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  • Outlook Projects List

    I'm curious as to how people handle Projects and project related emails in Outlook. I understand the concept of creating a PROJECT category and creating a task for each individual project one is responsible for but how would you handle the filing and storage of any reference email for an individual project? Would you just create folders in Outlook for each project? Any tips? Suggestions?

  • #2
    I think it depends on how your particular GTD system works. Many people use a full-scale GTD add-on for Outlook, that turns the email program into a GTD machine. I tried that, but I can't use an email program as a project coordinator or even a task list.

    I am not keeping track of emails on a large scale any longer, it's just too much of a hassle and since I use GMail, it's very easy to search for emails relating to projects. If an important email comes in that requires my attention and I can't get to it, I keep it in an "Action" folder. I clear out my Action folder at least once a day. Once the email is handled, I take off the "Action" label and archive it/store it in my Agency Management System.

    This method doesn't work perfectly, especially when it comes to personal items, but it works well enough for now. However, it works only because of the following main points that may not apply to you:
    • My main project list is an Agency Management System that I use for work.
    • I also use OmniFocus as a project manager and list-keeper for personal items, or items I can't add to the AMS.
    • Gmail organizes emails by conversation, which makes it easy to keep track of emails w/o having to file them. I also have my emails on Outlook organized by conversations.

    I think the biggest problem with filing emails in Outlook is finding a way to tie Outlook in with your main Project Manager. If you can do that, then I think it's feasible to store project-related emails in Outlook. Maybe if you can remember to reference your Outlook project folders in your Project lists, that might be a solution.

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    • #3
      I use Outlook without the GTD add-on. My suggestion is to create one folder folder per project under your inbox for project support e-mails. Give it a name that associates it with the project (XYZ Support, Printer Research, etc)

      The simpler the better.

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      • #4
        Re:

        @ ellobogrande - What do you do with a projects folder once you are finished with the project? Do you move it to an Archive folder or do you also have a completed projects subfolder?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by canesum1 View Post
          @ ellobogrande - What do you do with a projects folder once you are finished with the project? Do you move it to an Archive folder or do you also have a completed projects subfolder?
          Most of the time I just delete the entire folder when the project is finished. Rarely do I need to keep any of those support files as reference. But if I do, I re-file each e-mail in one or more folders that reflect a particular theme, topic or person.

          The same thing goes with digital files that I have saved in my "My Documents" folder.
          Last edited by ellobogrande; 12-16-2009, 05:47 PM. Reason: Addendum

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          • #6
            I use Outlook 2007 without any add-in. My projects have their own folders where I put any related email after dragging it to the To-Do Bar. The To-Do Bar is set up to view by category, which are my contexts. This makes using the To-Do Bar the best thing in Outlook for me: it assigns the category and a due date. Right now, I don't have due dates set, I do that in my Weekly Review. I can glance down the To Do Bar, open the context I'm in, and knock out the tasks. Plus, I can change the task to something more action oriented ("add to next version" instead of "application request 23492")

            When that project is complete, I move it to an archive pst file.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by canesum1 View Post
              I'm curious as to how people handle Projects and project related emails in Outlook. I understand the concept of creating a PROJECT category and creating a task for each individual project one is responsible for but how would you handle the filing and storage of any reference email for an individual project? Would you just create folders in Outlook for each project? Any tips? Suggestions?
              Do you know exist a base guidewith several suggestion to set-up outlook as it is?

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              • #8
                I use the task lists and don't bother with any of the priorities, completion percentages or status reports.

                You can double click on the project and have notes and information about it, easy and at hand.

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                • #9
                  I have a category named "projects" and each project is a task with that category assigned. What I then do is drag and drop emails related to the project into the body of the project task. For example if I have a project named New Staff: Recruit and Hire, it shows up under the Project list since it is in that category. If I send or receive an email related to that task I drag and drop a copy into the body of the New Staff: Recruit and Hire task. (I easily keep up with project emails I send by copying them to myself and applying the project category to them prior to sending. I then have a rule that moves emails received from myself in category project to a folder named Project email that I view and sort from there). I also take this a step further and keep copies of all NA's and any daily events related to the project by doing the same thing as emails. This allows me to quickly see everything that has ever been done related to a project and once it is marked complete, you have a great archive of the entire project neatly stored in the completed task that can be accessed at any time.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ecbell View Post
                    I use Outlook 2007 without any add-in. My projects have their own folders where I put any related email after dragging it to the To-Do Bar. The To-Do Bar is set up to view by category, which are my contexts. This makes using the To-Do Bar the best thing in Outlook for me: it assigns the category and a due date. Right now, I don't have due dates set, I do that in my Weekly Review. I can glance down the To Do Bar, open the context I'm in, and knock out the tasks. Plus, I can change the task to something more action oriented ("add to next version" instead of "application request 23492")

                    When that project is complete, I move it to an archive pst file.
                    How do you set it up to automatically add the category? I tried to drag a message to the To-Do Bar but nothing happened. I do drag messages over the Tasks shortcut in the left side and manually add due dates and categories for contexts. I also have my To-Do bar set up to view tasks by category which I use for GTD contexts.
                    thanks
                    Mac

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