Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
Using Outlook Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Using Outlook

    Hello,

    First post here. I listened to the GTD book in my car and it seemed like a good thing at the time but now I am finding that the devil is in the details.

    I am wanting to set up lists on Outlook (I have downloaded and installed clear context). I want to set up the following lists:

    @home
    @phone
    @email
    @next actions
    @waiting for
    @projects
    @someday maybe

    First, am I missing any categories?

    What is the best way to create the lists? Do I create them as categories in Tasks?

    I need to sync with my windows mobile device if that helps.

    Thanks,

    Russ Reynolds

  • #2
    @home, @phone and @email are all subcategories of next actions so you don't need @next actions as well.

    The rest seems okay. Yes, I think these should all be categories in Tasks.

    I myself have categories "Project: Wedding", "Project: Teaching" etc. deviding the projects into focus areas and without @ so they sit under my next actions Categories which all begin with @.

    I also have someday/maybe in a subfolder within Tasks but this would not be suitable for you if this subfolder didn't sync with your windows mobile device.

    Comment


    • #3
      "List management" was tricky for me to get my head around when I first started. There were just so many options! After quite a bit of experimentation and false starts, here's what I settled on:

      First, you should know that I use outlook and a windows mobile device. Also, I keep email out of my system altogether (I use Lotus Notes for email).

      I don't have any add-ins for outlook. I use my mobile device as my primary interface for GTD; outlook is just for backups. The out-of-the-box windows mobile software was not so great to work with, so I purchased PocketInformant.

      The calendar is fairly straightforward... appointments and all-day events go here.

      Under "tasks", I have the following categories:
      - @Agendas
      - @Errands
      - @Home
      - @Internet
      - @Phone
      - @Waiting For
      - @Work
      - Projects: Business
      - Projects: Personal
      - Someday/Maybe: Business
      - Someday/Maybe: Personal

      Under @Agendas, I create a task for each person I need to talk to, and I put what we need to discuss in the task's notes.

      Obviously, @Waiting For contains anything that I'm, er, waiting for. I record these items similar to the following: "Ticketmaster: receive tickets to Bears game [8/12/07]". (Who, what, when did it become something I'm waiting for). If I need to follow up on it, then I will identify that need during my weekly review, and I will create a new next action "Call Ticketmaster about Bears tickets" and put it in the @Phone category.

      The remaining @ categories contain my next actions -- tasks, just the way you would normally record tasks in windows mobile or outlook.

      The Projects categories have one task for each project that I am currently committed to. The Someday/Maybe categories also contain tasks. This simplifies the movement of projects between Active and Someday--just change the category.

      Other lists (ex. Stuff I Need to Buy, Gift Ideas, Books to Read, etc.) are kept as Notes.

      The @ contexts will probably change over time. Mine do. For example, I just recently added an @Storage context, because I have several things I need to take care of next time I go to my storage unit on the other side of town. When I'm done with that, I'll probably delete the context from my categories. So don't sweat it if your collection of contexts isn't quite complete.

      There are other quirky little things that will come up as you really start working the system, but after a little while (and hopefully less trial and error than I went through) you'll work it all out.

      The important thing to keep in mind is that there are myriad ways of handling this stuff. What works for some of us may not work for others. Don't be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you.
      Last edited by jknecht; 09-11-2007, 08:48 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks very much for the great replies guys.

        It is truly appreciated,

        Russ

        Comment


        • #5
          Russ, you might want to add an @OutAndAbout list, for all the things you can only do when you're away from home. Possibly more than one, if you have different locales (say, city and seaside, or East and West, or something). That's up to you, just remember that the Next Action lists group NAs according to where you'll be and what tools you'll have available. That's why we all have slightly different NA lists.

          For instance, I've toyed with the idea of having an @Grubby list, for when I'm wearing my skungey old clothes at home. It would hold various gardening tasks, little fiddly bits on the car, some minor household maintenance, and so on. Anything that needs to be done fairly soon, but shouldn't be attempted when I'm wearing my Seeing Clients clothes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Russ,

            Just my 2 cents, but I have used clear context and I would recommend it for someone that has acheived a few belts for GTD mastery. I have done much better using the simpler GTD outlook add-inn. The coaches and DA would tell you that simpler is better. Good Luck!

            Brad

            Comment


            • #7
              @Russ, here’s the general list of categories I’ve setup in Outlook:

              !Inbox
              @Calls
              @Home
              @Online
              @PC
              @PPC (Windows Mobile PocketPC)
              @Town
              @Waiting...
              [!Projects]

              Then as projects are created, completed and deleted:

              [Project Name Goes Here]
              [Another Project Name Goes Here]
              [Yet Another Project Name Goes Here]

              All pretty much self explanatory apart from the special !Inbox and [Project Name Goes Here] categories.

              I set up an !Inbox category as an inbox for tasks/notes that I want to quickly capture into Outlook, but not process or organise at that time.

              If I’m in another program or screen, even without Outlook open, I can press Win + I and it’ll bring up a new blank !Inbox task.

              I can then quickly capture it and when I’m in the processing/organising stage, I look through the !Inbox category to check for any that need processing etc.

              Also, when I start a new project, I create a category named after the title of the project in square brackets. I then create a new task, with the subject the same as the project title again, set it to the [!Projects] and [it’s own project title too].

              So if the project is "Create XYZ Website" I create a new task, go into categories and create a new master category called [Create XYZ Website] and assign both the [!Projects] and [Create XYZ Website] to this task. I then enter [Create XYZ Website] as the tasks subject too.

              So in other words it's a task called [Create XYZ Website] with the categories of [Create XYZ Website] and [!Projects]

              This task then becomes the “project task” where the it's notes section can be used to hold information and subsequent actions regarding the project.

              Then, any next actions are assigned 2 categories; a @context action and a [Project Title Goes Here] category.

              For example: "Call Simply.com about web hosting" would have both the @Calls and [Create XYZ Website] categories assigned to it.

              This way in the Tasks – View by category, you can view the @contexts grouped together and can also see all the next actions assigned to a particular project. You can also see the project list too.

              So you can look at the @Calls category and see the call or look at the [Create XYZ Website] category and see the call too!

              This all sounds complex here – tricky trying to put it into words – but it practice it’s real easy and allows you to track projects and their associated next actions without any addition software.

              It also synchronises perfectly (and works in the same way) on my Windows Mobile device too.

              If the above is not clear (and I wouldn’t blame you for saying so!!) let me know and I’ll explain it in more detail!

              Good luck, best regards,

              Andy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AndyD;52144
                So if the project is "Create XYZ Website" I create a new task, go into categories and create a new master category called [Create XYZ Website
                and assign both the [!Projects] and [Create XYZ Website] to this task. I then enter [Create XYZ Website] as the tasks subject too.

                So in other words it's a task called [Create XYZ Website] with the categories of [Create XYZ Website] and [!Projects]

                This task then becomes the “project task” where the it's notes section can be used to hold information and subsequent actions regarding the project.

                Then, any next actions are assigned 2 categories; a @context action and a [Project Title Goes Here] category.

                For example: "Call Simply.com about web hosting" would have both the @Calls and [Create XYZ Website] categories assigned to it.

                This way in the Tasks – View by category, you can view the @contexts grouped together and can also see all the next actions assigned to a particular project. You can also see the project list too.

                So you can look at the @Calls category and see the call or look at the [Create XYZ Website] category and see the call too!

                Thanks for all of the info Andy. Could you clarify this a little? It looks like a great tool but I am not quite grasping it.

                Thanks,

                Russ

                Comment


                • #9
                  @Russ, no problem!

                  One of the complaints many Outlook users have is that it's not always easy to see an overview of a project, it’s not obvious how to see the next actions that belong to that project.

                  Often, it’s just a list of projects and a list of next actions with no link or interaction between the two. So there’s much switching between lists and having to remember which next action belongs to which project etc.

                  You might see in Outlook you have the [Create XYZ Website] Project, but how can you see in an instance what next actions belong to this project, how many have been completed and how many are dragging?

                  There is Third Party software to help with this, such as the Netcentrics GTD Outlook Plugin, but the method below is pretty simple once you get into it, it doesn’t require any extra software and syncs perfectly with Windows Mobile.

                  I’m not sure how popular this method is, as I’ve never seen it described here, but I have seen a few posts asking about the relationship in Outlook between projects and next actions!

                  In a nutshell, what you do is create a new task category with the same name as the project, then assign to next actions both a @context (@Car, @Office, @Online etc) and a project category too ([Create XYZ Website]).

                  This means a next action has both a context and project category assigned to it. So the next action will show, say in your @Calls list and effectively in the [Create XYZ Website] project list too.

                  If you don’t do this, even though you may have a project category/list with [Create XYZ Website] in it, your next actions are simply scattered around the @Context lists – i.e. @Calls, @Online, @Home etc with no link back to the project they’re supporting.

                  Also, when you look at the project list, how do you know the current next actions for the project? You might just look through your next actions lists to jog your memory, but it’s not something that can be seen in an instance.

                  Here’s a step-by-step to the method that should make project/next action relationship a lot clearer! (Forgive me if it’s over simplified – no offence meant!)

                  Before you can start, to set up this, you need to create a new Master Category that will be used for all future projects.

                  Open any task, click on it’s categories, then click on “Edit Master Category” then enter [!Projects] as the new master category. Next click the prompts to save this, but don’t assign it to the task you opened.

                  The new [!Projects] category you created can now be assigned to any projects in the future. You wont have to repeat the above step each time, it’s now been created.

                  So you decide you have a project called [Create XYZ Website] and you already have some next actions to include.

                  In Outlook, create a new task.

                  In the subject, title it [Create XYZ Website].

                  Next, click on it’s categories, then click on “Edit Master Category List”.

                  In the “Master Category List”, create [Create XYZ Website] as a new Master Category.

                  Then, come out of that screen and assign to your new task the new category of [Create XYZ Website] and the category of [!Projects] (already created earlier).

                  So you now have a Task item called [Create XYZ Website] with two categories assigned; [!Projects] and [Create XYZ Website]

                  To see how this is beginning to work, in Outlook Tasks screen, select “View By Category”.

                  You’ll see the various headers for each category. If they’re collapsed, click on the + to open them.

                  You should see the new category of [!Projects] with 1 item. Click on the + if it’s collapsed and the should see the item appear [Create XYZ Website]. This is now listing your projects and as you create further projects and assign them the [!Projects] category too, they will list here too.

                  Now, look further down at the category/grouping headers and you should also see one as [Create XYZ Website] with 1 item. Again, expand it so you can see the item and it’ll only show one task [Create XYZ Website].

                  This is because no next actions have been assigned yet, it’s only showing it “Project Task”.

                  Next, imagine the next action for this project is “Call Simply.com re hosting options”

                  So, create a new Task, enter “Call Simply.com re hosting options” as the subject and in the categories assign it to @Calls (i.e. the context) and [Create XYZ Website] (i.e. the project it’s assigned too).

                  Save and close it, now, look again at the Tasks – View by Category display. Under the group heading for @Calls is “Call Simply.com re hosting options”. You can look in the categories column and see it’s assigned to @Calls and [Create XYZ Website].

                  Next, look down to the [Create XYZ Website] header and it should now have two items; it’s own project task and the new “Call Simply.com re hosting options” next action.

                  As you go through, creating next actions and assigning them both an @Context and [Project Name] category, you’ll see in the View Tasks by Category screen all the tasks assigned to a project. Just look for the project header, expand it and there’s all your next actions for it.

                  You can also store subsequent actions (i.e. not currently next actions) and other snippets of information in the project task itself.

                  If you then went through and added some more actions such as;

                  “Call Lucy at XZY re first draft XYZ Website revisions” set to @Calls and [Create XYZ Website] categories

                  “Google for DreamWeaver Random Image Script/Extension” set to @Online and [Create XYZ Website] categories

                  “Buy new batteries for camera, for XYZ Website photos” set to @Online and [Create XYZ Website] categories

                  In the above example, when viewing Tasks by Category would give you the following; (I’ve missed out other non-relevant contexts and actions, but in reality, the @Context lists would contact all your other next actions too etc.)

                  @Calls:
                  Call Simply.com re hosting options
                  Call Lucy at XZY re first draft XYZ Website revisions

                  @Online:
                  Google for DreamWeaver Random Image Script/Extension

                  @Town:
                  Buy new batteries for camera, for XYZ Website photos

                  [!Projects]
                  [Create XYZ Website]

                  [Create XYZ Website]
                  Call Simply.com re hosting options
                  Call Lucy at XZY re first draft XYZ Website revisions
                  Google for DreamWeaver Random Image Script/Extension
                  Buy new batteries for camera, for XYZ Website photos


                  So here, you can see all the next actions linked to the project, can see the projects list and the next action contexts too.

                  When you complete @Online “Google for DreamWeaver…” it’ll also be completed under the [Create XYZ Website] heading too – as it’s the same task, just assigned 2 different categories.

                  You can also take this a stage further and if you have any emails, calendar items, notes – in fact any item in Outlook that are part of the project, you can also give them the [Create XYZ Website] too.

                  You can then do an advanced search on all Outlook items for the category [Create XYZ Website] and you’ll see everything in Outlook to do with that project.

                  Of if you’re in Calendar, view it by category and only [Create XYZ Website] calendar items will be listed.

                  It’s a great way of keeping track of everything!

                  Hope this helps – let me know if anything’s still unclear or you’d like further info!

                  Best regards,

                  Andy.
                  Last edited by AndyD; 09-13-2007, 09:40 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Two simplifications you might appreciate:

                    1) Contexts are optional. The key action categories in GTD are: your calendar (Outlook has) and three lists: projects, actions, and waiting for. Use your tasks and master categories for the latter (davidco's guide - was $10 - is very helpful for this). So I recommend starting with a single actions list, and start subdividing by context only if and when you need it. In my system, I've broken out @errands, but all other actions stay in @actions.

                    2) Regarding connecting projects and actions, here's a simple trick:use keywords to connect actions and projects:
                    Another trick is carefully wording projects and next actions so the
                    FIND feature in Outlook can "tie" them together during the Weekly
                    Review.

                    Example:
                    PROJECT= Dallas seminar presentation delivered
                    @CALL = John re: his travel plans to Dallas, ###-###-####
                    @COMPUTER = Check Expedia re: Dallas flights
                    @ANYWHERE = Start a mind map re: Dallas presentation

                    So FIND = Dallas would isolate all of these items during a Weekly
                    Review or anytime you just wanted to check-in on the status of this
                    effort.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Guys,

                      Thanks so much..this information is great.

                      I would really love to buy Davids GTD with outlook but do not have a credit card. I use PayPal online. If anyone is willing, I could send them the money via paypal and then they could purchase the book and forward it to me?

                      This is a lot to ask so no problem if not.

                      Thanks for all the well thought out info guys, this is great.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just another take on what everyone's been saying here

                        I use between 2 and 4 categories for every task:

                        1 is for context: @home, etc.. (pretty standard)

                        1 is for Project: I use Clearcontext that makes this real easy since the Project name assigned in CC synchronizes with the category and brackets those categories with "[" and "]"

                        1 optional one is for Important contacts. I prefix them with a "^" so that they are sorted together. This category can either be a person I deal with on a regular basis, or a role on a project. For instance, I have one called ^Project Sponsor, and can be used for any project. I can then filter on the project and "^ Project Sponsor" and get a list of what I need to talk to that person about. Use of Roles keeps the number of categories down.

                        1 other optional one is called !Now which I use for Next Actions. When sorted by project I can easily see the next action, or I can see all my !Now cats in one place and see what projects they belong to.

                        Good luck on your system!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AndyD View Post
                          @Russ, no problem!
                          That is fantastic info. Simple and very effective. Thanks a million.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            @AndyD,
                            I have some questions re your project set up in Outlook:

                            1. do you add the individual project [project name] to the master category list or just the category list? (I can see adding [!projects] to the master category list, but does it make a difference with the individual project?)
                            2A. When you are done with a project, do you then just mark the "task" as completed in your [!project]?
                            2B. and do you just then delete the actual project [project name] from the category list?

                            Thanks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @MossMan: many thanks for the feedback - very much appreciated. Glad the info was of use!

                              @sdann: Hope the following helps:

                              1) it's entirely personal preference whether you add the project name to just the category list or add it to the master category list.

                              I add it to the master category list, simply to avoid all the "- not in master category list" suffixes that appear if the categories not in the master list. Apart from that it works exactly the same.

                              Once the project is completed and the tasks deleted (but still remain in the Deleted Items folder - set NOT to empty on closing Outlook) I just edit the master category list and remove any no longer current project names.

                              The cool thing is that even though you delete the category, any tasks linked to it still retain the category.

                              This means you can go into the Deleted Items folder, view by category again and you'll see all your past projects and tasks. To use an old one again, simply drag the task (or category header if you want the entire project) back into the Tasks folder and it'll copy them back over.

                              2A) Yes, the project task is always the last one to be completed. When the project is complete I simply tick it off - but generally don't delete it or it's linked tasks until the next review.

                              When you tick it off as completed in it's own project category, it's also marked as completed in the [!Projects] list too!

                              It's cool to go back and see the projects ticked as completed in the [!Project] list!

                              2B) Yes, once the project is completed, it's completed ticked as complete, but not deleted until the next review. Then I delete the tasks, [!Project] task and project category from master category list as described in 1)

                              One point is that nothing is permanently deleted - they're simply in the Deleted Items folder and can be reviewed or re-started at any time.

                              Hope this helps, please let me know if not! Also, let me know if you'd like any further info.

                              Cheers,

                              Andy.
                              Last edited by AndyD; 11-21-2007, 09:56 AM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X