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Looking for software that checks next actions against projects

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  • Looking for software that checks next actions against projects

    One of the things to do during the weekly review is to check that all current projects have at least one next action.

    I use Outlook and have already found the instructions at http://home.comcast.net/~whkratz/id3.htm, with how to turn Contacts into Projects each with associated next actions assigned to them. This is an excellent and highly recommended improvement but it is still far from ideal.

    To check each project for next actions one has to laboriously open each Project and then open Activities....and for some reason Outlook is soooo slow.

    It would be great to have a piece of "to do list" software that can give you a project list with each project's next actions listed alongside. Projects that don't have any next action linked to them would also have to be listed. Also, the next actions that are not linked to any project should be listed. It would make the weekly review so much quicker. This can't be hard to construct so why has no one produced such a software.... or have they?

    Does anyone have any info or experience on this matter? Cheers

  • #2
    Originally posted by tominperu
    I use Outlook and have already found the instructions at http://home.comcast.net/~whkratz/id3.htm, with how to turn Contacts into Projects each with associated next actions assigned to them. This is an excellent and highly recommended improvement but it is still far from ideal.

    To check each project for next actions one has to laboriously open each Project and then open Activities....and for some reason Outlook is soooo slow.
    I don't use Outlook anymore, but as an alternative, you can use an extra field to store project names, and then look at your tasks in a collapsible list using that field. That does make one aspect of the weekly review easier. I taught my wife to do this using one of the fields that KeySuite syncs, so she has her projects on both her work and home PC as well as her palm.

    Life Balance, which runs on pc/mac/palm platforms (windows mobile coming) will do what you want, but requires different practices than Outlook to make GTD work.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your response. Actually I now realise I have done that already, but thanks for clarifying it can be done already in Outlook.

      As you realise, one still has to click though all the projects to make sure that each project has a next action. What would be ideal would be a complete project list with a sublist of all next actions for each project, with also a list of unassigned next actions. Then hopefully one could drag and drop next actions onto projects as necessary.

      If that is the case with Life Balance that is fantastic. I will look for that and check it out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tominperu
        Thanks for your response. Actually I now realise I have done that already, but thanks for clarifying it can be done already in Outlook.

        As you realise, one still has to click though all the projects to make sure that each project has a next action. What would be ideal would be a complete project list with a sublist of all next actions for each project, with also a list of unassigned next actions. Then hopefully one could drag and drop next actions onto projects as necessary.

        If that is the case with Life Balance that is fantastic. I will look for that and check it out.
        You can do that with either Outlook or Life Balance, actually, but the technques are different.

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        • #5
          But how in Outlook? Does anyone have some instructions?

          I had the trial Outlook Add-In for a month. Maybe I missed something but I couldn't find how to get a complete list of projects with each project's next actions also listed alongside. Is this really the case? If it was possible it certainly wasn't clear how (Tell me if I'm being really thick!).

          I tried out the trial Life Balance today and liked it and it was immediately obvious how it worked. It also has some nice other features that aren't in Outlook. Now I need to save to pay for it!

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          • #6
            mmm... I have now looked at the presentation on the Outlook Add In on this site. On the presentation it shows a project list as I would like.

            I still say either the add-in wasn't working with my version of Outlook or how to get that view wasn't clearly signposted.

            Hope other users have more luck.

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            • #7
              Thanks a lot!

              Perhaps I was being a bit thick! I remember I wasn't so familiar with Views in Outlook when I tried the Add-In, so I missed it. Thanks for the clarification. I may try the trial Add in again and take my pick, if they let me a second time!

              I realise the Outlook Add-in certainly helps with emails although I'm not actually unindated with those.

              If anyone knows a simple open source "to do list" software that can do what I want let me know. I live in a Third World country and have little income.

              Good to know its there to buy if I need it though. I've got some quick answers on this forum so thanks to all...

              Comment


              • #8
                Check out this software...

                Here is a nice alternative -- check out this program.

                http://www.effexis.com/achieve/planner.htm

                -Longstreet

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                • #9
                  You can try TaoNotes

                  [QUOTE=tominperu]Thanks for your response. Actually I now realise I have done that already, but thanks for clarifying it can be done already in Outlook.

                  As you realise, one still has to click though all the projects to make sure that each project has a next action. What would be ideal would be a complete project list with a sublist of all next actions for each project, with also a list of unassigned next actions. Then hopefully one could drag and drop next actions onto projects as necessary.

                  Dear Tominperu! You can give a try for my application TaoNotes. It does exactly what you want it seems.... but better check it by yourself
                  TaoNotes page

                  best regards, Vadim

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You may find Julia's method useful. This shows the NA in both their context and their Project. When the task is completed, it is removed from both lists.

                    See Julia's post here.

                    HTH

                    DW

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Julia's method no - Any opinions on Achieve Planner of TaoNotes?

                      I previously came up with this myself, but it doesn't solve the problem.

                      Yes, with this method one can easily see which next actions are grouped together into which projects, but it doesn't make it any easier to check each project has a next action - which of course is a crucial part of the weekly review. If there isn't a next action for a project, the project simply doesn't appear as a project category!

                      One can compare a complete project list with the project categories but this is a terribly tedious method (unless one has very few projects). Preferable to this is the method of turning Contacts into Project as explained in http://home.comcast.net/~whkratz/id3.htm. But as I mentioned in my initial post, this is also somewhat laborious.

                      Since my last post, I have tried to use the Trial Outlook Add-in again. It doesn't seem to load properly as I get no Active Tasks by Project List view at all. I have tried Life Balance but can't get used to its rather inflexible and automated prioritisation system.

                      I've also tried to use Tao Notes but it has seemed rather complex and until now I haven't had the time to play around with it to see how it works.

                      Achieve Planner (http://www.effexis.com/achieve/planner.htm) may work but I haven't had time to download it yet, let alone try out the trial.

                      If anyone has tried out either of the above and has an opinion, (especially related to the problem of my initial post) I am interested to know. I'd rather get another's opinion before I invest too much time in trying to work them out myself.

                      I'm still using the Contacts as Projects method for now. It's rather sluggish but I suppose it saves me US$50 - US$ 80, which is what it seems I’d have to pay for any other solutions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bonsai

                        Bonsai might work for you. I use it to lay out my projects, then it synchronizes the next action to the Palm To Do List (or I use Agendus and it works there too).

                        http://www.natara.com/Bonsai/index.cfm

                        Deanna

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                        • #13
                          I use the add-in and use task views to see what I want. I don't know why yours did not work. The view Active Tasks by Project will show only the project master task if there are no next actions assigned to that project. The view Next Actions by Project will show next actions that have no project, too. By configuring views, you can get almost any information you want to see.

                          As to the price of the tools, only you can determine what is an acceptable cost. I found the the add-in to save me many hours of thinking about how to set up a trusted system. For me, that was worth it. I wanted to spend my time GMTD [Getting My Things Done, all rights reserved ], not setting up my system. I have heard good things about the white paper for outlook, but never tried it myself. It is lower priced but results in a system that has a little less automation.


                          Ken

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                          • #14
                            If you live in outlook at work , the cost of the add-in is well worth it , just for the steps it saves you . Like Ken said , they've pretty much set up a " trusted system " for you [especially with the update from last october ]. I've tried doing without the add in just to see how much it really was helping me . I can honestly say it's much easier to follow the gtd process using the add in with outlook .

                            It helps you get to that place David refers to as " grooved on automatic " .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you are using a mac try Kinkless GTD

                              http://kinkless.com/

                              If you aren't using a mac then your NA is buy a mac obviously

                              Michael
                              Last edited by mmurray; 03-16-2006, 01:32 AM. Reason: Smilie not displaying ??

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