedback.

  • #2
    Act is mostly user for heavy-duty customer relationship management. If part of your job it to contact people on a regular basis and keep track of that, Act may have some features you'd find useful that Outlook doesn't have. Outlook is enough for most people.


    • #3
      Originally posted by avanderbilt
      Act is mostly user for heavy-duty customer relationship management. If part of your job it to contact people on a regular basis and keep track of that, Act may have some features you'd find useful that Outlook doesn't have. Outlook is enough for most people.
      Actually, I would ammend that to say this:

      Act is an extremely powerful customer-relationship-management (CRM) solution, probably the best non-server based solution available for people whose job it is to maintain customer contact and keep track of that contact.


      In my opinion, Act does not replace Outlook... I don't think Act is nearly as good at, for example, maintaining GTD lists. Or calendars and tasks lists. Or handling the day-to-day minutia involved in getting things done. If you need a CRM, Act is a great solution... however, if you need a PIM (Personal Information Manager) Outlook is currently unmatched.

      I think of Act as a powerful contact manager merged with a phone log on steroids... I think of Outlook as a powerful list and calendar manager with powerful groupware and messaging functionality built in.

      Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong.

      --- JRJ


      • #4
        I guess the big question about all of this becomes how to successfully use both. I agree that Act is a great contact manager. As my new company grows, I'm finding that Outlook might not be the ideal solution for me as it relates to recording the minutae of every contact I have with every client.

        But trying to use Act AND Outlook would require a lot of duplicated effort, and duplicated data, wouldn't it?

        I'd love to hear how someone who's successfully using both apps in a "mind like water" state is doing it, because it seems to me like too much time spent doing work ABOUT my work, instead of just plain doing the WORK.



        • #5
          Act and Outlook

          I can't avoid using ACT, I have a database of over 2000 clients and I track conversations, show emails I sent to that customer, and show a lot of to do items. I am just starting to use GTD. But I feel if I use outlook for everything except customer items I shouldn't have any duplication.

          My goal is to use Outlook for my email, my action lists for projects not related to a specific customer,and my notes to jot down misc ideas.

          ACT tracks my customers personal information and the process of getting my customer from introduction to close and follow-up marketing. If a customer calls I need to be able to tell them where they are in the process.

          example use - Customer calls me for an update on their loan status (i'm a mortgage broker) and also mentions they want to buy a commercial property.

          I would update act with our conversation then go to Outlook and create a project "Develop Commercial Loan Program"

          I guess that would make outlook my project manager, am I on the right track?



          • #6
            That's an interesting idea.
            I guess the easiest way for me to start that process would be to export all my contacts from Outlook to Act and see what happens.

            I'd certainly like to be able to keep better track of my contacts - and to do them in the "Notes" section of individual tasks means that when I check off that task as "complete", the notes disappear along with the task.

            Thanks for the advice.



            • #7
              In outlook, if you enter the contact in the task, the task seems to appear in the activities tab of the contact even when closed. Not sure how this sync's, though.




              • #8
                Thanks for the tip - I'll have to check that one out.



                • #9
                  One slight snag is that you can't enter a contact direct into the table view of the tasks. You have to drag it from the contact folder to the @agenda category heading of the task list to create a blank task for that contact.

                  If you're dragging a mail to your task list, this will come up as a task form and you can drag the contact into the contact field of the form.

                  If you're syncing to a palm, you'd also need to drag the contact to the start of the description and add a unique character such as ":"so that searches on the palm don't pull up every reference ni the body of every task note.

                  It all sounds like a bit of a chore, doesn't it? And you probably have enough of those already!

                  Keen followers of Bill Kratz may notice some similarities to his rather elegant approach to handling projects on outlook. He takes it further and explains it better than I can, with pictures, at


                  I think I'll give my simple version a try.