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  • Outlook 2003 / Blackberry: best way to segment personal v. professional lists

    I just switched jobs, and at my old company, we used Lotus Notes (yuck), but now I have Outlook 2003 (yay!) with wireless sync to Blackberry 4.1 (yay!). So what better time than to try to implement GTD in a fully electronic manner, right? I bought the “GTD for Outlook” whitepaper and have more or less set-up Outlook and my Bberry accordingly. I am relying utterly on wireless syncing between Outlook and my Blackberry, and I'm able to tolerate the somewhat clunky way of filtering by “category” in the default Bberry Task application. My main question is this: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SEGREGATE "PERSONAL" LISTS FROM "PROFESSIONAL" LISTS, aside from the obvious, which is to set up @calls-personal, @calls-professional, @WaitingFor-personal, @WaitingFor-professional….which is a bit cumbersome (it's the way I have it set-up now). I know this segregation is not really encouraged in GTD, but realistically there are two spheres to my life: e.g., when I'm working, I care about what work-people owe me (@WF-prof), otherwise, I care about what my wife, family, friends, service-providers, etc. owe me (@WF-pers). I tried setting up a customized field called “Sphere” within Outlook, which would have two allowable values (personal or professional), but couldn’t figure out how to set up the 2 values, or how to group the views in Outlook….and furthermore, Blackberry wouldn’t have the field, so I wouldn’t be able to filter on the handheld…. Any ideas? I'd like to avoid buying fancier SW for the Bberry to accommodate this, but I'm not opposed as long as it integrates seamlessly and wirelessly with Outlook 2003. Thanks!

  • #2
    One possible option

    How about prefacing the name of the task with a letter or number... for example, if your tasks were:

    Send in monthly report to manager
    Shop for groceries
    Return call about proposal
    Mow lawn

    Then your new task setup could be:

    1. Send in monthly report to manager
    2. Shop for groceries
    1. Return call about proposal
    2. Mow lawn

    This way it's sortable. Not nearly as pretty as having a separate category or something, but still workable. You could use letters or numbers. You can't use other non-numeric characters, though, since the Blackberry default sort (at least on my unit) ignores the extra characters.

    I also have gone contrary to normal GTD practice since I wanted to filter these too, and I use multiple categories. So my list above looks like this, if you were to print out the task name followed by the categories:

    Send in monthly report to manager [@Business, @Email]
    Shop for groceries [@Personal, @Errands]
    Return call about proposal [@Business, @Calls]
    Mow lawn [@Personal, @Home]

    Just some thoughts for tweaking your system. Hope one of these is helpful or sparks some other idea.

    Eric

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mikeweinberg View Post
      I just switched jobs, and at my old company, we used Lotus Notes (yuck), but now I have Outlook 2003 (yay!) with wireless sync to Blackberry 4.1 (yay!). So what better time than to try to implement GTD in a fully electronic manner, right? I bought the “GTD for Outlook” whitepaper and have more or less set-up Outlook and my Bberry accordingly. I am relying utterly on wireless syncing between Outlook and my Blackberry, and I'm able to tolerate the somewhat clunky way of filtering by “category” in the default Bberry Task application. My main question is this: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SEGREGATE "PERSONAL" LISTS FROM "PROFESSIONAL" LISTS, aside from the obvious, which is to set up @calls-personal, @calls-professional, @WaitingFor-personal, @WaitingFor-professional….which is a bit cumbersome (it's the way I have it set-up now). I know this segregation is not really encouraged in GTD, but realistically there are two spheres to my life: e.g., when I'm working, I care about what work-people owe me (@WF-prof), otherwise, I care about what my wife, family, friends, service-providers, etc. owe me (@WF-pers). I tried setting up a customized field called “Sphere” within Outlook, which would have two allowable values (personal or professional), but couldn’t figure out how to set up the 2 values, or how to group the views in Outlook….and furthermore, Blackberry wouldn’t have the field, so I wouldn’t be able to filter on the handheld…. Any ideas? I'd like to avoid buying fancier SW for the Bberry to accommodate this, but I'm not opposed as long as it integrates seamlessly and wirelessly with Outlook 2003. Thanks!
      Wow - I just can't read that massive word blob! Where are the paragraph breaks?

      Comment


      • #4
        page breaks were there when i clicked submit

        ...weird...sorry

        Comment


        • #5
          If you have few enough categories, try using the "Status" field. That field is easy to get to on both the BB and Outlook. Also, on your BB, the status icon is going to show anyway (unless newer models have changed that) so you might as well make use of it for something.

          I use the status field as follows:
          Not started=Stuff to do at work (Not started is the default, and I have more work stuff than home stuff)
          In Progress=Stuff to do at home
          Deferred=Errands (Stuff that is somewhere other than work or home)
          Waiting for someone else=Waiting for

          Since I have a phone at work and home and a computer booted up, I really don't have a need for lots of categories.

          If you have a repeated task, when you mark it complete, the status defaults back to "Not started," but for me that has not been a biggie.

          You are right about the clunkiness of categories on the BB. I am going to give you a second idea, but in a following post so that this one won't get so long.

          Frank

          Comment


          • #6
            As a follow-up to my last post, what I suggest on the BB is make use of the excellent search function built into the task list. Even though I have the little "status as categories" idea from my last post, what I really make use of to guide me is a word or two at the front end of the task.

            Let's say I need to discuss a new elective being offered at our jr. high (Ellis Jr. High) with the principal (Scott). My task is going to read:
            Scott-Ellis-Discuss new elective

            If he happens to walk in the door or calls on the phone, I can:
            1. Pull the BB out of my pocket.
            2. Hit the convenience key twice. (The first time illuminated the screen, the second takes me to the Task list.
            3. I start keying in "Scott," which is automatically happening in the search line at the top. With each letter I enter, the list grows shorter to show only matching items. Before I can finish typing his name, I am looking at a list of everything where he is in the task line. We can talk about the elective and anything else I would eventually contacted him about.

            If I visit Ellis Jr. High, I would:
            1. Pull the BB out of my pocket and hit the convenience key twice as I am walking in the front door.
            2. I start keying in "Ellis."
            3. Before I have walked 10 feet, I am looking at a list of everything I need to do in that building--everything I would need to see Scott about, everything I need to see anybody else in the building about, anything I wanted to observe, etc.

            I starting doing this out of necessity due to the limitations of the BB task list, but now I am able to see like stuff so much quicker than before.

            Frank

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