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Adding "projects" functionality to Outlook tasks

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  • Adding "projects" functionality to Outlook tasks

    I've been lurking here for a while and finding it very interesting, although this is my first post.

    I started partially implementing the GTD process about six months ago, and find that the system I have now works really well. I now have David Allen's book, and might implement some other parts of the system in the future. But mostly I'm happy with what I have at the moment.

    I installed the trial version of the Netcentrics Outlook addin, but found it doesn't really suit my workflow (which is not 100% GTD). I'm looking instead to customise my Outlook environment a little more.

    What I would really like most that I haven't been able to do so far is organise my tasks into projects. I already use Outlook categories to identify clients, but there are situations where this grouping is not enough - sequential tasks belonging to different (concurrent) projects for the same client, for example. Being able to set reminders, deadlines and notes on entire projects would be very helpful.

    Does anyone know of any add-ins (commercial or otherwise) that have this kind of functionality? Spending US$69 on the Netcentrics add-in seems a little excessive when I only want 10% of the features Plus, I've heard there are stability problems with Outlook 2003 (the version I'm using).

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Bill Kratz developed a method using outlook called "Projects-as-contacts."
    He used to have a web site with full instructions, but I think it is no longer up. Maybe you could try the wayback machine...

    If you set up a project as a contact, then lots of the outlook features for linking projects with reminders, appointments, etc. works.

    I do not use this method, but maybe one of the other forum participants who does can give you more details.

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    • #3
      You can download the PDF for Implementing David Allen's Workflow Processing Using Microsoft Outlook for $10. It has configuration instructions for setting up Tasks for the various GTD lists (Projects, Waiting For, @Agenda, etc.). Or you can download the GTD Outlook Add-In for another $60, and save yourself an afternoon of tweaking Outlook by hand.

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      • #4
        Found it in the wayback machine:
        http://web.archive.org/web/200412291...hkratz/id2.htm

        I also discovered that the pages are still online... it's just the homepage that it not active anymore.

        What a fantastic resource, and what a shame it's not available (except like this) anymore! Does anyone know what happened to Bill Katz?

        I'll definitely be setting up the "contacts-as-projects" approach... thanks for the pointer, kglade!

        Gameboy70, the reason I don't wanna fork out for the add-in is that they're mainly concerned with the parts of GTD that I'm *not* using... I really just want the projects. Looks like the contacts-as-projects stuff is exactly what I need.

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        • #5
          Bill

          Originally posted by kay
          What a fantastic resource, and what a shame it's not available (except like this) anymore! Does anyone know what happened to Bill Katz?
          Recently Bill supplied the VB macro to this forum so he is still active in the GTD area.
          TesTeq

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          • #6
            Hi,

            You can also set up multiple categories for task items. This is what I do, one for context and one for project. I preface my projects with [proj] and made separate views, one for only those sorted by next actions and one sorted by project.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by vegheadjones
              You can also set up multiple categories for task items. This is what I do, one for context and one for project.
              I tried that for a while - one category to signify the client/project, another to signify the type of task. But I ran into the problem where Outlook sorts and groups categories alphabetically when there are multiples - so it's not consistent, four tasks for one project might be grouped under the project name and a fifth would be grouped with the task type. I guess I could get around that by using special prefixes to signify which categories are clients and which are task types... hmmm... but then I think the "projects-as-contacts" system will probably work out easier anyway.

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