Using tools to extend & enhance Lotus Notes

20100908-getting-things-done-the-podcast-cover-artwork-125x125.jpg Episode #13 of the Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes podcast has just been published. Be sure to tune in, it's well worth a few minutes of your time.

In this episode, host Eric Mack and special guest David Allen address various tools that you can use to extend and enhance your productive experience with Lotus Notes. They hit on mobile devices such as BlackBerry, and third party tools such as ActiveWords, GyroQ, and more.

You can listen to the episode here.

Tip: How to get ideas out of your head, fast

Last week's Weekly Tip article featured further information on how GyroQ can benefit your productivity system.

Using GyroQ, you can capture ideas, tasks, and more into your eProductivity system, even when Lotus Notes isn't running!

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All About GyroQ

What is GyroQ
GyroQ is a quick capture tool made by Gyronix. It's useful for rapidly getting ideas out of your head and into your productivity system.

eProductivity users can benefit from a special integration between GyroQ and eProductivity. With just a couple of keystrokes, you can capture ideas, thoughts, tasks, & more into your eProductivity system, even when Notes isn't running!

To get the integration between GyroQ and eProductivity, you have to install a special version of GyroQ - more on that in a minute.

Just note that for the rest of the article, when I talk about "GyroQ", I'm referring to this special version of GyroQ.

How to Install GyroQ (special eProductivity version) and Get Started
Go to the eProductivity Preferences and locate the Integration > GyroQ tab. Follow the instructions listed there for downloading and installing the special GyroQ version.

GyroQ comes with a free trial. To keep using GyroQ after the trial period, you can purchase a key from Gyronix.

How Does GyroQ Work

GyroQ provides a small capture window that is displayed when you press a certain keyboard shortcut (default is Ctrl-Q).

GyroQ main window

Inside this window, you enter the thought, idea, next action, etc. that you want to quickly capture into your system.

Continue Reading: "All About GyroQ" »

Podcast: An Inside Look at ActiveWords

Kelly Forrister recently posted a new podcast on the GTD Times blog featuring David Allen and Buzz Bruggeman of ActiveWords discussing the productive benefits of ActiveWords:

One of the tools David Allen uses on his PC is ActiveWords, a tool often described as “solving a problem you didn’t know you had.”  It essentially streamlines the navigation and common tasks we do all day long; send emails, go to web sites, create new tasks, insert text, open files and more...

When it comes to saving time in daily tasks in Windows, ActiveWords delivers. And you can learn more about how it does that by listening to the podcast linked below.

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Lotus Notes users: Did you know that ActiveWords fully integrates with Lotus Notes and eProductivity in some especially cool ways? In fact, at around the 15:30 mark of the podcast, David and Buzz discuss combining ActiveWords and eProductivity to create a supercharged productivity system.

Here's how to install ActiveWords with Lotus Notes and eProductivity. (Includes a 60-day free trial of ActiveWords)

 

Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

In addition to filing an email into a folder, eProductivity can be configured to allow you to file an email into an external database. This has the added benefit of getting inactive messages out of your mail file which should make your Notes administrator happy.

eProductivity enthusiast, Paul Gardner, has just written about how uses the external filing features of eProductivity to streamline his filing and reduce the size of his email database in one easy step!

Link: Archiving E-mail with eProductivity

Update: Oops! Paul's blog is off-line. Here's a summary of what was on Paul's blog from 2009 updated to include some of the new features we've added since then...


Two filing destinations added to the email disposition dialog
- NEW in Version 3
We've added two new options to make it even easier to get processed email out of your in-box. Save yourself time and make your Notes administrator happy by using the new 'File to Archive" feature to file email directly into an archive and get it out of your mail file. If you have set up external mail files in your preferences you can also use the new "File to External Database" feature to file messages in the external mail file of your choosing. These tools will help you keep your mail file small and fast which will make your Notes administrator happy too.

How to file messages from your inbox into an archive or other external filing database:
From your e-mail in-box, Select the message(s) you wish to file and click on the 'Folder' button in the action bar. You will now be able to choose between folders in your mail file and an external filing database. If you select a filing database you will be able to choose a destination folder (or create a new one) to file your message(s) in.

       Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

File messages into an archive or other external filing database effortlessly as your create new Projects or Actions:

Now, when you create Projects and Actions from emails in your in-box, two new buttons will appear on the disposition dialog. You can now choose between folders in your mail file and an archive or external filing database. If you select an archive or external database you will be prompted to choose a destination folder (or create a new one) to file your message(s) in.
       Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

To view messages your external filing databases:

Click on the filing database entry in the navigation pane. You will then be presented with a list of folders from which to choose.
       Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

Creating additional filing databases:

You may define up to five external filing databases. Follow the same procedures above.


NOTE: A few things have been added since this post was first written:
1. You can now have up to 10 external databases
2. You can now drag and drop from email into an external database
3. You can now click on an external database to open it from within eProductivity
eProductivity enabled Archives
- NEW in Version 3
You can now "eProductivity enable" your Notes mail archives to save you time when working with your archives. For starters, we have redesigned the navigation of the archive to include the same eProductivity navigation and features available in the mail file for a consistent and familiar look and feel. The Archive navigator provides fast access to your most frequently used information everything is where you need it, when you need it. When you are working in your archive, folders are conveniently available on the left and the search window is always open at the top to help you find what you are looking for, fast. The views have been redesigned to display important and relevant information, such as the date archived and other important information. Your eProductivity enabled archive will allow you to view archived Projects and Actions including their linked items - something you can't do in a standard Notes archive.  We've also included new tools to make it even easier to move Projects, Actions and even entire folders between your mail file and your archive -- and back! If you (or your Notes administrator) has every accidentally archived incomplete Projects or Actions, we've added a new recovery tool just for you to allow you to import incomplete Project(s) / Action(s) / To Do's from your archive back into your mail file. Again, with one click. These features simply do not exist in standard Notes. Finally, the new eProductivity Global Search button is now available from within the eProductivity enabled archive allowing you to search your mail and archives and more with a single click.  All of these features work in concert to turn your Notes mail archive from a dead end unused mail repository to an extended part of your personal information management system.


Overview

With eProductivity version 3 you can select a message from your e-mail inbox or folder and file it to an external filing database, quickly, easily. You can also file an email into an external archive database while you are processing emails into projects and actions -- with no multi-step cutting and pasting!

Why use an external filing database?

There are many reasons you may want to file your messages to an external filing database. First, by filing messages outside of your e-mail database you can keep your e-mail database small, fast, and well under your message quote. Did I mention that a small mail file is a fast one? Second, you can file infrequently needed messages into a central database that you share with others; think of it as a workgroup filing system for messages. Now, all of the messages related to a person or topic can be centrally filed in one place to be accessed by anyone you designate. Finally, if you work with an assistant or partner, you can quickly move a message to the other person's mailbox. The elegance of this feature is that the other person can then reply to the message as if they had received it directly in their in-box. (If you had forwarded it they would not be able to reply with out a lot of cutting and pasting as you would be the sender of the message.)

How I use the eProductivity filing feature:


In this example, I have configured five filing databases in eProductivity:

1. ICA E-Mail archive -
This is where we file all business e-mails by client, vendor, or contact. (A-Z within each section)
2. eProductivity Support Mailbox -
I use this entry to move support messages that people send to me into our support team mailbox. (So next time you think you are clever to email me directly, know that I simply click and move it to the support team.)
3. Kathy Mack -
My wife and I move messages between our mail files, particularly if email arrives in one mailbox that was for the other person.
4. Mack Family e-mail archive -
Here is where we file all family e-mails by person, A-Z.
5. Wendy Mack -
My daughter and I have a number of projects in common; I frequently receive emails that I want Wendy to handle as my assistant. With a simple click I can move these to her mailbox to review, toss, or handle. This can be a great feature for working with an executive assistant as long as you are both in agreement on how it will be used.

OK, does this sound interesting? Here's how you can set this up for yourself.

How to enable a database for filing with eProductivity:


Step one:
Create or identify a database that you want to use as your filing database. This could be an existing mail database, an existing mail archive database, or a new database that you create. the only requirement is that the database design be based on a mail template. (Any mail template is fine)

Step two:
Copy a database link to he clipboard for the database from step one. Do this by selecting the database that you want to file into and selecting FILE, DATABASE, COPY AS LINK. (In Notes 8, use FILE, APPLICATION, COPY AS LINK)

Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly
Now, with the database link for your target database on the clipboard, we will configure eProductivity to allow you to file into this database.

Step Three:
Open the eProductivity preferences by opening your mail file and then clicking on the Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly button and then selecting Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly from the pull down menu. Navigate to the GENERAL\FILING tab. PASTE the database link into the location field for 'your mail external database'. Next, enable the check mark 'Show on Main Navigator'.

Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

Click the Save and close button Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly to save your preferences.

Close and reopen your mail file for these changes to take effect

Video: How to use ActiveWords

Many users of eProductivity use ActiveWords to help them get things done with Lotus Notes. Buzz Bruggeman recently posted this informative video which shows you ways to make ActiveWords work for you.

While not specifically about using ActiveWords with eProductivity, this video covers the many things that you can do with ActiveWords.

Watch:
ActiveWords Screencast

Learn:
ActiveWords with eProductivty

Install:
How to download, iInstall and use ActiveWords with eProductivity You're not using ActiveWords?!!  You don't know who Buzz is?!! You're in for a real treat!  Tech evangelist, Robert Scoble will interview my buddy, Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, on www.fastcompany.tv today at 10:00 AM PST.

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Buzz is always an interesting guy to visit with. To refer to him the CEO of ActiveWords is too limiting. Buzz is perhaps the best networker in the tech world - he's certainly the most prolific. (There are probably only 2-3 degrees of separation between Buzz and anyone in the tech world you'd want to meet.) I've had the opportunity to work with Buzz on several occasions as we share a common passion for all things mind mapping, GTD, and productivity.

Buzz and I first began talking about adding ActiveWords support for Lotus Notes several years ago. We finally did it and, with ActiveWords and eProductivity, millions of Notes Users can finally control the most productive aspects of Lotus Notes, from anywhere - even when Notes isn't running! I wonder if he will demonstrate or talk about ActiveWords and Notes on the show? (Hint to Buzz)

Anyway, here's the link to the live broadcast. I believe the replay will be up shortly, too.

Update: Here is a link to a PDF of my ActiveWords Wordbase

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"GTD®" and "Getting Things Done®" are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. Lotus® and Lotus Notes® are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation.