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  • act!

    I'm curious if anyone else is using Act! with the Getting Things Done system.
    My company wants everyone to use Act!. It is a special version for the mortgage industry. But I'm not sure how I can use it in the Getting Things Done system.
    There are several projects I need to be working on, but I feel disorganized in my thoughts and what my next actions are. I've slipped in using the GTD method because I don't have a tool that I constantly use to work the system. I've been writting down my next actions as more of a task list on a 3x5 card, which I remember him saying to not do.

    I'm looking forward to a new year of new organization with GTD refresh.


  • #2
    ACT and GTD


    I implemented my version of GTD with ACT 6. I had problems with Outlook crashing, so I finally got rid of it and use ACT for E-mail, Contacts, Tasks & Calendar. I use Evernote for webclippings and miscellaneous stuff and Franklin Covey PP for XP as an outliner (my company had already bought it so I thought I should use it for something!), and I'm trying out Do-Organizer. I haven't tried out the latest versions of ACT because there seemed to be so many problems with them, but it might be easier to do than what I did with mine.

    I set up additional users like @ To Do, @ Calls, @ research, etc... then when I assign a task to a contact record I change the "Scheduled For" to the appropriate category. When I want to see all the things in @ Calls for example, in the task list I just select that user. Since I am the only one using ACT and not on a network this works the best for me.

    You can also set up Groups as @ Calls, etc. and enter the group as you are making a task, then when checking out the groups list it will bring up those items. My company is small so it's been pretty easy to maintain this way, I think it would also work if there were tons of information as in a bigger company also.

    For projects I set up a Group for each project also. Then I tag all the people involved in the project in that group and the activities associated with it.

    There is a thread on the Gadgets & tools section of the forums that has some other ideas on using ACT with GTD that you might find helpful also.

    Patty F.


    • #3
      Originally posted by lifeprint
      My company wants everyone to use Act!. It is a special version for the mortgage industry. But I'm not sure how I can use it in the Getting Things Done system.
      Don't get stuck on thinking that you need to do GTD exactly this way or that way, and do not get stuck thinking that if you have to use Act! for contacts and calendar, that you have to put your lists in there also. Many people have their contacts in a laptop or PDA, their appointments in a paper bound calendar, and their lists on stacks of 3 by 5 cards. This is ok. David says to put your "stuff" from inside your brain into a "trusted system". That system could be Act! for contacts and calendar, and paper or 3x5 cards for your projects and next actions. Whatever is comfortable to you.

      So, find out what you have to use Act! for in your company and do that, and then figure out what works for you for the other parts of GTD.

      Now, the other thing you asked about.

      I think it is ok for you to write task lists on 3 by 5 cards, if each card contains a separate sub-project where there is a specific sequence that those tasks should be completed in. If you have five things that you would do for one sub-project, that you would do in a specific order, in a specific location, or with a specific set of tools, then that is a task list.

      David is against the typical to do list that contains unrelated items, no next actions, general terms that can not be done, and apply to several different locations.

      One 3x5 card could be @officephone/smith-properties/1600-Ave-House/telephone-calls and then a list of calls in order that you need to make for that specific sub-project.

      David would only be against a task list that said: buy xm radio, find out about soccer game, get johnson property loan, make ice cream, all on the same list. Because those are not TASKS, and they are not NEXT ACTIONS. They are projects and goals.

      If you are still confused, ask and read here. It is more important that you figure out your personal theology on this task list/action item issue than you figure out how you are going to physically do it.

      Maybe not you, but many people seem to get confused with the "next action" idea, that they are only allowed to write down one next action for each project or sub-project. I think that after you write down the very next action, you need to think about the next next action, and then the next next next action, and that list becomes your task list, with your next action at the top, but then your actionable items in sequence after that.

      So. Let's say you have actionable items that could be done in any order. Your system needs to allow you the flexibility to choose when you are working what order you do those items in. I may get hammered here, but you could create a task list that has numbers to the left of your task items for items in sequence, and task lists with square boxes to the left of your items for a list of items that can be done in any order, but this second list sould be items that are related to one specific location, like work-computer, work-phone, home-finances, west-side-shopping, etc.
      Last edited by tim99; 01-03-2006, 10:21 AM.


      • #4
        Using Act!

        I have been using Act! for several years because my business is very client-centered and Act! is very well structured for that application. I always wanted to implement the GTD methods for Outlook but didn't want to run two programs simultaneously, so I devised a method for using Act! with GTD. My action lists are the same as used by most people (i.e. @Calls, @Home, etc.) but I created them as separate files in SideAct - the companion to Act! Since SideAct is good for list-making and it integrates with Act! by allowing me to drop a SideAct item into my calendar when it becomes appropriate to tie the entry to a date and/or time, I found it pretty useful.

        I am sure my method can be improved upon, so I would also be interested in any Act! user groups / forums that involve GTD if anyone knows of any.


        • #5
          Tim99 thank you for your input.
          The requirement for work is that I use it to input my contacts, type notes for follow up and "powerlink" the data from our origination system to Act so that I can use that system to schedule tasks for follow up for each borrower( one of my project types). I have names and addresses in Act, I've used it for notes when in conversation and to remind myself what I talked about... but then the GTD comes in. I've realized that I have done the task list with different projects, next actions, next next actions, and errands to do in whatever context.

          This is why I'm looking at ACT to see if this can help me with using GTD system. I need to take the time to listen to the GTD book again. (I have it in audio format). The principles have lost me... I think.

          I did take one persons suggestion in the gadget forum. He takes the @brainstorm,@calls etc.. and makes each a group. Then the Todo item is assigned a group. I like that idea, but the one thing I'm not hip on is that I can't see all of my Next actions that are in all of the groups. For some reason that bugs me. Instead, I have to look through each section to see if I have anything in there with a next action. Oh, and another thing, I'm not sure where to put my projects. I don't like the idea that I need to make a new contact for each project. There is a way I can code the "project" that is typed in as such so I can exclude it in a lookup if I need to print or upload my addresses for mail scrubbing for work.
          This is my thought in process...
          I need to jump...
          I'll follow up later...