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  • Conspiracy of Palm?

    I am looking for some feedback and tips from GTDers using Outlook and Palm devices who think this is effective.

    I have been trying for about a month and am so frustrated I am about to smash my palm device (Clie) into a billion pieces .

    I want to emphasize that am not critical of GTD, just the palm/outlook combo.

    I just can't get it to be fast enough. Case in point, just now, I made a phone call, I tried to take notes on the clie but I can't write fast enough, I get too many graffitti typos, and my focus was on the clie so I found myself asking the other person to repeat things because I wasn't paying attention in real time.

    Now, it turns out the person I called is not the right one to answer my question, but promised to leave a message for him to call me. So, I should whip out my clie (or do I open Outlook tasks), create a new @waiting for and somehow make sure that this doesn't slip my attention at the end of the day amid the roughly 30 next actions I already have(because I really need this question answered today in order to buy airline tickets).

    I can't get this to work well.

    I tried not using the Clie for notes and collection but then am faced with combing my paper notes for action items and typing them into outlook and then syncing to the Clie.

    In contrast, I have a paper notebook and when I use it to take notes during phone calls it is fast enough and I have been writing for enough years that I don't even think about it while I am doing it. I wrote on one line in the notebook, "Rolf will tell Fabien to call me asap." Then I put a big PLUS sign in the left margin which is my shorthand for "pay attention to this, more action required." I keep the notebook open on my desk all day and can glance at it during spare moments (dialing the phone, coming back from getting a coffee, etc.). I know to scan the notebook for PLUS signs near the end of the day.

    In the outlook/palm method I never know if I entered something into outlook or into the palm, did I sync the two?, where do I look?, do I have something hiding that I forgot to put a reminder on?, etc.

    Does anyone really work this way, or is there just a conspiracy of techno people who want other to think that Palms are really useful and not just cool, convenient toys?

    What I do love about having the Clie is that I can take my full action lists and address book with me. In the notebook method, I'd have to write information down from outlook before I left the office.

    I read the DA tip on how he has his Palm set-up, but 1) does he use outlook, too, or just the palm? and 2) he doesn't really say what steps he goes through to handle common events like answering a phone call, capturing notes from an informal meeting when someone comes to his office unexpectedly, an urgent action that pops into his head while working on something else, etc.

    I guess what is frustrating me is that I can see great potential for the Clie, but can't get a methodology that I trust among the three devices (outlook, clie, paper).

    And I can't even think about how to sync these up with my home laptop where I prefer to work on @home actions.

    Is there really a method that works?

  • #2
    Conspiracy of Palm

    First I think that a lot of people including Jason of the David Allen Company and David Allen dont "collect" on the palm. Low tech tear off sheets, notebooks etc seem to be best for collection. I too got a palm(visor) that was I tried to collect everything on and was just frustrated. I have also tried a bunch of combinations. Andmor who is a frequent contributor to the the other section of the board has written about how he uses a notebook to collect and his palm for lists, addresses etc. It struck a real cord with me. I was using a franklin covey book and trying to hard to duplicate everything. It didn't work. I do not remember which topic Andmor's explanation of the system was on, perhaps Andmor could tell you. I have gotten my notebooks and think that it works well. I have to correct some old habits. The palm/notebook combo works well and doesn't duplicate.

    Comment


    • #3
      I, too, was uncomfortable using a Palm/Outlook combo. It worked OK for me, but for some reason, working with paper and pen seems more natural to me, so at the moment I am using a simple system of index cards at work. I capture data on notepads and print out emails and it all goes in my Inbox. Then I process it, putting the projects and next actions on index cards. It's working well for me, but all my work takes place in my office or in a server facility a few doors down, so portability is not such a big deal.

      I have the Getting Things Done Fast CD set, and David Allen goes into a little more detail about his collection/processing/organizing methods. He likes "low tech" collection (paper notes) and "high tech" organization (Palm - and his Palm is used in a very basic manner with the built-in apps). The CD set is worth the money, in fact, I have listened to mine so many times I thought I would sell them if I could get around $40 for them.

      DA says that whatever system you use, you have to trust it and and be comfortable enough with it that you will put everything into it.

      Good Luck - whatever implementation you end up with, you have chosen the best personal organization methodology I've ever tried.

      Max

      "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
      -- Leonardo da Vinci

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm working off a Clie with the pre-packages Palm desktop, so I can't really speak to the Outlook issue.

        But, I agree that the problem seems to be that you're using your organizing tool as a collection bucket. In explaining why he doesn't use his Palm to collect, DA says (paraphrasing here) you don't want to digitize or internalize unprocessed stuff.

        I doubt anyone can write in graffiti as quickly as on paper. I never even try. The only times I use the Clie for collection is by using the voice recorder when I'm in the car, or the Clie Memo pad (the one where you can write directly onto the screen). But I then dump that data out onto a sheet of paper and either process it or toss it into in for processing later. BTW, I process and organize for the most part directly into my Clie, as I don't have the Palm software loaded at the office which is where I do most of my processing and my weekly reviews.

        To me, the benefit of the PDA is that it's smaller and has greater storage capacity than a paper binder system in terms of todo's, lists, address book and calendar. But is certainly does not take the place of paper entirely.

        Comment


        • #5
          Low Tech Collection and High Tech Organization

          I do what David does--when taking down a phone message or other information it is usually easier to write it down on a pad first. Then, I decide if it is something I can knock off in two minutes (like return a call to someone's voice mail to leave information, etc.) or if it is something that belongs on a list.

          If I decide to put it on a list I have two choices--toss the paper into my In box for later processing, or load it directly into my PIM. To make the latter easier many PIMs come with a memory resident utility that speeds this process. ACT! has SideAct that will let you quickly enter something into the ACT database without having to load the main program. Outlook comes with the Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar (it's free with Office) that creates an (autohiding) menu bar that lets you instantly bring up an Outlook Task form, Contact form, etc. that loads into Outlook directly.

          IMHO a lot of Outlook users neglect the utility of the Office Shortcut Bar which is a shame. It's a really nice utility. There were some problems with earlier versions (which would occasionally disappear) but the version in the current Office Suite is, in my experience, rock solid.

          I seldom enter information directly into my Palm device. It's much easier to use the keyboard of my PC for entry. Once something is in the Palm, then using Grafitti to make the occasional modification is easy.

          If I were on the road a lot I would take information down on a pad, then either do it or toss it into my moble "in" file and handle it as above. When I am traveling I do use a portable thumb-board for my Palm which makes it much easier to enter text if I'm away from my PC.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Conspiracy of Palm

            Originally posted by Mardo
            I do not remember which topic Andmor's explanation of the system was on, perhaps Andmor could tell you. I have gotten my notebooks and think that it works well. I have to correct some old habits. The palm/notebook combo works well and doesn't duplicate.
            Thanks for the reference Mardo - although I would hardly suggest that my approach is original or a major breakthrough, but I am happier with it than using either Palm or Paper alone.

            The thread is "Getting from Organized to Do".

            Andrew

            Comment


            • #7
              Low tech vs. High tech --- depends what for ...

              To register notes , I still use paper, and I barely write down in the palm.

              I use a lot the desktop version to enter during thje day the info. But after working hours the palm is basically a "read-only device" for me ... of course I syncronize more than one time during the day.

              Regards
              Mercedes

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              • #8
                I too collect on paper and enter into the hardware system later. What I want to point out is that you don't have to stick with Graffiti as a text entry system. I use Fitaly which allows me to enter data into my Clie at 40 wpm compared to about 25 wpm (and MUCH more fatigue and errors) when using Graffiti. Many users on the Fitaly forums report speeds of 55+ wpm and their contest winners are 85+ wpm! Used to be I'd prefer entering data on my computer, but now I prefer entering it on my Clie because my data entry speed is similar, but I find the programs more intuitive than Outlook. Read about it at www.fitaly.com. BTW I am just a satisfied user, otherwise no connection.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Conspiracy of Palm?

                  Originally posted by kglade
                  I am looking for some feedback and tips from GTDers using Outlook and Palm devices who think this is effective.

                  I have been trying for about a month and am so frustrated I am about to smash my palm device (Clie) into a billion pieces .

                  I want to emphasize that am not critical of GTD, just the palm/outlook combo.

                  I just can't get it to be fast enough.
                  Someone just released on www.palmgear.com a version of Diddlebug that is Hi res. I never used Diddlebug much before, because my writting was just too messy to read on it. However with the Hires version, if I turn smoothing on and use the next-up-from-smallest pencil size, I can write pretty good and clear, and it's much faster to use while listening to someone else. Diddlebug lets you look at your notes later when you have more time, and change them to grafitti and send them to datebook/todo etc.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Paper is the fastest easiest manner of taking down quick notes in any situation. Then to the InBox or transcribed to Palm or Outlook.

                    I use my Palm mostly for reference (also as a backup for Outlook!) I will however use Palm to write in reminders and All Day Events or Appointments in the weirdest situations. Case-in-point; driving! I see billboard of an upcoming computer show with a web address - out comes Palm, open to calendar & I write in the web address as new event. I trust this and even if I make typos I fix them later.

                    Outlook is Hot Synced and reliable. I rarely print anything from Calendar or Tasks. I use GTD Add-In.

                    I would never try to push my high tech stuff to work when backs of envelopes & other pieces of paper come in handy. There is something 'cool' about emptying pockets and finding those scraps of notes taken at the end of the day. I trust this too - pockets are collection buckets and they hold info until it's time to refer to it!

                    I think the main underlying theme in David's stuff here it to keep dumbing down our systems until they work simply. It's like the physician's doctrine with medication - give the smallest dose that works!

                    Comment

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