Why you don’t have time to save time

It's because you're working like it's still the Industrial Age, not like it's 2015.



In other words, you're using an outdated definition of what it means to be productive:

Productivity

Noun
[obsolete]
1. The process of producing more output with less input: "working harder."

[modern]
2. The art of accomplishing more with less time and less energy, achieved by learning new ways of doing things.

Which one would you rather work by?

Continue Reading: "Why you don't have time to save time" »

GTD: How to prevent an overload of "due today"

[Today's post comes from Nathan Paul of the eProductivity Team]

After learning David Allen's Getting Things Done  from Eric Mack for a year, I had a problem: on any given day, I had way more things marked as "due" than I could possibly get done. I dealt with it by taking all my incomplete items at the end of each day and changing the due date to the next day -- you can imagine how well that worked out.

To do list.png
...times 20, but better-defined

This continued until I realized something: I was putting due dates on a lot of things that weren't really due that day. This not only overloaded my to-do list, but gave me the extra mental stress of filtering my tasks, asking "Is this really due today?"

Here's how I solved this: by distinguishing between "due" and "like to do."

Continue Reading: "GTD: How to prevent an overload of "due today"" »

4 Steps to Recover from Email Overwhelm

iPhone screen showing empty inboxSuffering from an overflowing inbox? You're not alone.

Email has been a pandemic in the business world. I've sat with executive coaching clients and seen the emails creep in -- a new message every minute or two. Everywhere I've gone to consult and train, email has been one of the top complaints. It's insane.

Maybe your email is out of control right now (in fact, if you're still reading, I assume it is!) Here are 4 steps you can take to recover and put your inbox on cruise control:

1. Drag all emails that are 30 days or older from your inbox into an "Old Email" folder.

If you haven't responded in 30 days, there will probably be no consequence to ignoring them. This gives you a manageable inbox to work with.

Continue Reading: "4 Steps to Recover from Email Overwhelm " » Does it seem like there's a lot of activity in your office, but the important stuff doesn't get done? When your coworker is three weeks late giving you that report, do you wonder, "What have they been doing?"

This is a situation I've seen at many of the companies I've consulted for: a lot of stuff gets moved around, emailed, minuted, and checked off, but there's very little accomplished.

To understand this, let me tell you a story:

Pretend I'm a manager, and I walk into my office full of bright, eager employees and announce we're going to build a bridge. They all set off right away to put in 10-hour days with smiles on their faces, merrily getting ready to make the best bridge they can build.

Can you think of a more productive, ideal workplace? Everyone's happy and working hard.

There's just one problem: no one knows what kind of bridge we're building. One person's working on a little stone arch, and another's designing the next Golden Gate. We all have different ideas of how wide and long and high to make it, using what materials, and even whether to make an arch or suspension bridge or something else.

There's a crucial question that hasn't been answered: what are we trying to accomplish?

I've found that a lot of problems are solved by asking this simple question. Having a shared, clearly-defined idea of where to head (not to mention how to get there) prevents a lot of wasted time and effort, and also creates a shared sense of purpose and camaraderie.

This is for you personally as well. If you don't have a clear idea of what you're aiming for, you'll have a hard time trying to hit it.

So, do you and your team know what you're doing?


P.S. eProductivity was designed to nurture this kind of thinking. For example, when you create a new Project, eProductivity asks you, "What's the successful outcome? Describe as if already done; what would that look like?" This is meant to encourage you to think in terms of what will be true once you've done this thing. This approach helps keep you focused; plus, it automatically gets your brain thinking about how to achieve that outcome. The high cost of multitasking

Multitasking is not working smarter -- just the opposite, in fact.  This a quick, colorful infographic from Visual.ly and Fuze shows how multitasking actually slows you down and even decreases your IQ!

Click here to view.

(Continuing from yesterday): Chris Blatnick, a professional business coach and long-time eProductivity user, shares why he loves eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach and how it helps him stay on track:


The Weekly Review Coach in eProductivity is basically an enhanced wizard, walking you through all of the steps necessary for a successful Weekly Review. It's an elegant approach because it allows you to focus on just one thing at a time. This is key, since maintaining this focus will drive you toward completion faster and allow you to be more thorough in your work. The coach kept me engaged, targeted and on track. I'll admit that in the past I got distracted chasing an idea or item down a rabbit hole. While this can still happen in any system, I felt more focused because I had the coach to guide me through the review in the correct order.


After launching it, the Weekly Review Coach takes you to the first step in the process: Collect Loose Papers. For each step of the Weekly Review, the coach tells you what you should be doing and gives you suggestions to improve your game. You can see a sample shot from the Weekly Review Coach below.




Continue Reading: "GTD, Lotus Notes & the eProductivity Challenge: The Weekly Review (part 2)" »

Speaking of the Weekly Review, here's a guest post from Chris Blatnick, a GTD fan and long-time eProductivity user who was blogging before it was cool. He draws on his experience as a business coach to discuss why the Weekly Review is so critical, as well as why he loves eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach:

Webster defines a coach as "one who instructs or trains."

I'm a big fan of coaching. Whether talking about a presentation coach to help hone your skills on the stage, a performance coach to help you better your 5k time, or a life coach to get you to focus on your overall goals and objectives, coaching is a fantastic way to help you achieve your potential and then reach for loftier heights. In fact, I'm writing this post right now while waiting for my son to get out of his teen life coaching session. I occasionally work as a technology coach, helping people map out what they want to get out of using technology, then putting a plan together to meet that goal in the most efficient way possible. So right off the bat, I figured I would like the Weekly Review Coach functionality of eProductivity. I was wrong, though...I actually love it!

Ask any Getting Things Done fan, new to the system or grizzled veteran, what the biggest obstacle to complete mastery of the GTD concepts is, and they'll likely tell you it is the Weekly Review. The Weekly Review is the part of GTD that brings everything into focus, helping you to close open loops, determine what is needed to move your projects forward and keeps you on track toward your higher level life goals. David Allen calls the Weekly Review the "secret sauce," and in my experience that is very true. I've posted before about my GTD journey to this point, and the times when I was most on my game and feeling that I was living the vision that Mr. Allen maps out in his book was when I was diligently doing my Weekly Review.



But let's be honest...it takes some serious focus to plan out the time to sit down every week to look over what you need to be working on. In fact, in some ways, the Weekly Review exerts a certain force of opposition if you are afraid of what you'll uncover. You need to do this, however, to get full clarity of what you should and shouldn't be working on. Thus, the concept of having a "coach" for helping you get through this process is outstanding.



Tomorrow, I'll post the rest of Chris's thoughts on how well the Weekly Review Coach works.

You start the new year with energy, verve, and a resolve to Get Things Done! But how do you make sure those things keep moving forward week after week?

Here's the most critical habit to make sure you don't drop the ball: review your commitments regularly. Ideally, this would be done every week.

There are certain steps you can follow for a successful Weekly Review. These will help you empty all your sources of input, review your existing material to make sure it's current, and get inspiration from your goals and ideas.

David Allen's ideal steps for a successful Weekly Review are listed below:

David Allen's Weekly Review steps, as built into the Weekly Review Coach in eProductivity, the premier solution for getting things done in IBM Lotus Notes

These will work with any system you're using (even pen and paper), but I've also specially built them into eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach.

A few definitions

If you haven't been introduced to the Getting Things Done method, a few quick definitions may be in order:

Capture Tools: Any place where stuff collects, such as your inbox, email, and voicemail.

Tickler: Files for stuff you want to be reminded of at a later date. For example, you could have a tickler item labeled "Decide whether to attend the 2016 Olympics," with a due date of four months before the event.

Waiting-for: Just what it sounds like -- anything that you're waiting for from someone else.

Someday/Maybe: A list of things you want to do and could do, but can't, shouldn't, or won't do now.

Why the Weekly Review is so powerful

Following the checklist above will help you

  • Empty all the stuff that you've collected
  • Decide what you need to do about all that stuff (if anything)
  • Review everything in your world at least briefly so nothing falls through the cracks
  • Get inspired by your creative ideas

Personally, my favorite part of the Weekly Review is going through stuff I haven't thought about in a while, and it hits me -- "I could do this fun, exciting, creative thing!" I can't always do that thing right away -- often, it has to go on my someday/maybe list -- but it's energizing just to have those ideas!

David Allen on the Weekly Review Coach



To use the Weekly Review Coach

If you're using eProductivity, open the eProductivity menu and select "Weekly Review Coach" to get started!

If you're not using eProductivity (and you have Lotus Notes) click here to learn more and start a 21-day trial.

More info

Read more about Someday/Maybe

See here for a good two-sentence definition of Waiting-for

Read more about the Tickler File

Read more about the Weekly Review Coach

Here's to your success!

Here's how I took some of my own advice from one of last week's posts on wrapping up the year.

I started reviewing my own Horizons of Focus, and from there working down to my own goals and projects for the year. This got more and more tangled and complex, until I finally realized that I needed some kind of filter. One set of goals and objectives for my whole life wasn't enough: I had to split everything in my world (and my Horizons of Focus) into different roles.

Each role would have its own complete set of Horizons of Focus: mission, vision, values, purpose, goals, objectives, areas of focus, projects, and actions.

After thinking about it, I realized that in my life I fill the following roles:

Husband
Father
Professional
Educator
Individual

Once I was clear on my roles, I started to define my Horizons of Focus for each of them, using a table like this:

A sample of how I've organized my roles in life according to David Allen's Horizons of Focus model

I experienced great clarity by starting at the top in this way -- having these broad categories made it much easier to sort everything in my world.

Later, though, I realized that "Professional" could (and should) really be broken down further into five smaller roles:
Consultant
Entrepreneur
Author/Speaker
Platform Builder
Manager

This has made it much easier to organize projects, actions, and information related to my work.

I've struggled over the years to define my roles while keeping them manageable. One year, doing this same exercise, I wound up with 35 different roles -- and trying to live by them over the following months nearly drove me insane.

Another year, I decided to keep things super-simple and just stick with Work, Family, and Personal -- but this turned out to be too simplistic, and I often got stuck on where to file things.

This year, however, I think I've finally come up with a good number of roles: small enough to be manageable, but large enough to encompass everything I do.

I thought it was very helpful to map these out in my eProductivity Horizons of Focus documents; then, once I'm done defining each role, I'll work down to my projects and actions for each one, which will be recorded in eProductivity.

If you start with your Horizons of Focus, you'll probably find it much easier to brainstorm everything in your world that needs your attention. Plus, if you want to record Projects and Actions straight from eProductivity Reference, you can turn on the option to include the New Action and New Project buttons in the Reference database.



I hope you can get clarity on your roles this New Year so you can do what you need to get done!

Eric

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Getting perspective

Not just any perspective -- I mean seeing your life at every level, so you can know just what you're doing and why.

In his bestselling book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, my friend and collaborator David Allen describes six levels of perspective, which he calls the "Horizons of Focus:"

David Allen's Horizons of Focus, explained briefly - also available in eProductivity, the premier GTD add-on for Lotus Notes

Think about these, write them down, and put them in a place where you'll review them regularly. They may change over time, but they'll help keep you on track.

Most people tend to get stuck on the difference between the Horizons of Focus and Areas of Focus, so I'd like to explain this level a bit more.

A word about Areas of Focus

Here are some examples of this particular level:

Personal

  • Your relationship with your spouse
  • Your kids
  • Volunteering
  • Your hobby

Professional

  • Designing new sales campaigns
  • Special projects for your boss
  • Keeping certifications up-to-date
  • Continuing education

Areas of Focus are essentially the major categories for your projects. Reviewing these regularly, along with the other horizons, will help you make sure that each one is moving forward.

How to set up your Horizons of Focus

You can do this in Word, Evernote, your IBM Lotus Notes Notebook, or even with a pen and paper. All it really takes is some thought and a capture tool to help you organize your thinking.

Think about your ultimate purpose in life. How can you move towards that in the coming year? What projects can you take on to advance your aims?

If you're using eProductivity, the Horizons of Focus tools are already built right in -- plus, eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach makes it easy to easily review your horizons regularly.

To set these up in eProductivity, here's what you'll need:

  • eProductivity Reference -- click here for more info
  • Click here for how to set up the horizons in eProductivity Reference

Want to learn more about planning your horizons?

For more detailed descriptions of the horizons, see this article.

Credits

I first learned the Horizons of Focus from my friend and collaborator, David Allen, author of the bestselling Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. and creator of the GTD methodology. David was personally involved in the testing of eProductivity, an add-on for IBM Lotus Notes that I designed to help people get more done with less stress.

This is the end of my four steps to close out the year. I hope they've made you more confident that you're prepared for 2015. These tips have been based on my experience with GTD over the years, and I look forward to sharing more of what I've learned in the future.

Happy New Year!

Eric



Part 1: Shred your lists!

Part 2: Review your future conversations

Part 3: Get inspired with your creative ideas

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

Hopefully, you have a list somewhere of things you'd like to do someday. As I mentioned in Part 1, these might be great ideas, but the right time hasn't come along to do them.

The term for things like this is "Someday/Maybe," and this is one of my favorite lists to review for the new year. This is typically where I keep my creative, fun, outrageous ideas -- and the end of 2014 is the perfect time to read through it and see what I may want to do to wrap up this year or kick off the next.

What's a "Someday/Maybe?"

Again, this list is not:

  • A black hole where things go to die (that's what your trash is for)
  • Your procrastinate list
  • For stuff you'll never actually do (also trash)

Someday/Maybe is your list for things you want to do, but can't or shouldn't right now.

You're not committing to do them, only to review them.

For example, my personal Someday/Maybe list includes things like:

  • Build a working laser cutter
  • Add a second business course to my teaching schedule
  • Attend the Macy's Thanksgiving parade in New York

These are all things that I want to do, actually could do, but won't, can't, or shouldn't do now, for whatever reason.

Again, I'm not committed to do any of these, only to review them regularly for ideas and inspiration.

Your own collection of creative ideas

Hopefully, you have a similar list that you're incubating and reviewing from time to time -- because someday, maybe some of those Someday/Maybe's will become things you can and should do now.

As you kick off the new year, you might discover that it's time to bring some of those projects to life. There are few things more energizing than remembering something you wanted to do and realizing the time is now.

Go back over your Someday/Maybe list and ask yourself:

  • Can I do this now?
  • Should I do this now?
  • Do I still want to do this?

If you can and should do it now, make it a project.

If it seemed like a good idea at some point, but no longer inspired or energizes you, throw it away!

(By the way, if you're using eProductivity, the Someday/Maybe list comes built-in. Just look on the left).

Don't have this list?

If you don't have a Someday/Maybe list, then maybe it's time to make one! As you come across objects or ideas in your world that represent things you'd like to do, but can't or shouldn't right now, add them to your Someday/Maybe list.

(or, if you really want go pedal to the metal, you can do a full-on David Allen-style processing of everything in your world -- see here for the map).

This list can live in Evernote, notes on your phone, a Word document, IBM Lotus Notes To-Do's, eProductivity, Outlook Tasks, or even paper -- ideally, somewhere easy for you to see and review.

Credits

The concept of "Someday/Maybe" was taught to me by my friend and collaborator, David Allen. David is the author of the bestselling Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and creator of the GTD methodology. David was personally involved in the testing of eProductivity, an add-on for IBM Lotus Notes that I designed to help people get more done with less stress.



Part 1: Shred your lists!

Part 2: Review your future conversations

Part 4: Get a high-altitude view of your life

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

Now is a great time to review what you want to talk to others about -- close those conversations as you close the year.

Hopefully, you've got a list of things you need to discuss with others -- for example:

A sample of the agendas list in eProductivity, to help track everything you need to discuss with others in Lotus Notes

It's also good to review your list of what you're waiting for others to give you -- if there's anything overdue, that'll probably need a conversation soon.

Your list of "waiting for's" could look similar to the list above: individual items sorted by person.

What you really want to say

This list of things you need to talk to people about is called your "agendas." In case you need convincing to keep a list like this, picture these two scenarios:

Scenario 1

Ryan comes by your desk to ask for something. You remember there's something you wanted to talk to him about, so you desperately try to remember what it was, dig through your papers, and wind up telling him you'll send an email.

Scenario 2

Ryan comes by your desk to ask for something. You remember there's something you wanted to talk to him about, so you pull out your agendas list and find it.

See what I mean?

Agendas and waiting for's all in one list

If you're using eProductivity, there's also a nifty little features called "Agendas & Waiting For." It shows you all your items sorted by person. With this list, you can simply click on a person's name to see everything you need to talk to them about and what you're waiting for them to give you:

A

Over the next few days, I'll post my third and fourth steps to close out 2014. Happy New Year! Eric

Credits

I first learned the concepts of agendas and waiting for's from my friend and colleague, David Allen who is the author of the the bestselling book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. David was also extensively involved in the design and testing of eProductivity, an add-on for IBM Lotus Notes that I designed to help people get more done with less stress. In fact, it's the tool he uses personally and recommends. Learn more here.



Part 1: Shred your lists!

Part 3: Get inspired with your creative ideas

Part 4: Get a high-altitude view of your life

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

My favorite way to get energized for the holidays is to look back on what I've accomplished this year.

Unless you keep your whole world in your head, you've got a list somewhere of what to do. Now is a great time to take that list (or collection of lists) and tear it to pieces! -- after you've reviewed its contents, that is.

As you look back on your old lists, you'll find four kinds of stuff

  • Stuff you need to finish
  • Stuff you'd like to do someday
  • Stuff you're not going to do
  • Stuff you've already finished!

Here's how to deal with each one, step by step. Along the way, you'll make two clean, shiny, new lists to guide you in 2015.

1) Stuff to finish

First of all, don't panic. If this is well and truly something you must get done by a certain deadline, here's what to do:

  1. Think about the very next thing you need to do to accomplish this
  2. Put that very next thing on your list (not the list you're reviewing, but your brand spanking new New Year's list)

Take one step at a time, and you will get it done.

If you're using eProductivity, make a new Project (or update the old one). You're one step closer to a fresh new year.

2) Stuff for someday

You could, should, or would do this, but right now you don't have the time, resources, knowledge, or deadline. What do you do with these?

Get ready for a high-tech term:

"Someday/Maybe"

This is not:

  • A black hole where things go to die
  • Your procrastinate list
  • For stuff you'll never actually do

This is your list for things you want to do, but can't or shouldn't right now.

In eProductivity, this comes built-in. Just look on the left!

3) Stuff not to do

Let's face it: you will never actually do this. It's time to recognize that, cross it off, and move on. Shred it, delete it, crumple it up -- it's not going to stress you anymore.

4) Stuff you've finished!

Read your list and realize, "I did that. I'm finished. It's done." Just soak in that accomplishment.

The feeling you got when you actually finished it was the sundae -- crossing it off your list is the cherry on top.

In eProductivity, just click the handy "Mark Complete" button. It's not shaped like a cherry, but it should be.

Smell that fresh, clean New Year

Once you're done, your trash is full, your desk is clean, and your lists are fresh. You are one organized captain of your work world. Now go have a happy holiday -- you've earned it!

(Hint: all these steps work just as well for your personal stuff!)

Over the next few days, I will share 3 more tips to help you wrap up the year. Meanwhile, I wish you the happiest of holidays!

Eric



Part 2: Review your future conversations

Part 3: Get inspired with your creative ideas

Part 4: Get a high-altitude view of your life

Figure out your goals and fly towards them

As you take time to check projects off your list, do your final weekly review for the year, and update your goals for 2015, you'll want to explore the Horizons of Focus feature in eProductivity.

I hate to toot my own horn here, but this simple feature is a great way to figure our your long-term goals and keep focus and direction.

Look for this on the left side of your eProductivity Mail screen:

A screenshot of eProductivity's horizons of focus, as modeled on David Allen's bestselling book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

For how to set this up, see here.

Happy holidays, and here's to your success!

P.S. For a more in-depth look at what the Horizons of Focus are, see David Allen's discussion here.

"I’m glad I have Lotus Notes!"

Bet you never thought you'd hear those words.

From Matt Redard:

There's no better methodology out there for personal productivity than GTD, and eProductivity seems to be custom built to implement the GTD methodology within the Lotus Notes environment.

I was disappointed when I learned my new employer was on Lotus Notes as their e-mail/calendar system - now with eProductivity, I'm glad I have Lotus Notes!

Excellent product. Thanks for making it easier for us Lotus Notes people to get things done.

Matt Redard
Director of Servicing Operations
Nationstar Mortgage, LLC

What can I add to that? Maybe some poor, frustrated worker will Google "I'm glad I have Lotus Notes" or "I love Lotus Notes," just to see whether anyone has ever used those words in a sentence together like that in all of recorded history -- and stumble across this humble little post and be filled with hope that there can be something better.

This has been Nathan Paul writing for eProductivity. In case we haven't reminded you in the last 15 minutes that the brilliant and handsome David Allen, author of the world-renowned Getting Things Done, uses and recommends eProductivity as his favorite software tool for implementing his own system -- well, here you go.

In this recent interview by Anthony Gell, a smart business insider with a sonorous British accent, David elaborates on his "old as dirt" principles as adapted to our constant inflow of data (the eProductivity mention is at 29:17). Enjoy!

GTD on mobile?

Want GTD on mobile? This man has found a great answer that works with any device.

From a press release on BusinessWire:

Jason Spencer - media professor, broadcaster, and entrepreneur - wanted a way to use David Allen's Getting Things Done® (GTD) methodology, eProductivity™, and IBM® Lotus Notes on his mobile devices.

For months, Spencer has searched for a mobile personal information management system (PIM) "that works out of the box on iOS and Android devices," would be conducive to implementing GTD, and would be secure. He's finally found this PIM in a combination of IBM Lotus Notes, eProductivity, CompanionLink, and DejaOffice.

This is coming from a man who's tried virtually every PIM app on the market and who's owned 80 smartphones over the last 6 years. I do believe he knows what he's talking about -- that's why Eric works with him.

Original press release on BusinessWire: click here.

To read Spencer's recommendations, view his blog post here.

[Guest blog post by Nathan Paul]

David Allen opens his book, Getting Things Don, the Art of Stress Free Productivity, with this statement: “It’s possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control” (p. 3). I don’t know about you, but my immediate reaction was, “Yes please!”

I’m going to give you a partial summary of the first chapter of Mr. Allen’s book. I’ll try to give you enough of a sense of what this book says and what it can do for you (and has done for me) without giving you all it has to offer (both to respect Mr. Allen’s IP and not get myself sued by him or his publisher).1

What do you want to get done?

Mr. Allen defines “work” as “anything that you want or need to be different than it currently is” (4).

So. Are there weeds in the garden? Are there emails in your inbox? Is your air conditioner broken? Do you need to help your kid decide on a college? How many hundreds of things are there in your life that you need or want to accomplish, do, create, or change? We’re going to take a little look at how to do it all.

This isn’t just a system for your job. It’s for your whole life.

What’s in your way?


Continue Reading: "An introduction to a solid way of getting things done" »

[Guest blog post by Nathan Paul]

The Natural Planning Method is something you’ve been doing your whole life without realizing it. Recently, I’ve been learning to consciously apply it to everything I do — and it’s been a huge relief. In a word, it’s given me a trusted process for dealing with just about anything I need or want to do. Now, instead of dozens of projects flying into my brain at random to tug my attention away from what I’m doing, I can focus on the present, because I know that everything on my to-do list is set to be taken care of. This isn’t anything quasi-mystical, and I’m not going to ask you to buy anything.

The steps

What David Allen (the speaker from the video that was the subject of my last entry) has done is reverse-engineer the process that your brain naturally uses to plan anything:
1. You identify something you want
2. You envision what having it will look and feel like — what will be true once it’s accomplished
3. Everything (information, ideas, actions) associated with getting it floods into your mind
4. You organize those ideas, actions, and info into patterns and steps
5. You determine the very next thing you need to do — and do it

How you’re already doing it


Continue Reading: "The Natural Planning Method: simple, effective, and free for helping you get things done" »

[Guest blog post by Nathan Paul]

When I hear the words “productivity guru,” I picture a bald, fit, bespectacled man with a goatee and a flashy suit giving a jargon-heavy presentation to a group of executives (who are pretending to understand what he’s saying) on the subject of how to cram 100 hours of work into a mere 50-hour work week — and, more importantly, how to get their employees to do the same. His constant calendar-checking, emailing, and texting do nothing to interrupt his flow of sophisticated corp-speak.

I definitely do not picture a guy like David Allen speaking intelligibly about concepts I can understand and that get me excited about learning to get things done. The fact that my expectations were utterly confounded is the reason I recommend this video.

DavidAllenTEDxAppropriateEngagement.jpg


Continue Reading: "TED: “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” A recommendation and response" »

[Guest blog post by  Jason Spencer]

Eric Mack reached out to me recently and offered to show me how he uses IBM Notes. I wanted top see eProductivity in operation anyway so this was my chance to learn from its creator

My first One on One coaching session with Eric Mack focused on an introduction to eProductivity which I found impressive. Eric Mack and David Allen have created an optimized software package and user interface for IBM Notes.

(As an aside, I believe that it  would behoove anyone working in software development to preview the demo and see what a completely optimized life management tool looks like.) Over a three day period, I implemented all 57 exercises to properly demo the software. In my next post, I will describe more about this experience.


Continue Reading: "IBM Notes as a "Trusted System" for Getting Things Done" »

[Journalist and professor Jason Spencer is on a quest to use IBM Notes as a productivity platform. I've invited him to share his experience with Notes on Productivity readers.  Jason's first post is here.  Jason's next installment update is below.]

Setting up IBM Notes with the Getting Things Done White Paper

Yesterday, I tried to set up IBM Notes and organize my work according to the best practices of David Allen's GTD methodology. I ran into some snags which I documented here.

Today, as I continue my productivity journey, I decided to see if David's white paper on using Notes would provide some relief to the challenges I encountered with vanilla Notes. I spent a day setting up my vanilla copy of IBM Lotus Notes using David Allen’s Getting Things Done white paper for IBM Notes. If you have never used a GTD White Paper before from the David Allen Company, you should know that their white papers give you a complete Getting Things Done Setup for that specific piece of software, turning confusion into clarity.


Continue Reading: "Guest Blog: Using the GTD Setup guide for Lotus (IBM) Notes" »

[Jason Spencer is a journalist and professor at the Art Institute of Houston and he recently reached out to me to share his interest in IBM Notes as a productivity platform . He said that he was planning to do a long term experiment by migrating his life to IBM Notes/Smart Cloud. I like the way he explores and writes about productivity topics he's passionate about so I encouraged him to share his experience and I invited him to submit guest blog posts about his experience for the benefit of the Notes on Productivity readers. Jason's first and second guest blog posts are here and here.  Jason's third installment update is below.]

Challenges Implementing Getting Things Done with IBM Notes

I'm a long time proponent of David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) approach to work and life. In fact, knowing that David uses and recommends IBM Notes as his knowledge platform of choice is what first led me to consider switching from Outlook. When Microsoft emasculated their productivity tools I got fed up and decided to explore the tool that David Allen uses. I understand that David also uses eProductivity but I wanted to first understand what it is about Notes that has kept this program around for over two decades. Using my knowledge of GTD, I decided to see if I could implement this approach to productive work within my vanilla Notes 9 Social Edition Setup.

Implementing Getting Things Done with vanilla Notes exposes you to a quirky set of idiosyncratic functionalities that can easily hamper and frustrate implementation, especially, I discovered, when integrating it with Apple’s iOS platform.  


Continue Reading: "Guest Blog: Challenges Implementing Getting Things Done with IBM Notes " » This weekend, I reread David Allen's third book, Making It All Work. One sentence from the book provides insight on how GTD helps people see IBM Notes differently:

"Thousands of users of popular enterprise desktop software such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes have rarely had good enough reason to utilize their 'Task' or 'To-Do' functions.  But once they see how those features can be configured for GTD they discover and access a new power in this software."

-- David Allen, author and creator of the Getting Things Done® ('GTD®') methodology.

In the decade that i have been helping people implement GTD with Notes this has proven to be true over and over. Once people experience how just thinking about their tools differently changes the way they work they begin to seek out other ways to improve their performance.

I designed eProductivity for IBM Notes by starting with the core principles of GTD and finding ways to integrate them into the IBM Notes environment so that even someone unfamiliar with GTD can immediately benefit from the principles. Someone new to GTD or eProductivity may not understand why it works but they do get how it works for them.

eProductivity is the only GTD® Enabled application for IBM Lotus® software. It is also the only productivity software for IBM software that David Allen uses or recommends.

Source:
1. Making It All Work, Chapter two, page 17

No tricks. Here’s a GTD treat for you!

gtd-workflow-diagram-200x156.png Here's a productivity power tool for you. Courtesy of The David Allen Company, we now include the latest GTD Workflow diagram within eProductivity.

Continue Reading: "No tricks. Here's a GTD treat for you!" »

How to upgrade the eProductivity Stand-alone App

In this short video we show you how to upgrade your eProductivity Stand-alone application to the current version in just a few minutes. (For greater detail, choose full-screen viewing at 720p)



Related links:

Invitation: Super Productivity Tools for Superwomen

Technology Hands-on Workshop 2011 Series:
"Super Productivity Tools for Superwomen"
Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes
Presented by productivity experts Kelly Forrister and Eric Mack

IBM Software Briefing Centers

SVL Super Women's Group

On September 14, 2011, the IBM SVL (Silicon Valley Labs) Super Women's Group will host another productivity event as part of their 2011 technology hands-on workshop series.

Continue Reading: "Invitation: Super Productivity Tools for Superwomen" »

DominoPower: Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes

DominoPower Magazine Senior Technical Editor Mick Moignard shares his experience implementing David Allen's GTD® methodology in Lotus Notes using the free eProductivity Essentials application.

I've toyed around the edges of David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology for quite some time, and I've played with a number of Lotus Notes implementations of it. I've talked with Eric Mack of eProductivity about his company's Lotus Notes implementation, and I've listened to the man himself, David Allen, talk about GTD at Lotusphere. I even bought and had him sign a copy of one of his books, then won a copy of another one from Eric.

But I've not committed myself to the process.

So when Eric asked me to have a look at the new eProductivity Essentials stand-alone version, I thought this would be great opportunity not just to look at his product, but also take another look at whether GTD is really for me.

Continue Reading: "DominoPower: Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes" »

We’ve Been Changing Things Around Here...

What's new at eProductivity for Lotus NotesIf you've visited the eProductivity website sometime in the last two weeks, you've undoubtedly noticed that things are markedly different. The new products, new website and more are the result of much hard work by the eProductivity team, inspired by the feedback and input of our loyal users - you! We hope you like the improvements as much as we do.

Let's take a look at what's new and explore what this all means.

Continue Reading: "We've Been Changing Things Around Here..." »

4 Steps to Recovering from Email Overwhelm

Suffering from an overflowing inbox? You're not alone.

By all indicators, email overwhelm is a pandemic in today's business world. In the recent eProductivity satisfaction survey, 97.3% of respondents said they receive a large amount of work-related emails. Thankfully, 87.1% of those people said eProductivity makes it easy to get an empty inbox, and our goal is that eventually, everyone will say it's easy.

In any case, perhaps you're someone whose email inbox is out of control right now. Here are 4 steps you can take to recover and set your inbox on cruise control.

Continue Reading: "4 Steps to Recovering from Email Overwhelm " »

And the winners are... (Survey 2010)

card_credit_L_GiftCard.jpgTo say thanks to those who participated in the recent eProductivity satisfaction survey, we offered three VISA gift card prizes - $100 each to two runner-ups, and a grand prize of $300 to one winner. All participants who completed their survey by December 31st, 2010 were automatically entered for a chance to win.

We're pleased to announce that the names of our winners have been drawn!

Continue Reading: "And the winners are... (Survey 2010)" »

Survey Results are In!

survey-checklist.jpgReady for some insider information? The initial results of the recent eProductivity satisfaction survey are in!

Background
:
Using an online tool, we recently surveyed a representative sample of eProductivity customers. Participants were asked a range of questions about their eProductivity and Lotus Notes experiences. Over 400 completed surveys later, we have a wealth of insight on how we can improve and better serve the needs of our customers.

Continue Reading: "Survey Results are In!" »

"GTD in email is crushingly powerful"

At last week's DC Lotus User Group meetup, Jack Dausman was introduced to eProductivity. Jack has a history with GTD and Lotus Notes, and at the meetup presented by Eric Mack, he had his eyes opened to how eProductivity artfully marries the methodology (GTD) with the technology (Lotus Notes).

Jack shared a number of thoughts about this on his blog, including this choice quote:

The rush of IM, the Google Wave (which has obeyed its eponymous sinusoidal form to rise and fall) and the crowd surfing of Facebook mail, all suggest that there is something that must be done to fix email. Eric's resurface of Lotus Notes, though, exposes that fallacy for the working professional. Change how we use email, and the din subsides. Using GTD in email is crushingly powerful and moves beyond managing email to building productive relationships through email.

Read the full post

Where are the black holes in your system?

black-hole-space-flikr.jpgWhere are the places in your system that semi-processed items collect, never to be heard from again?

The things that end up in these places are the items you sorta-kinda-maybe know need to go somewhere, but you're not certain exactly where. More importantly, you don't feel like taking the time on the front-end to actually decide.

I call these places "black holes" because similar to black holes in space, items get sucked into them and never re-appear. For many folks, the biggest black hole is the email inbox.

In my system, a big black hole used to be the "Read/Review" context. When I came across denser materials such as meeting notes or lengthy articles needing my attention, they'd end up in this context vortex. That's fine on the surface, but the problem was, I wasn't really certain I was committed to reading these items. Many of them were better suited in a Someday/Maybe entry or in an email folder for reference. Or even just deleted outright.

I should have kept a hard edge on my Read/Review context by reserving it only for actions I was committing to myself to get done. Because I didn't do that, it ballooned into something unmanageable.

When I'd do my Weekly Review on my preferred day of Monday, I'd skip reviewing the Read/Review context because it gave me a headache. Too many semi-processed items clamoring for a decision.

Continue Reading: "Where are the black holes in your system?" »

Subcategories in eProductivity Reference

I saw this helpful post today by Garrett Wolthuis on how to create subcategories in the Lotus Notes Journal.

What you may not know is that you can also create subcategories in eProductivity Reference. You just need to use the same Main Category\Subcategory format in the 'Category' field of a Reference entry and voila!, subcategory created.

I whipped up a quick screenshot example from my own eProductivity Reference to show this...

eProductivity Reference subcategory example

Of course, eProductivity Reference is a free download.

Tip: Prune your mailbox for faster performance

Pruning your Lotus Notes mailbox is a good idea because a mailbox bloated with many outdated items is usually a slow mailbox. You can avoid this performance hit to your Lotus Notes (and consequently, eProductivity) with some simple maintenance steps.


Step 1. Delete or Archive Unneeded Email Attachments
Email attachments, like those pictures of the cute puppy dog or the LOLcat circulating through your office email, can take up a lot of space. So it's a good idea to peridiodically go through your 'All Documents' view and delete or archive all the unneeded attachments. A easy way to find the largest attachments is by sorting on the 'Size' column.

When you locate unneeded attachments, the fastest way to deal with it is to delete or archive the email itself. But if you only want to get rid of the attachment, you can edit the email and do what you need with just the attachment.

Sorting the All Documents view by the Size column

If you have attachments that you want to keep but don't want them taking up space in your mail file, consider parking them in an eProductivity Reference database (you do have eProductivity Reference set up, right?).



Continue Reading: "Tip: Prune your mailbox for faster performance" »

Agendas ease the headache of remembering

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Ever sat down for a conversation with someone and suddenly you can't remember what you wanted to discuss? Not a lot of fun, not to mention potentially stressful.

Equally frustrating is when you walk away from a meeting and get the nagging feeling that you forgot to discuss something important.

So next time, rather than enduring this kind of unnecessary headache, do yourself a favor: write down your topics ahead of time. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel and at how much more efficient meetings are when you can march down a list of topics, confident that everything needing discussion is on that list.

So here's some pointers I've found about creating and maintaining these kinds of agendas.

Keep a running agenda list for people you regularly interact with

These people are probably coworkers, family, and close friends. You communicate with them all the time and there's usually plenty of things needing discussing.

Continue Reading: "Agendas ease the headache of remembering" »

Join eProductivity creator Eric Mack and special guest David Allen, creator of the GTD® methodology, as they share best practices gleaned from over 30 years of combined experience using Lotus Notes.

Inspired by over 200 audience questions from April's Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes webinar, these hard-hitting podcasts dive into the secrets of being productive with Lotus Notes.

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Join Eric and David as they share their insights on how you can get more done with Lotus Notes.

Subscribe to the special podcast feed so that you don't miss upcoming episodes!

See all Episodes |  Subscribe | itunes16x16.jpg Subscribe with iTunes

In Episode #2, topics addressed include:

  • How to stay productive when you're feeling overwhelmed by the volume of incoming information
  • How to organize all your "collection buckets" - phone, paper, email, etc.
  • GTD and cloud computing
  • Calendar vs tickler file - what goes where?
  • GTD and the tyranny of the urgent

Episode #2 Details:
Length: 18:56 minutes
File Size: 17.3MB

Tip - Add Contacts to Projects and Actions

This tip was originally posted in the eProductivity Weekly Tip newsletter. Sign up to get more tips like it delivered straight to your email inbox.

Did you know you can link contacts to your eProductivity projects and actions? If not, this tip is for you.

You might use this feature to keep track of which key people relate to the project you're working on. Or maybe you have an important call this afternoon and you need easy access to the relevant contact information.

Whatever your need may be, here's how to setup and use contact linking.

Enable the Contacts view to appear on the eProductivity Navigator

By default, the Contacts view will not appear on your eProductivity Navigator. So first, if you don't have the Contacts view enabled, you'll need to do so from the eProductivity Preferences.

Go to the Preferences (click on the big eProductivity button on the top action bar), and then locate the Navigation > Main Navigator tab. Click the checkbox next to 'Contacts'.

Enabling the Contacts view inside of eProductivity

Save and close the Preferences, and then close and re-open eProductivity for the changes to take effect.

Continue Reading: "Tip - Add Contacts to Projects and Actions" »

A great day for a Weekly Review

Today's a great day for that Weekly Review you've been holding off on.

David Allen calls the Weekly Review, "the secret sauce of GTD". Let him inspire you further...

Friday is a popular choice for the Weeky Review because you can then relax over the weekend without being nagged by thoughts of unfinished work. So if you've been procrastinating on your Weekly Review, what are you waiting for? :)

Spend a couple hours, review your lists, and get clear for the weekend.

eProductivity Summer Savings

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We just kicked off a Summer Savings promotion that includes great deals on various eProductivity licenses. If you don't yet own eProductivity, make sure to take a look.

eProductivity can help you save enough time so that relaxing on the beach in one those chairs, sipping on a cool drink, could actually happen for you this summer. :-)

Key GTD Terms and Definitions

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Every week, we send out an eProductivity Weekly Tips article. If you like this article, consider subscribing to the Weekly Tips newsletter.

You can also take a look at past articles in the Tips Archive.

Without further ado...

Key GTD Terms and Definitions -

This week we're taking a brief intermission from our series on the eProductivity Today View (Part 1 | Part 2).

Instead, we'd like to present a concise list of key GTD terms that appear inside eProductivity. David Allen's Getting Things Done® (GTD®) methodology is the foundation on which eProductivity is built. GTD is used everyday by millions of men and women around the world and empowers them to be more productive.

Having a strong grasp on the following GTD terms and concepts will assist you in using eProductivity to your greatest advantage.

Action: a single, physical, visible step to get something done. (e.g. call Fred/draft proposal/wash dog)

Project: Any outcome that requires more than one action step to complete

Sidebar: A key GTD best practice is to have clearly defined options when you are choosing what to do. With eProductivity, we support this by giving you the ability to distinguish between “Next Actions” (your next, physical, visible action steps that are project related or not) and “Actions” (for capturing project related future, sequential, or dependent actions that would follow the Next Actions.)

Context: The locations that work can be done in. Can be geographical (e.g. At Office) or it can be resource-based (e.g. At Phone)

Waiting For: Commitments you are tracking that are dependent on someone or something else

Tickler: A system for tracking date-specific actions in the future

Someday/Maybe: Items that you might want to do in the future, but have no current commitment to complete

Reference: Items that do not require your action, but have value as information to hold on to

Weekly Review: A weekly walk through of your commitments so that everything stays clear and current, freeing you to be creative

The GTD Workflow Diagram
The Workflow Diagram is another building block to working productively. It's worth studying closely:

GTD workflow diagram thumbnail

The GTD Workflow diagram is available as a free download from the David Allen Company Store.

No Post-Vacation Email Woes

Editor note: This is a guest post from Amanda Bauman that was originally posted on the Lotus Technical Information and Education Community Blog. She regularly blogs there. Amanda first learned about eProductivity and GTD from the "Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes" webinar in April 2010. She is now a passionate fan and is working on sharing her story with others.

As you may know by now from my previous blog posts, I've been trying out David Allen's GTD methodology, and have also taken a keen interest in eProductivity, created by Eric Mack.

Lucky girl that I am, I got to take a much needed vacation with my family in Mexico for almost 2 weeks. In the past when I took any sizable chunks of time off, It was always with the dread knowledge that I would come back to hundreds of emails to wade through, many of which require me to do something, and many of which would fall through the cracks until somebody reminded me that I missed something. Not what you want to face when you're coming down from a sun-soaked, fun filled, stress-free couple of weeks with the family, right?

So it was with a little bit of pessimism that I started my day on Tuesday  -- my first day back at work.  I felt myself kind of wince a little bit as I launched Lotus Notes and synchronized my local replica mailbox. I had visions of a slot machine in Vegas with prize going up up up, finally stopping at the number displayed in my inbox, but without the euphoria. Let's just say that had my number of  unread emails equaled a Vegas jackpot, I might consider taking another (shorter) vacation ;).

Continue Reading: "No Post-Vacation Email Woes" »

The challenge of a new productivity system

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IBMer Amanda Bauman recently reduced her inbox from 5000 emails to zero after learning GTD techniques. She attended the April 8 "Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes" web event and learned the best practices of GTD straight from the experts, David Allen and Eric Mack. Inspired by what she learned, Amanda made some dramatic improvements to her productivity system. I had linked to her story previously.

Today - a little over 1 month later - Amanda posted an update. She writes:

It's been over a month since I started my quest to clean out my in-box and adopt the GTD methodology. I've purposefully restricted this quest to just my work life, because quite frankly, my personal life works  just fine as is :-), and I'm a big fan of only tackling one major change at a time, otherwise I start to feel out of control. And be assured, GTD is a big change.

But over a month later, my in box remains empty, my to do list remains full, and things that may have been on the edge of my radar and in danger of falling off... well, they are still on the edge, but now there is a nice, tidy wall around everything to prevent things from slipping off the edge.

She goes on to describe some of the challenges and successes she's experienced on her journey with GTD & eProductivity. Read the full post

Her story is well-worth the few minutes it takes to read. It echoes some of the other stories that we've heard from eProductivity users. Implementing a new productivity system can be a challenge - we all know how hard it is to change habits! But when you have great tools that attract you to use them, frequently the pain of change can be tempered and the adoption of new habits can be accelerated.

What are challenges you've faced on your way to working smarter, not harder?

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David and Eric live = Resounding Success

Last Thursday, we held an IBM employee-only "Getting Things Done in Lotus Notes" webinar with eProductivity's Eric Mack and featured guest, GTD® creator David Allen. Judging by the 725 IBMer registrants, the 200 questions asked during the session, and the multitudes of follow-up emails that attendees sent us, the webinar was a resounding success.

The webinar even generated the Tweet of the Month! (trademark pending, of course...)

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Hat tip to @sachac, @elsua_b, and @jmsidhu

David and Eric were on fire and shared many things they've learned about being more productive with Lotus Notes.

GTDWebinar_DAQuote.pngDavid delivered a passionate explanation of the Essentials of GTD. He spoke on the vital importance of a trusted system and reminded us that you can only feel good about what you're not doing if you know what you're not doing.

For those who had never heard of GTD, it was a eye-opening experience (based on their comments afterwards) and for those of us familiar with GTD, it was a welcome refresher.

Eric then showed how to set up Lotus Notes for GTD. First, he demonstrated how regular Lotus Notes can be an effective GTD list manager, and then he showed how using eProductivity takes Lotus Notes to the next level. The best part? It was all stuff people could put to use right away.

Plus, all attendees received a free resource kit which included an eProductivity Reference database full of great GTD articles from David's library.

First, let me say a big thanks to everyone who attended the webinar. Your participation was appreciated and it's been great to hear from so many of you about how the webinar benefited you.

Let me also say thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the webinar.

Another opportunity to hear David and Eric live:
On April 28th, you have another opportunity to experience David and Eric's extensive knowledge of productivity.

This time, the free event is open to the general public but spaces are filling up quickly. So before the event is booked out, make sure to tell all your friends who use Lotus Notes and could use more time & less stress in their lives!
Register for the webinar

DavidAllenEricMackProfilePicturesCombined.jpg Now, in case you're still deciding if this is the webinar for you, here's the planned agenda:

Agenda

  • Your Personal Productivity Equation
  • Essentials of GTD
  • How to set up Lotus Notes with GTD
  • David's Productivity Toolkit
  • eProductivity™ for IBM Lotus Notes
  • Getting Started with GTD and Lotus Notes
  • Q&A

As you can see, this is a must-attend event! Register today.

To get automatic updates on eProductivity's webinar events, you can sign up for the free eProductivity newsletter.

Meet Kelly Mack, Beta Program record keeper

At ICA, we are creating opportunities for the next generation workforce. Here's just one example:

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As Beta users install the latest release of eProductivity and accept the license agreement, we record the date so that we know who’s really using the software. This gives us an idea of how many people are actually using the new versions and it helps us identify star beta program members so that we can thank them and include them in future special programs. It also allows us to remove people who, for various reasons, choose not to participate in the beta.

This important task is the responsibility of our manager of Beta Program record keeping, Kelly Mack (age 10). In this picture you can see Kelly faithfully doing her job.

P.S. Kelly's been a Notes user for 6 years and has began using eProductivity last year.

Preview of some eProductivity 2.x Beta Features

Jens Bruntt has posted a sneak preview from the upcoming eProductivity 2.x version. This new version builds on the power of Lotus Notes 8.51 and enables a host of new features. eProductivity 2.x is currently in beta and open to current customers. Contact us if you'd like to join and if you meet the qualifications.

Excerpt from Jen's post:

I would like to show a couple of new features from the coming Lotus Notes 8-enabled eProductivity template.

Save and Add Another
There is now a "Save and Add Another" button available when you're creating or editing an Action. See the illustration below:

eP2xSaveandAddAnother.gif

This action button makes it easier to plan a project where you know that there will be a number of actions involved. What you do is you create an action. When the form is filled in, you click the Save and Add Another button. This saves/closes the Action and then brings you to a new Action form that you can then fill in. And this of course can be repeated for as many actions as needed.

Very handy. I definately can use use it. I often know need to add two-three actions in a row.

Continue reading the rest of the preview on Jen's blog

Email Folders vs. Reference Database

I was recently asked by a customer:

I normally use email folders for storing emails that I need to reference later. Should I be using the eProductivity Reference Database instead? What's the advantage?

The Reference Database is a separate - and free! - eProductivity application designed to store non-actionable reference materials.

the Reference Database homepage

While you can also use email folders for storing non-actionable materials, the Reference Database offers a number of advantages.

First, getting items out of your Lotus Notes mail file will speed it up and also help you to avoid mail file size quotas. For performance reasons, you don't want to store large file attachments (pictures, etc) in your mail file unless you have to. The Reference Database gives a great storage ground for these files.

Secondly, the Reference Database offers far more capabilities than email folders. You can categorize and tag your entries more effectively. You can create checklists and daily log files with datestamps. And, you can utilize the Quick Capture/Quick Paste functionality which helps if you find yourself typing the same things over and over again.

I personally use email folders to just store copies of emails that I might need someday in the future, but don't actively intend to come back to. I use the Reference Database to store all the items that I need to access regularly e.g. ideas for future blog posts, travel packing lists, monthly calls lists, etc.

Download the Reference Database

How I set up my external filing databases

20100323-EricsExternalDatabaseDestinations.jpgDepending on which license version you purchased, eProductivity will allow you to define up to three external reference databases and 10 external mail databases. Almost always, at least one of the external mail databases is the user's mail archive.

The ability to file an email into an external database can be used in many ways. In my configuration of eProductivity, I have defined my ten external databases so that I can quickly file something from my inbox into the destination database with a simple drag and drop gesture or by clicking on the File action button as shown here.

So how do I use this?

Continue Reading: "How I set up my external filing databases" »

Customizing your Project and Action Contexts

This week's tip shows shows how to customize your eProductivity project types and action contexts to suit the way you work.

Project Types and Action Contexts are the eProductivity "buckets" into which you classify your work. One such bucket might be "Calls", which lists the phone calls you need to make.This follows the GTD principle of defining your work into the context in which it can actually be done. If you have a phone handy and a "Calls" list to plow through, defining your work this way is very productive.

This is Part 1 in a mini-series, so subscribe to Weekly Tips to ensure you don't miss the other parts.

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To see more tips, take a look at the Weekly Tip Archive.

Productivity of the average iPhone user

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Via the Rational Geekery blog

David Allen, GTD Coach Kelly Forrister, and eProductivity's Eric Mack collaborated on a recent TechGTD podcast.

Topics in the far-ranging podcast included cloud computing, mobile devices, favorite apps, Lotus Notes, and much more. It's well-worth listening to the approximately 48 minutes of run-time.

Note: Listening to this podcast requires a GTD Connect membership. You can sign up for a free trial here.

Click the image below to go to the podcast on GTD Connect (login required).

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Lotus Knows how to Get Things Done

At this year's Lotusphere, IBM Lotus VP of messaging and collaboration, Kevin Cavanaugh presented the Technology Keynote. Kevin talked about the Lotus product strategy, roadmap, and of course, Project Vulcan.

Kevin discussed how Lotus applications bring a flood of information to the user, and he pointed out a key problem that this can cause: information overload.

"... we don't need more calendars... we need a way to consolidate and adjudicate between competing events. ... we don't need more ways to capture text; we need ways to reduce the stress of unfulfilled commitments and organize tasks for action... As an industry, we're kind of guilty of multiplying lists, with no real method for how those lists of tasks might be managed. However, there are some great counter-examples..."

Kevin proceeded to talk about David Allen's Getting Things Done® (GTD®) Methodology and how eProductivity is a solution developed by Lotus Business Partner Eric Mack and David Allen to 'GTD Enable' Lotus Notes. (See the video for more).

On a related note, one theme that came out of Lotusphere was how CIOs feel that they've extracted all the cost cutting value they can from IT budgets. There's not much left to pare down. CIOs are instead focusing on making workers more productive. (Read the conversation transcript at Escape Velocity, a blog by Nathan T. Freeman)

Lotus has introduced many new improvements and enhancements to their products that can help, but at the end of the day, value creation ultimately happens at the individual level. It's at this level - increasing personal productivity - that the next great opportunity exists.

With that in mind, it's exciting to see Lotus exploring ways to increase worker productivity. One way they're doing that is by looking beyond Lotus software to the best practices of GTD and software tools like eProductivity that complement Lotus offerings and help users get things done.

New Feature: Mark tasks "Complete" in Sidebar

Are you using eProductivity Sidebar Widgets in Lotus Notes 8? Then you'll probably enjoy the new "Mark Complete" feature that was included in the latest eProductivity 1.84 version. Version 1.84 was just released this week.

In version 1.84, you can mark projects and actions as "Complete" from the sidebar widget. It's a nifty timesaver. Now you can work from anywhere inside of Lotus Notes and still march through your task list, checking off things as you go.

In fact, you can even make your widgets appear in a New Window outside of Lotus Notes, and then you can use your task list when you're browsing the web or whatnot.

Here's how the new button looks:

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Stripping (or not) Email Attachments

People frequently ask me how eProductivity handles email attachments. When people try to drag-and-drop emails into an eProductivity project/action/calendar entry, the attachment seems to disappear.

While the attachment is still there - it's located inside the linked email if you open the email up - the attachment is more hidden than some might like. You might want the attachment to be immediately available once you open up the project/action/calendar entry.

Well, as with many things in eProductivity, "there's a preference option for that". We like customizable software, and from the feedback we get, so do you.

So to control this email attachment option, go inside the eProductivity preferences and look for the following section:

Preference option that controls stripping the attachement

(Click on picture for larger view)

Oh, and if you're wondering how to get into the eProductivity preferences, click on the big eProductivity button inside the software and locate the "Preferences..." menu item.

[ YouTube Link ]

GTD training opportunitiy in Singapore

Living in or near Singapore? Stephan Wissel posted today about a GTD training opportunity for people near Singapore. A GTD coach from DavidCo is visiting that area and will be potentially available for corporate seminars, consulting, or personal workflow coaching.

See Stephan's post for more details.

Interested to learn why David Allen personally uses eProductivity? Here's some of his reasons why...

eProductivity wins a Teamstudio Award

Teamstudio recently announced the winners of their 2010 Spotlight Awards. This is the 3rd year of the contest, which was "created to raise awareness of how creative, relevant, and effective Lotus Notes application can be."

Each award applicant is judged by a panel of industry experts.

We're very pleased to see eProductivity win 3rd place in the contest, and we have the shiny award plaque to prove it! Recognition for eProductivity's excellence is appreciated.

A big thanks goes to Teamstudio for this organizing this contest. Hat tip as well to the other well-deserving winners, Response Tracker and Notes Reconn.

New Android App: BrainDump to Notes

Jens Bruntt has created a really cool and useful app for Android devices called BrainDump to Notes. The app allows you to quickly capture actionable items on your Android and then sync them with your Lotus Notes To-Dos in a single click.

I've only watched the video, but Jen's app looks very easy to use. The idea is sort of a cross between GyroQ and the eProductivity Mindsweep Coach. Jens himself is a long-time eProductivity user and he says the app works great with eProductivity. Excellent!

The app is available for free from the Android app market.

Maybe it's time to go nag my boss about getting me a 'Droid?...

Make your eProductivity lists more effective

This week's eProductivity Tips newsletter featured a much closer look at the powerful Categorized Views and Advanced Views options inside of eProductivity. These views allow you to create highly effective lists inside of eProductivity, and customize everything according to your desired work style.

Because this was a close look at vital eProductivity features, I thought it was well worthwhile to repost here. Enjoy!

2010-01-27_TipsNewsletterThumb.gif

And go sign up for the Tips newsletter while you're at it!

A Conversation with David Allen - the Essence of GTD

Listen to how David Allen defines the essence of GTD:

[YouTube Link]

David discusses a senior executive client's story of a productivity transformation. By tapping into the power of GTD and eProductivity-enabled Lotus Notes, this transformation has greatly benefited the people under him and ultimately, the organization.

[YouTube Link]

David discusses how designing computers to help you think rather than just present data is one of the new waves in technology.

[YouTube Link]

David talks about his "aha!" moment when he realized the value of a software-driven GTD Weekly Review, and how eProductivity has implemented that vision.

[YouTube Link]

I've got a special treat for you, courtesy of David Allen himself.

Last weekend, Eric Mack sat down with David and talked about eProductivity, Lotus Notes, IBM, cloud computing, and much more. Graciously, David allowed Eric to record portions of their conversation so that we can share it with you.

I'll be posting new clips every few hours. Here are two clips to kick it off.

[YouTube Link]


[YouTube Link]

eProductivity at Lotusphere 2010

eProductivity is going to be featured at Lotusphere 2010 in a few ways.

On Tuesday, eProductivity's president, Eric Mack, will present a best practices session - "IBM Lotus Notes and Me: Maximizing Personal Productivity with Lotus Notes". Ed Brill is going to be there, and so should you.

On Wednsday, Eric will present a Birds Of Feather session called, “Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes”. This will be a more discussion-oriented presentation with lots of time for Q&A.
 
Finally, the whole week we will be exhibiting in the Lotus Foundations Lab. For a special treat, come by and see an eProductivity 2.0 sneak peek! eProductivity 2.0 is our new product - currently in private beta - that is designed specifically for Lotus Notes 8.51.

Santa goes lean this year

Santa is going lean this year. The Notes on Productivity blog has more on this surprising development.

Exclusive REAL photo of Santa

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Have you used the eProductivity tutorial?

If you're new to eProductivity, the eProductivity tutorial is the single best learning tool that we offer.

The eProductivity Tutorial - the single best way to learn eProductivity

(Click image for larger view)

The tutorial lets you play with eProductivity's features, and gives you guidance and tips along the way. There is nothing to install, you just open up the tutorial file and away you go. It's that simple.

If you want to get started quickly with eProductivity, I recommed using the tutorial as your first step.

Get the eProductivity tutorial

Video: Customize your eProductivity Navigator

Learn how to customize your eProductivity Navigator by adding predefined and custom contexts.

VideoCustomizeeProductivityNavigator.png

eProductivity is highly customizable, and it can be setup for the way you work best. Stay tuned, more videos that teach you how to do this are on the way.

Get a refund on eProductivity

Many of our customers are pioneers of sorts. Maybe you're one of them. Let me explain why our free license & full refunds promotion is for you.

MoneyandCalculator296x198.jpg

You, our pioneering customers, tell us about the value that eProductivity brings to your everyday work. Quite often, you've purchased eProductivity with your own money with no reimbursement from your company. You do it because it helps you to perform your job better.

That's a glowing recommendation in my book.

One of my roles here at eProductivity is spreading the word about our software, so I love hearing your stories. It's great to see that eProductivity really works for people.

The exciting thing is that word IS spreading. People are telling their coworkers and friends about the benefits that only eProductivity can provide through GTD-enabling Lotus Notes. More and more companies are looking to adopt us.

You can help to speed things along. We're offering to give your company lots of free licenses. You just need to tell them about it.

And since you, our pioneers and early adopters, have paved the way at your company, we want to refund your original eProductivity purchase. It's our way of saying thanks and putting a little extra cash in your pocket for the holidays.

Your stories and efforts are appreciated!

You can learn more about the opportunity here.

GTD Times: What are your killer GTD apps?

iPhone.gif

On the GTD Times blog, they've asked, "What are your killer GTD apps?" Interesting topic.

As of right now, there are 25 comments that mention a range of apps. What really piques my interest is the frequent mention of iPhones. Where are all of the corporate warriors that are forbidden from using the iPhone? It's entirely possible that people who read blogs generally are people who live in the cloud and hence inclined to use devices like the iPhone.  

On the other hand, maybe the iPhone crowd is becoming more mainstream in the enterprise. That possibility is intriguing. The iPhone is a fantastic device, don't get me wrong, but it seems to me that the security limitations and complete lack of native task management would cripple wide-spread enterprise adoption. Anyone have opinions on how mainstream the iPhone has become in corporate America?

Head on over to GTD Times to see the responses for yourself.

P.S. Besides eProductivity, other general productivity apps seen frequently around the eProductivity offices include ActiveWords, GyroQ, and SnagIt. I don't think I could do my job without SnagIt or a comparable product.

Get more out of eProductivity with Weekly Tips

Need some guidance on using eProductivity more effectively?

I recommend subscribing to the eProductivity Weekly Tips newsletter. This free email newsletter offers easily digestible tips & tricks on using the various eProductivity features. It's a pretty convenient way to learn more about the software.

Go here for an sample newsletter from the past month.

Go here to subscribe.

Learn to use eProductivity more effectively with Weekly Tips

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Upgrading to Notes 8- effect on eProductivity

An eProductivity customer asked:
I am being upgraded by my company from Notes version 7 to Notes version 8.5. How will this affect my eProductivity software?

The main thing you need to know is that eProductivity is not likely not to work immediately following the upgrade. To restore it to working order, you'll need to re-apply the eProductivity template, which is thankfully a fast and painless process.

When your Notes administrators upgrades you to Notes 8.5, they will usually do two things:

1. Upgrade your Lotus Notes software
2. Replace your mail template design with the new Notes 8.5 template.

This second step will break the functionality of eProductivity. Your eProductivity navigator and contexts will not appear after the upgrade and the action buttons in your folders may not work.

The good news is that you won't lose your projects or actions or linking. You just won't see them until you re-apply the eProductivity template to your mail file. The re-application process is quick and easy - it's the same process you went through when you installed eProductivity for the first time.

So, following the upgrade to Notes 8.5, you'll likely need to follow these steps to get back your eProductivity functionality.

Inbox stuffed? 50% off Thanksgiving Special

Does this cheeseball (Butterball?) ad get your attention?

Got turkey on the brain?

(click for larger image)

We sure hope so. After all, eProductivity Premier and Professional licenses are 50% off this week! Gobble this offer up because it ends in a few days and there won't be any leftovers.

So don't wait. Grab your friend's wallet and buy yourself a new productivity tool. The ultimate Lotus Notes productivity tool, in fact. Doesn't an empty inbox sound nice heading into the holiday season?

If you already own eProductivity, buy it for the friend whose wallet you pinched. That's called generosity! They should benefit from eProductivity too.

If they keep their wallet well-protected, at least be kind and tell them about the offer.

Go here to learn more about this offer.

(Bad puns courtesy of myself and another staffer who shall not be named...)

Video: How David Allen Gets Things Done

Taped in David Allen's office, this is an intriguing look at how David sets up his personal GTD system. The video is fairly old - created in January 2009 - so you may have seen it before. I, however, just ran across it for the first time while perusing the web and decided to share it with you all. :)

No mention of eProductivity, which he uses as his GTD software tool of choice, but that's understandable. He didn't focus on software in this particular video.

I like how he consistently advocates using a physical inbox. Letting me know I needed an inbox was the first big way that GTD has personally helped me.

Video: Paul Gardner demonstrates Quick Paste

Paul updated his Reference Tutorial video with this additional clip. It shows how to use the Reference Database's Quick Paste feature. Very handy when you're dealing with repetitious information!

Bruce Lill: "eProductivity in Use - my setup"

Bruce Lill is a Lotus Design Partner and now recently, an eProductivity user. Bruce blogs at www.brucelill.com. He has given us permission to repost some of his thoughts on eProductivity that were initially posted on his blog. Enjoy!

(Remember to click the small images to get a larger view)

eProductivity in Use - my setup:

The mail opens to the Today view shown below. The navigation lets you view all your projects, action, list and reference databases from one place. You can now really live in your mail file. The folders are from the choices you make on the eProductivity preferences. For me the projects are for internal use, clients or Lotus ( the redbook, etc). I spend most time with this navigator open as I can do almost all functionality. I use IBM's Swift file so I can put emails into folders easily. The only thing I miss is to have the "replicate now" button on the navigator. I added it to my old mail template and will probably add it here also. It is on the action bar but you have to scroll to get to it. As I work local all the time, I tend to like to refresh my mail.

BruceLill-eProdNavigator.gif









My mail file's navigation after installing eProductivity.

Here is the Today view with my actions and any meetings listed. Luckily today there aren't any meetings today, so I'm doing this blog entry.

Bruce Lill- Today View

Here is what a project looks like. This one is important, it's to become more productive!

Bruce Lill - Inside the

I have only 3 - project types. Projects is for internal work such as this blog, Projects - Clients is for billable projects and Projects - Lotus is for projects that I do with Lotus such as the Domino R8.5 Deployment wiki.  I'll end up with more projects types as I get a better feel for how to manage my tasks. You can take emails and link, embed into tasks & projects or move then to the reference database.

I've always used database to store information, I have a customer, development, administration, and office dbs. I use the customer db to track projects, proposals, general  information and correspondence. I've added code to my mail template to let me drag selected mails to a modified document library and all the email information would be stored there. This let me centralize the information and when working with others, share it.

Now it's gong to be trying to use the eProductivity Reference database instead of mine. I have moved all the emails with license and registration numbers to the reference database.

I do wish the Action list in the project form could be longer, as you can see from the image of the form, only 3-4 items are visible. you can scroll or go to a view to see more. I'm now adding a action to my project to build a list of "Nice to have" features that I will post here.

One caveat I found was creating an Action and forgetting to link it to a project. When you change folders or open your mail you will be prompted to make it a project. I hit yes and ended up with the task as a project, not what I wanted. You can't demote it, only delete it and re-do it.  I'll know next time. I do wish it let me have a choice to make it a project of link it to a project.

I have found this error was do to having a context call "S/M - Projects", it seems that the Projects in the name was the cause of the problem, Easy fix. The title or subject of the Projects and actions can be formatted to appear categorized in views. I just figured this out this morning as I was updating my projects. You can group projects together  by first selecting the format in your preference then for the Project title do "category - project name".  In the view the project will be group by the category. here is my Lotus Projects (Project - Lotus is a project type):

Bruce Lill- Project list

Do plan for time to setup, get use to it and to adjust it to fit. You can easily change your preferences such as add project type and the left side navigation will be updated with your new choices. Really nice job.

Next post will be on using it for the deployment redbook. Go and give eProductivity a chance to change how you approach your mail.

 

A customer recently asked:

quotation_open_red_medium.gifHow can I create a linked Waiting For action item after sending an email? I'm about to send off an email to a colleague that requires them to respond and I don't want to forget.quotation_close_red_medium.gif

Great question. The answer is, eProductivity has many powerful linking options.

Follow the screen shots below to learn how to create a linked Waiting For action item after sending off an email.

(Click the images for a larger view)

Step 1:

Step 1: Enable Linking Options

Step 2:

Step 2: Create Next Action after sending email

Step 2.5:

Send the email. :)


Step 3:

Step 3: Select Waiting For as the action context

Step 4:

Step 4: Verify that the email is linked to the new Waiting For

There you go! Hope it helps to save you time and eliminates the unproductive extra clicks required to manually link the email to a new Waiting For.

Sidebar: As I've been mentioning, we're creating more training resources for our customers, including our free public webinars that are now available. If you have webinar topics that you want covered, or if you have a time slot (e.g. Tuesdays at 1:00pm) that you would really like to see webinars held at, please let us know. We value your feedback and suggestions.

During last week's eProductivity Basics webinar, a common question was, "Can you create more videos/guides for setting up and using eProductivity?"

While we do have a number of resources available, creating more is a big priority for us, and we're working on it. In the meantime, we have some unofficial resources to draw your attention to.

Recently, Paul Gardner showed how he setup the eProductivity sidebar widgets in Notes 8. And today, Eric Mack shares another setup tip with you.

Eric demonstrates how he sets up the link between his eProductivity Reference Database and his eProductivity Mail. When the link is setup, you can do neat things like drag-and-drop reference items from your email directly into the Reference Database for organized storage. Very handy.


Launch Video

Video: Paul Gardner sets up the Sidebar Widgets

(Tip: watch the video in full-screen mode for the best viewing experience...)

Learn more about setting up eProductivity sidebar widgets by viewing Paul Gardner's excellent tutorial video above. Paul is an eProductivity customer and a prolific blogger. This video shows how Paul setup the widgets for himself. Remember that these widgets require Lotus Notes 8 to run.

And, if you want to know more about pastors and ministry workers using GTD, Paul writes a great blog on that subject.

Using eProductivity and switching to Notes 8?

A customer asked:
My company is switching over our Notes version from 6.5 to 8.5. Should I do anything special with my current eProductivity install to help prevent any problems with the switch?

eProductivity works great with Notes 6.x, 7.x and 8.x. With Notes 8.x or higher, you'll be able to take advantage of the new sidebar widgets that are coming soon to eProductivity. This will keep your Today view or Actions by Contact view on the side of your screen - even when eProductivity is closed.

You do need to know one thing about the the upgrade to Notes 8x.

When your Notes administrators upgrade you to Notes 8.5x, they will (likely) do two things:

1. Upgrade your Lotus Notes software
2. Replace your mail template design with the new Notes 8.5x template.

When step #2 occurs, your eProductivity software will immediately break. While your data will be completely intact, all eProductivity functionality will be missing until you reapply the eProductivity template to your mail file. When you reapply, all of your projects/actions/linking/etc will show up again.

The good news is that the process to reapply eProductivity is quick and painless. Just follow this simple set of instructions.

Eating my own dogfood- Yum!

I just ate my own dogfood, and I'm feeling really good about it.

I missed my Weekly Review last week and things started getting chaotic in a hurry. Like most of you, my workday is a constant barrage of email. Falling behind means a long, intimidating climb back to a zero inbox.

Tonight, I decided to make the climb:  

20090915 RyanWeeklyReview.png

Ah yes. Inbox empty. Email nirvana. Control.

Finally...

Rock your Work with Lotus Software

Lotus is holding a follow-up Video Blitz to the recent Lotus Knows Ideajam. The blitz showcases some creative ways people are using Lotus software.

Unfortunately, the deadline was 9pm tonight and we missed it. Just too many things going on here at eProductivity to produce a video in time.

Here's a glimpse at what the video might have been. Our work is a little raw and unfinished, but you'll get the idea.

Here you go - the video that Lotus doesn't know about:

[ YouTube Link ]

 

Got complex projects? Need some control?

eProductivity Categorized Views

Continuing on my recent theme of taking you deeper inside of eProductivity's features, I'd like to give a brief mention to Categorized Views.

Categorized Views allow you to visually create a project / subproject hierarchy inside of eProductivity.

Continue Reading: "Got complex projects? Need some control?" »

How to use the ’Today’ view

TodayViewThumb.jpgThe eProductivity Today view. Your dashboard for getting a handle on your day's priorities. But how does the Today view actually work?

I think we get this question frequently for two reasons. One, because people want to use the Today view to track all their due dates so that nothing urgent slips through the cracks. Two, because the process by which items appear on the Today view can seem a little magical at first.

Continue Reading: "How to use the 'Today' view " »

David Allen’s new "GTD System"

The David Allen Company just launched a new GTD System product. You should take a look because the value included is phenomenal.

The GTD System includes 6 CDs of expert coaching, the GTD book, 30 days of a GTD Connect subscription, a sizable seminar discount, and more. See more details on the GTD Times blog.

This is a fabulous starter package for GTD newbies. You get everything you need to get up and running in a hurry.

GTD pros will also benefit. The CD series includes 5 CDs of new material  and one CD on the Weekly Review back by popular demand. Can't go wrong with some great new material and a classic.

As you probably know, eProductivity is built on the GTD methodology. Learning or improving with GTD is a smart move for getting the most out of eProductivity. The more you understand GTD, the more ways you'll discover eProductivity helping you to leave work with an empty inbox and a clear sense of what you accomplished during your day.  

Mobile Productivity: eProductivity on the Go

ManHoldingTreo.jpgHow to be more productive in our highly mobile world is clearly on your mind, based on the large volume of questions we get on the topic.  So let me give you a brief rundown on what options you have for using eProductivity on the Go.

The first thing you need to know is that eProductivity does not currently provide any on-device software to manage projects and actions. This is left to the built-in software on your device or any third-party solutions you install.

The ability to manage projects and actions on a mobile device is a function of (a) the device and its capabilities, (b) what you're syncing it to (e.g. Outlook or Notes) and, (c) what software you're using to handle the sync. Getting the best experience requires all three components to work well together. That said, having robust, elegant on-device software will really help your mobile productivity to shine.

As you would expect, some devices do a better job with native task-management software than others. For on-device management of projects and actions, we still favor (as does David Allen) the Palm Treo due to its simple interface. Some devices, like the Windows Mobile or Blackberry devices add too many steps to get to your tasks, creating unconscious resistance. While the BlackBerry is an elegant platform and syncs beautifully, it also adds a level of complexity with filters.

Continue Reading: "Mobile Productivity: eProductivity on the Go" »

eProductivity gets a mention in CNN Money

Fortune Small Business section of CNN Money Magazine published an article today on David Allen, entitled Getting Things Done guru goes digital. The writer, Chris Taylor, briefly touches on David's productivity toolkit of Lotus Notes + eProductivity + smartphone:
Allen currently uses a customized version of IBM's Lotus Notes for PC, which he calls his e-productivity suite. It syncs automatically with his phone, so he can add notes on the go. Allen isn't planning to commercialize e-productivity anytime soon, though. And he's wary of most to-do-list software on the market.
Chris gets it  mostly right. What he refers to as Mr. Allen's "e-productivity suite", you know as eProductivity. He's right that it's highly customized - to make you especially productive- but it's certainly also commercialized for public sale.

Finally, he's correct that "David is wary of most to-do-list software." That's understandable because most to-do-list software applications just don't "get" the fundamental principles of task management at the personal level. That's why out of the hundreds of to-do-list apps, there are only two that have been vetted and certified as "GTD-Enabled." We're pleased to be one of them.

And we're definitely pleased to be mentioned in CNN Money.

P.S. Hey Chris, if you happen to read this, we'll even let you take eProductivity for a spin through a special program we've set up. Contact me directly and I'll give you a free activation key.

GTD Productivity Software Winners Announced!

DrawingFishBowl.jpg We recently held two free drawings for GTD Productivity software valued at over $2,000!

We invited everyone to download and explore eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes. Everyone that did, got their name entered in the drawing. For those people that took the time to send us their feedback, we entered their name a second time. No purchase was required.

We met many interesting people as a result and it was a great way for people to experience the productive benefits of eProductivity and have fun, too.

Six names were selected in each of two separate drawings held on June 2, and June 15, 2009.

Here are the names of the winners:


Continue Reading: "GTD Productivity Software Winners Announced!" » DrawingFishBowl.jpg

We're giving away licenses and subscriptions to some of our favorite GTD productivity software.

Inspired by this week's GTD with Lotus Notes podcast with GTD Coach, Kelly Forrister, we've decided to take a short break from showing people how to get more done and held a drawing to equip them with a way to get more done.

Here are some of  the software applications we're giving away: Why are we doing this? Because we know that you like cool productivity tools as much as we do. And because when people try out eProductivity, they quickly understand the benefits.

In just over a week, we will hold a drawing for free GTD & productivity software. The drawing will be Monday, June 15, 2009. That's only 10 days away, so hurry and enter.

Help us spread the word. Do you blog or Tweet? Do you think this offer would be of interest to your friends? You know what to do. (Thanks!)

We wish you the best of luck in the drawing!

Podcast: GTD with IBM Lotus Notes

In her recent GTD Times blog entry: The Perfect List Manager, GTD Coach Kelly Forrister shared that one of the most common questions she gets asked is, “Which tool should I use for my GTD lists?” 

Kelly explains that while the GTD methodology is platform agnostic; there are a variety of tools that people can choose from to help them manage their workflow.  Some people prefer to use stand-alone GTD tools while others choose to use products like the NetCentrics GTD Add-in for Outlook or eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes that integrate with their current email and collaboration systems. Some tools are certainly more conducive to GTD than others, but among the ones that work well, it always comes down to functionality and personal preference.

The David Allen Company has been using Lotus Notes as their collaboration platform since 1993 and David Allen and many of the GTD coaches and staff also use eProductivity as their GTD implementation tool of choice.

Kelly recently invited me to talk with her about what makes eProductivity so functional for people that use Lotus Notes. You've heard me share that David Allen says that "eProductivity is the ultimate GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes." In today's podcast, you'll learn a few of the reasons why.

Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes

I originally thought we would talk specifically about software features but the podcast ended up covering much more. I got to share some of the design philosophy and underlying features and principles that make eProductivity David Allen's recommended GTD solution for people that use Lotus Notes. Even if you are not a Lotus Notes user, you're sure to find value as we discuss the key features that make for an excellent GTD tool.

Podcast Description: GTD Coach Kelly Forrister and eProductivity Specialist Eric Mack discuss what makes an excellent GTD Implementation tool. Kelly describes the features of eProductivity that she and David Allen find most useful.

Session Notes:

00 Introduction: Which GTD tool does David Allen use?
06 Lotus Notes: Nothing comes close for collaboration
09 Anyone can buy and use Lotus Notes
11 Eric explains the extraordinary features of Lotus Notes
17 The special sauce of eProductivity: extensive linking
18 The importance of simple reinforcements, e.g happy face/sad face
22 Is it better to learn GTD first or learn the software and then GTD?
27 E-mails linked to projects & actions remain fully usable as e-mails
28 Intelligent breadcrumbs available everywhere
29 Cut & paste is not productive; Eric hasn't used cut & paste in 2 yrs!
30 David Allen uses ActiveWords to control Lotus Notes/eProductivity
32 What about linking projects and actions on a mobile device?
34 Getting started with eProductivity - simply download, open, and go...
35 The Weekly Review Coach - helps you keep your system current
38 eProductivity is a complete GTD implementation tool

podcast.gifListen Now

Special Offer:
Listen carefully: there’s a free trial and on the podcast and an offer of $100 off to the first 50 people that respond by June 15. (Listen for details in the podcast.)

Related Links:

Update: I've decided to set up a free drawing for eProductivity, ActiveWords, and GyroQ - the three tools that I use to improve my productivity with Lotus Notes. See here for details.

Winners of the free GTD software drawing!

DrawingFishBowl.jpg
Winner: Richard Smith
eProductivity Professional License

Winner: Cameron Weibe
ActiveWords Software

Winner: John Smart
GyroQ Software

Winner: Eric March
9-Month eProductivity Subscription

Winner: Don Martindale
6-Month eProductivity Subscription

Winner: Stephen vanderMerwe
3-Month eProductivity Subscription

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Please contact eProductivity within 7 business days to claim your prize.


We will have one more drawing on Monday, June 15, 2009

Evaluate eProductivity & enter the drawing for your chance to win:
Terms & conditions of the free eProductivity software evaluation drawing may be found here. ManDrowingInBox115.jpgIn the fast pace of today's business world, we are pressed to do more with less, to track more things and, well, get things done. Unfortunately, it's easy to get overwhelmed, miss something, and have things fall through the cracks. When that happens, you lose control and perspective and this can have a draining impact on your personal productivity, causing unpleasant ripples in your personal and professional life.

The solution is to hold the world back once a week so that you can do a thorough review of everything that you have (or should have) attention on. David Allen calls this, the Weekly Review. By completing a thorough review, you will feel a greater sense of control and perspective throughout the week and when you do it consistently it will transform the way you get things done.

The Weekly Review Process. It is the critical success factor for people that want to get things done.

This Thursday, May 28th, GTD Coach and fellow eProductivity user Kelly Forrister is leading the first Worldwide GTD Weekly Review. Kelly will be using Twitter to coach a global audience through the Weekly Review process.

Continue Reading: "Worldwide GTD Weekly Review this coming week" »

Free drawing for GTD Productivity Software

DrawingFishBowl.jpg
We know that the best way to learn about eProductivity is to experience it yourself. That's why we've decided to conduct free drawings from time to time to encourage people to evaluate eProductivity for themselves. The process is easy and quick and there's nothing to install.

Evaluate eProductivity & enter the drawing for your chance to win:

Is your name on the list of recent winners?

We will have one more drawing on
Monday, June 15, 2009.
(See below for details.)

No purchase is required. To enter the drawing, all you have to do is download and evaluate eProductivity.

Participation in the drawings is free; however, in order to increase the chance of winning for those people that really want to get things done with Lotus Notes, we ask that you take 10 minutes to download and view the eProductivity evaluation database. (There's nothing to install. Simply download, open, and view. When you are done, delete the sample database.) In return, we will automatically add your name to the list of names for the drawing.  

BONUS: If you choose to complete the optional feedback form, we will enter your name in the drawing for a SECOND chance!

After completing your evaluation of eProductivity you will have the option to complete an optional feedback form. In return for sharing your experience with us, we will enter your name in the drawing again for a second chance to win.


HOW TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR FREE SOFTWARE:

1. Visit the 'Getting Started' page and follow steps 1-4 (Skip step #5)

2. Download the eProductivity evaluation database (Step #4) and process the sample email messages. This will automatically enter you in the free drawing.

3. Optional step: when you have finished evaluating eProductivity, complete the optional evaluation. Upon receipt of the fully completed form, we will enter your name in the drawing for a second chance to win.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Why are you giving away licenses and subscriptions for free?

We really want you to explore all of the features that eProductivity has to offer. We know that your time is valuable and we want to make it worth your while to explore these features and share your feedback with us. If you choose to explore and follow all of the steps in the evaluation database and send us your feedback (as documented in the sample emails), we will enter your name in the drawing for a second chance to win.

Do I need to purchase anything to enter the drawing?

No. But you do need to download and review the evaluation database which will automatically enter you in the drawing.

How do I find out if I have won?

Following each drawing, we will announce the names of the winners on the eProductivity web site. We will also include them in the subsequent eProductivity Newsletter, so be sure to subscribe! You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for this site.

Do I need to install anything on my computer?

No. There's nothing to install. Simply download, open, and explore. When you are done reviewing the evaluation database, you may delete it. There's nothing to uninstall.

I don't have time to evaluate; can I just contact you by email?

Sorry, no. The only way to enter the drawing is to open the evaluation database and process the sample email messages. This will send us an automated email that will automatically enter your name in the drawing.



FREE SOFTWARE EVALUATION & DRAWING
TERMS & CONDITIONS:
1. No purchase required, however, to enter free drawing entrants must evaluate the eProductivity software by downloading the evaluation database to their computer, opening the database, and processing the sample emails to learn about the software.
2. Only one prize per winner.
3. Names of winners will be published on the eProductivity Web Site and in the eProductivity e-mail Newsletter. We will also send a single email notice to the winner.
4. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to check either the eProductivity newsletter or web site to determine if they have won.
5. In the event that prizes remain unclaimed after 7 business days from posting on the web site, an alternate winner will be selected.
6. Once a winner has been awarded a prize he will be ineligible to win any other prizes.
7. This offer is null and void in countries where free drawings of this kind are prohibited.
8. In the event that winner's country requires taxes to be paid for prizes received these will be the sole responsibility of the winner.
9. In the event of question or dispute, resolution will be at the sole discretion of ICA.COM, Inc. and will be final.
10. ICA.COM, Inc. reserves the right to modify or withdraw this drawing at any time and without notice.
11. Prizes are non-transferrable and have no cash value.

Managing GTD systems on two machines

Over on the GTD Times blog, Patrick asks how to manage GTD system across multiple machines. Peter Simoons says that eProductivity is the answer.

That's not quite true.

While Peter is a big fan of eProductivity and I appreciate the unsolicited promotion, the real credit goes to Lotus Notes and its ability to replicate information across Windows/Mac/Linux computers seamlessly.

I've just posted a comment that explains how David Allen uses Lotus Notes to create a single trusted system across all of his computers and mobile devices.

Read: Managing GTD systems on two machines and  David's Lotusphere greeting

Update: Apparently my comments on GTD Times have not been approved yet, so here's what I posted:
Patrick,

As David Allen’s technologist for 15 years, I can share that David uses Lotus Notes, from IBM, to solve this challenge and it works very well. with Lotus Notes, he can maintain his projects and actions in a single trusted system that replicates across ALL of his computers, including his Mac, PC, and mobile devices (e.g. Treo).

If David wants to work on his PC, he can pick up his ThinkPad and everything will be there. If he wants to play with his shiny new Mac Air, he can pick that up and all of his information will be there. And, if he’s on the run, he takes his Treo with him and his stuff is there.

In short, he simply picks up whichever tool he prefers and gets things done.

Lotus Notes makes it seamless.

In addition to Lotus Notes, David also uses and recommends eProductivity (http://www.eProductivity.com), an optional tool that makes GTD in Lotus Notes easy. You can start with basic Lotus Notes and follow the GTD Implementation guide to create a very nice system.

Eric Mack
eProductivity Specialist
http://www.eProductivity.com

Sander Zwart is blogging about his experience implementing GTD in Lotus Notes.

It's exciting to read emails and blogs from people around the world that are finding ways to increase their personal productivity and effectiveness using IBM Lotus Notes.

In case you don't read Dutch, here's the English translation.

Job Board: Jobs for GTDers? GTDer for Hire?

The GTD Summit had a high-tech job board for Summit attendees. And what a smashing deal for potential employers! Hiring people who are committed to productivity is a great idea, especially in a down economy.

GTD Job board at the 2009 GTD Summit

As a side-note, I’m guessing all the GTD pen-and-paper purists were probably thrilled to see this. I notice that no corners were torn off for some ad-hoc capture tool purposes. Those purists must have remembered to bring their GTD Notetaker Wallets with them to the Summit.

PS. If you are a productivity oriented individual with a strong commitment to GTD and Lotus Notes, keep eProductivity in mind. It's a growing company.  

The Typist: GTD and Tech

Typewriter.jpg
If you are a pro at the typewriter, you are a Stone Age relic. A silent film company competing for a Super Bowl ad slot.

Right? Well, let’s not be hasty.

The point is, be careful before adopting new technology into your main workflow systems. A computer word processer (generally) beats the typewriter by five lengths in the Productivity Derby, but not always in the short term sprint.

The typewriter vs. word processor is just an example. Being a pro at an old technology can be more productive than being a novice at a new technology. Unless you have the time and interest to waste spend time tinkering with new gadgets, revamping your system can be a black hole of time. And remember, not all new tech is progressive. Faster does not always mean better.

I thought it very telling that the majority of speakers and panelists at the Summit used paper and pen as their main capture tools. At least that was my perception.

Before adopting new tech, make sure the switching costs make sense.
This is all common advice but applicable because the peer pressure to be on the cutting edge can be intense.

We’re Getting Dumber: GTD and Tech

GTD Summit guest Post by Ryan Heathers

AirplaneNoseDive.jpg
I sure hope not. I do recall my junior-high math teacher making an encouraging conjecture. She speculated that people are much less intelligent today than, oh, 5,000 years ago. The reason: genetic decline. You might say the gene pool just ain’t what it used to be.

But perhaps another threat to intelligent thought is lurking…

Twitter.

At the Summit, Ismael Ghalimi declared that, “Twitter is pure evil”. I heard a similar sentiment echoed by many of the speakers.

Two reasons I can see for making such a strong statement about Twitter: it can be an endless stream of distraction and it can promote quick, thoughtless blurbs.

Continue Reading: "We're Getting Dumber: GTD and Tech" »

GTD Summit: eProductivity in the Limelight

The picture tells most of the story.

GTD Summit Exhibitor Recognition: eProductivity - the Ultimate personal Productivity Tool for IBM Lotus Notes

Getting to see the eProductivity up on the big screens at the GTD Summit was quite a thrill. I wasn’t close enough to see Eric’s face but I’m sure he was grinning when the eProductivity logo displayed the first time. After all, eProductivity has been in the works a long time.

It’s been a journey. Too bad Ian, our principal software architect, couldn’t have seen it in person, but I’m sure he’s reading this blog carefully!
Having David Allen, a long-time eProductivity user, and other GTD faithful riff on the merits of eProductivity and Lotus Notes during the conference was quite encouraging to boot.

I wonder how many people caught this: when David flashed screen shots of his personal task lists - those were from eProductivity!

Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

Seeding Your Mind: GTD and Innovation

BoySowingSeeds.jpg

When I think of GTD -- perhaps because I’m fairly new to the methodology—inspiring creative innovation is not the first benefit I think of. After all, productivity helps to get the nitty-gritty details done, accomplished, put away. It clears space in your mind for higher-level thoughts to occur. But actually inspire innovation? That seems like a logical leap.

Not so.

GTD teaches you to capture thoughts whenever, wherever they occur.  Black belt GTDers have a capture tool with them at all times.

 
Once you’ve become a pro at capturing your thoughts and putting them into a trusted system, the benefit to innovation becomes obvious.

Stepping back for moment, creativity is defined as coming up with a great idea. Innovation is defined as putting that creative idea into action. Of course, the two concepts are very tightly linked. Bottom line, though, is that in order to be innovative, you need to be creative first.

That’s where GTD helps by teaching you to always capture your thoughts.

It’s far easier to innovate when you’ve come up with half a dozen creative ideas for that looming project over the course of the last week. Or year. When you sit down at your computer, and the deadline is ticking to think up something excellent, you have a huge head start. So much of your thinking can be done already and you can comfortably slip into execution mode. You don’t have to wait for the innovation lighting to strike you.  

A panelist at the session called this, “seeding your mind”.

So can creative innovation be scheduled?

Yes, if you’re using GTD capture principles to seed your mind for success.  

Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

GTD Summit - What were your bad habits?



I'm still processing my thoughts from the GTD Summit. What an amazing event! In fact, it was probably the most inspiring (not to mention productive) conference I have attended. To be in one place with 400 people, including movers, shakers, thought leaders and GTDr's was definitely a high.

I'm not sure the audience caught it but when David Allen showed screen shots of his personal system. he was showing Lotus Notes and eProductivity. I know that Several people downloaded and installed Lotus Notes and eProductivity for the first time as a result. How cool.

The above video was created by David Spark

Podcast: GTD, Notes & eProductivity

This evening, Chris Blatnick  (Interface Matters) and I were invited by Bruce Elgort and Julian Robichaux to talk about eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes.

I talked about GTD, eProductivity, and Lotus Notes from a designer perspective and Chris talked about how he uses these to get things done.

Session notes, courtesy of the Taking Notes Podcast:
The show runs 49 Minutes and is 45.7 MB (128kbps)

Taking Notes Podcast #96

Special thanks to Bruce and Julian for inviting us on the show and thanks to show sponsor, Elguji Software for making it happen.

Two great testimonials

Several times a week, I receive testimonials from people that write to share their experience using eProductivity. Today, I received two fun ones.

The first needs no explanation:
Just to let you know.  I worked on setting this [eProductivity] up till about 2 am last night.  I had an empty in box when I went to bed last night for the first time in I don't know how long.  This morning I started dealing with email at 9 and now again have an empty mail box.  What a feeling.  I still have to finish setting up all my projects/commitments and I don't feel confident yet that I am using the software as effectively as I could, but I am very excited.  I really think this may be the tool that keeps everything together for me and allows me to "clear my brain" as David Allen would say.

I can see even at this early stage that this is a program I think I should invest in. I think I will look at GyroQ as well.
This is a pretty common theme from first-time users but I enjoyed reading every one.

The second is from a customer that had uninstalled eProductivity in order to experience and evaluate vanilla Notes 8.02. That experience wasn't as productive for him as he had hoped, so he switched back.* This morning, he wrote:
I'm very happy to be back on eProductivity -- EOM
I love it. eProductivity is about Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes. Time and again, we are learning from our customers that David Allen's GTD methodology and the eProductivity software are having a huge impact on the way people get things done. It's also changing the way people think about Lotus Notes.

I think that's cool.


* eProductivity works well on Notes 6.5x, 7.x, and 8.x, 8.5x on Win/mac/Linux. We have many customers happily using eProductivity with Notes 8.02 and 8.5. This particular customer was extremely productive and proficient with Notes 7 and eProductivity. His move to Notes 8, from a productivity perspective, simply wasn't. Your experience may be different.  If you have an eProductivity experience to share  would love to hear from you. (If you are not using eProductivity yet, get started.)

My Lotus Notes is now GTD Enabled

I was delighted to receive an email from The David Allen Company that included this GTD Enabled logo for our software and web site:

GTD-Enabled-logo_149x139.png

eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes is currently the only software product to be designated 'GTD® Enabled' by David Allen.

This is very exciting for me, as "Public version eProductivity shipped" has been on my project list for many years. Now that I can mark that one 'done' my next project is to get the word out.

ICA Announces eProductivity with GTD Inside

View press release in a separate window


ICA Announces eProductivity™, a Personal Productivity
Application for IBM Lotus Notes, based on David Allen’s
“Getting Things Done” (“GTD”) Methodology


Based on David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) methodology and seamlessly integrated with Lotus Notes, eProductivity provides control and perspective across an individual’s communications, projects, and actions, helping IBM Lotus Notes users reclaim 30 minutes of lost productivity each day and making getting things done with Lotus Notes productive, personal, and easy.

LOTUSPHERE, ORLANDO, FL, January 15, 2009
– ICA.COM, Inc, (ICA) today announced the immediate availability of eProductivity version 1.73, a software application that supports David Allen’s best selling Getting Things Done (GTD) personal productivity methodology, which is currently being used by many of the world’s most progressive organizations.

With eProductivity, users reclaim up to 30 minutes each day by reducing the time it takes to capture ideas and commitments, process e-mail and manage information in Lotus Notes. Tasks that took minutes to accomplish now take seconds.

GTD and Lotus Notes Together

“ICA really made the commitment and took the time to understand the Getting Things Done methodology before they started developing the application. This understanding is both critical to a good GTD implementation and a prerequisite to my really spending any time with any one GTD application. It speaks volumes to the integrity and value of eProductivity that it is the only application I use to manage all of my projects and actions. It's indispensable to the way I get things done. Many of my staff have the same strong feelings about it,” stated David Allen, Chairman of the David Allen Company and creator of the GTD methodology. “eProductivity is the ultimate GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes.”

Long-time eProductivity user, David Walczak, CIO, Bayhealth Medical Center, said this: “ICA has created a very valuable solution which has had a very positive impact on my productivity in the following ways:

1. With rare exception, I now go home with zero email in my in-box. I've always been good with taking care of them but zero was an illusive goal.

2. The ‘Today’ view is very powerful. I am able to plow through the meetings and next actions that are in this view. It’s a great feeling to click the 'mark complete' button and watch completed items disappear.

3. I actually now have a feeling of "mind like water" in that I have captured all my stuff and know what all my commitments are at any given point in time.

4. My sense is that eProductivity helps me easily reclaim 15 to 20 minutes per day in processing email and determining next actions.

5. The Weekly Review Coach works very well and keeps me on top of all the stuff I have to do.

The most significant way in which eProductivity has helped me is in keeping track of my commitments to my customers.”

ICA Company president, Eric Mack, says, "We have worked closely with the David Allen Company (DAC) over the past several years to really understand what it would take to fill a market need among Lotus Notes users who embrace the GTD methodology. With over five years of development, testing, and use with clients around the world, eProductivity builds upon the native robustness of the Lotus Notes platform and provides GTD users with an easy to use and manage environment. The current version of eProductivity supports the elements of GTD that have made it such a huge hit in the corporate workspace.”

Scott Peterson, President, Harbor Group | CFO, Interstates Companies, said: "eProductivity allows me to focus on the items that are a priority while not worrying about forgetting items I need to complete later. With almost 100 people using eProductivity on a daily basis over the past 4 ½ years, it has had a strong impact on our company. eProductivity allows me to manage expectations of my clients, ensure I follow-up in a timely manner, and deliver the results I promise. I could not have developed the same level of trust with my clients without it."

ICA will demonstrate eProductivity at the Lotusphere 2009 Product Showcase Pedestal #722.  David Allen will be present on Monday evening to answer questions about how he uses Lotus Notes and eProductivity to get things done.

About ICA.COM, Inc.

ICA (www.ica.com) is a professional consulting organization, based in California, USA. Founded in 1982 by Productivity Specialist and Personal Knowledge Management Expert, Eric Mack. The company provides consulting services and software to help its clients improve their productivity, collaboration and knowledge management capability. ICA is the creator of eProductivity, a GTD implementation solution for Lotus Notes that is both used and recommended by David Allen.

For additional information or to download a free 30-day evaluation, please visit www.eProductivity.com.


###


IBM, Lotus, Notes, Lotusphere, are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.  "GTD®" and "Getting Things Done®" are Trademarks or registered trademarks of The David Allen Company. (www.davidco.com). eProductivity is a trademark of ICA.COM, Inc. (www.ica.com)

Podcast: Michael Sampson and David Allen

Industry analyst, Michael Sampson, recently interviewed David Allen about his use of  Lotus Notes, and today has published the almost one-hour long  discussion. During the podcast, Michael and David talk about: how David uses Lotus Notes in his company, what he thinks of Notes and the tools he uses, and David's upcoming presentation at Lotusphere.

At the end of the podcast, Michael puts his IT analyst hat on and shares his thoughts about why he thinks Lotus Notes works so well for David Allen and his company.

Here's an opportunity to listen to two very smart (and productive) people talk about Lotus Notes!

Michael Sampson: Interview with David Allen on Lotus Notes

Best time for a week-long GTD review...

GTD Door HangerDavid Allen teaches that one of the most important parts of his Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology is the weekly review. It's an opportunity to pick up, cleanup, and regain control and perspective across the horizons of our commitments. For those of us that resort to post-its (I won't mention any names, Alan) it's an opportunity to get those into a trusted system, too.

At the end of each year, I like to review my systems to see what I can clean up and what I can improve upon for the coming year. I start with an extended weekly review, which often turns into a week-long review.  If you are unfamiliar with the weekly review process, here are the steps that I follow, inspired by David Allen's helpful GTD Weekly Review Audio Series:

Steps to a successful GTD Weekly Review.


Get Clear
  • Collect Loose Papers
  • Process Papers
  • Empty Capture Tools
  • Process E-Mail
  • Empty Head
Get Current
  • Review Action Lists
  • Review Previous Calendar
  • Review Upcoming Calendar
  • Review Tickler Files
  • Review Waiting-For List
  • Review Projects
  • Review Goals and Objectives
  • Review Areas of Focus
  • Review Relevant Checklists
  • Review Reference & Support Material
Get Creative!
  • Review Someday/Maybe List
Sadly, for some of us, (myself included at times), the weekly review has turned a weakly review. Even though I have built a Weekly Review Coach into my Lotus Notes software for getting things done, it doesn't do the review for me - it's still up to me to do that.

The Weekly Review Coach - This is how I stay current and get things done in Lotus Notes

Santa Gets Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes

A few months ago, we received a call from the lead elf and part-time IT Director at the North Pole. Apparently Santa needed an effective way to track his projects and actions.

12-24-08_SantasEMailIcon.jpgTo my delight, I learned that Santa and the elves use Lotus Notes as their collaboration platform! Naturally, I recommended that Santa try eProductivity, which he did.  

This morning, I received a Skype call from the big man himself. He called to thank me for my help getting him set up. I asked him if I could have a few screen shots for my blog so that I could show you how he uses Notes and eProductivity to get things done. I guess Santa was in a jolly mood, because 10 minutes later, I received these three screen shots:

Santa's In-Box

Santa's eProductivity In-box

Santa's Projects & Actions List

Santa's Projects and Actions list

Santa's Daily Dashboard

Santa's eProductivity Dashboard

Top Ten Signs You’re a GTD Disciple

I routinely scan many of the GTD forums to get a pulse on the interests and applications of people who apply the GTD methodology to their projects and actions. It's not uncommon, at the end of the year, for various top ten lists to emerge. Here's one that made me laugh...

Top Ten Signs You're a GTD Disciple

10. While driving home from work, you have to pull over three times to jot it down and empty your mind.

9. You put your weekly review on a Someday/Maybe list. … NOT!

8. You go to McDonalds for lunch but – before ordering – you draw a mind map of what an ideal fast food meal would look and taste like.

7. You use a Brother P-Touch to label your kitchen drawers.

I think you get the point ...

Oh, there's this gem:

3. You know that the "two-minute rule" has nothing to do with the conclusion of football games.

You can find more signs and interesting discussion in the Yahoo Groups Getting Things Done Forum

We are now ’GTD® Enabled’ designation

GTD-Enabled-logo_223x173.png

Today, eProductivity received the GTD® Enabled designation as an outstanding GTD Implementation tool for IBM Lotus Notes. eProductivity is currently the only software product to receive this distinction from David Allen.


Learn more.



Personal productivity bloggers wanted

I have a very special opportunity that involves my client, The David Allen Company. In short, I have been asked to nominate a few people to participate in a special program. There's no cost and the benefits are huge. You'll be asked to share and blog about your experience. I can nominate 3 people. If you are an established Notes blogger with a serious interest in personal productivity, I'd like to hear from you and see some of your personal productivity blog posts that you have written. You know where to find me.

Eric David Allen's up in San Francisco at the Office 2.0 conference today. This morning, David delivered the opening keynote with Office 2.0 conference organizer Ismael Ghalimi.

20080905_Office2.0DavidAllenOnNotes.gif

I understand that Ismael asks David, "Why Lotus Notes?"  David shares his thoughts on Getting Things Done with Lotus and eProductivity. Cool!

I've not yet had an opportunity to watch the video but I see that Ed Brill's already blogged about it.

Update: Watch the Office 2.0 Opening Keynote with David Allen  Nice plug for Lotus Notes & GTD at 00:17:15 minutes

Interface Matters: On Total (e)Productivity

An expert on user interface design, Chris Blatnick, recently reviewed eProductivity and shares his thoughts on his experience from a design and usability perspective:
eProductivity is THE GTD solution for Lotus Notes.  It has a very simple and intuitive user interface, one that stays out of the way until you need it.  Since the GTD features are so finely integrated into the context of the work you do everyday, you immediately become more productive when using it.  eProductivity avoids flashy functionality and complicated routines and instead quietly empowers you to perform your daily tasks faster and more efficiently.  This is the hallmark of good software design, something the eProductivity team obviously knows a lot about.  For those that want to greatly improve their performance, I can highly recommend eProductivity for Lotus Notes.

Full post: Interface Matters:  On Total (e)Productivity In Lotus Notes

Define clear outcomes for project success

Question: When you identify important projects, do you clearly define the successful outcome?
Do you clearly describe, either in the project title or description what success, even "wild success" will look like?  If you are not doing this, you are missing out on perhaps the most powerful productivity tool available to help you accomplish your goals and dreams: your brain.  In fact, if you don't regularly do this, you're leaving your brain in park, when it could be driving you to accomplish wild success.

Visualizing the Successful Outcome

Many years ago, David Allen shared with me that one of the first things he did when planning his first book, the best-selling, Getting Things Done, was to write the Wall Street Journal review of his book, first. He wrote the book review as he would like it to appear in print, even before writing the first chapters of his book. For many years, I've written my projects in the past tense -- as if they were "done" and I found that helped me to "see" done as the objective. I thought that David's example of writing a formal review of his book project was very clever and a powerful visualization tool, so I made note of it.

My Personal Application

When I set out to develop my eProductivity software, I followed David's recommendation and decided to write my own review. I decided to summarize the product in two sentences, each from the perspective of a different audience. eProductivity is built on Lotus Notes, so I decided that the Notes community would provide one perspective. Since eProductivity embodies many of the principles that I learned from David's book, I decided that the GTD community should provide the other.

Continue Reading: "Define clear outcomes for project success" » Over on the Notes on Productivity blog, I asked Notes users two questions about what gets in the way, when implementing GTD in Lotus Notes.

If you currently use, have tried using, or are considering using Lotus Notes as your GTD implementation tool, I hope you will post your thoughts...

Productivity Countdown

eProductivity Countdown ClockI usually do OK tracking individual actions and small and medium sized projects. These are items for which I can easily envision the completed state - I know what "done" will look like and I know I will mark these complete in a few days or weeks. Sometimes, however, I have projects where the completion date is not days or weeks ahead but months or years ahead. I find those harder to keep in front of me. Even with regular review, I sometimes find it hard to keep a sense of time about a project that is off in the distant future.

As I prepare to launch eProductivity, a GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes, I need to keep one or two key milestones in sight at all times. Specifically, we have a few big milestones - things like "launch web site" or "Prepare for meeting with David" or "Deliver presentation to IBM" that we have been working on for many months or in the case of the product launch, several years.

Several months ago, I watched a NASA Shuttle mission video and I was inspired by their countdown clock and their mission elapsed clock. I decided that I needed my own countdown clock, so I decided to create one for myself.

eProductivity Countdown Clocks for my team - notice dancing Ian?Starting with a countdown clock mechanism that I purchased on-line, I created a custom clock face and built five eProductivity countdown clocks. I set each one to the date of a key milestone. I kept one clock for myself and I sent the other four to key people on my team. Now, I have a tangible reminder of the event and the time remaining to complete. I've had the clock on my desk for a few months now and it's been a fun reminder of an event that I am looking forward to. The key question "What's your next action?" keeps me focused on the little things that I need to accomplish to achieve my goal.

It's been a fun way to get things done. I'm in Newport Beach today, attending the GTD Mastering Workflow Seminar. Although I've been to about a dozen GTD and MAP* seminars over the past 15 years, I continue to learn something new each and every time I attend.

20080502GTDMasteringWorkflow.jpgKelly Forrister is our presenter today, so I'm certain it will be a great day of learning and fun with a group of people committed to getting things done at work and play.  I've had the good fortune to work with Kelly at four different organizations over the past 15 years. She's as passionate as I am about productivity and she's also a geek and we share a mutual interest for high-tech gear to support our productive lifestyle. (If you haven't done so, check out Kelly's blog.) Oh, and did I mention that Kelly uses Lotus Notes? She and I have been using Lotus Notes productivity since the early R3/R4 days.

Continue Reading: "GTD Mastering Workflow with Kelly Forrister" »

What makes a good GTD list manager?

Kelly Forrister recently posted her thoughts on what makes a good GTD list Manager. She proposes several requirements and key features to look for in a good GTD list manager:
 
  • Sorting lists by context
  • Ability to assign a due date
  • Portable for on the go access
  • Easily accessible
  • More attractive to you than repelling
  • Doesn't force priority codes
  • Place to capture additional notes
  • Ability to search and sort in various ways.
  • Robust enough to handle all of your stuff.

I think Kelly's list serves as a good foundation of the core features that any sound GTD implementation tool, whether low-tech (e.g. paper) or high tech (e.g. Lotus Notes) should offer.

If you have not read Kelly's excellent blog post, I encourage you to read it: What makes a good GTD List Manager?

The timing couldn't be better for me, as I'm in the process of doing a product analysis and writing copy for eProductivity for Lotus Notes, my own GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes. In addition to my own criteria, I plan to run vanilla Notes and eProductivity for Lotus Notes through Kelly criteria and see how they fare. I'll post my thoughts here, in a future blog post.

eProductivity Equation: Connected & Creative

This is the final post from my e-mail that answers the question: "How to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes?"  We've touched on the productivity equation and we've looked at how methodology is the first component of the equation. We also explored the technology or tools that can be used to implement GTD in Lotus Notes.  Last week, I discussed Mobility: how to get things done on the run, and two days ago, I blogged about the value I've found in getting coached and coaching others.

As I wrap up this series, I want to share some of the resources I've used to get connected  to the information and people who help me sharpen my skills.

Here's what I shared in my e-mail about some of my current favorite ways to stay connected to all things GTD:
Continue Reading: "eProductivity Equation: Connected & Creative" »

eProductivity Equation: Coaching

Today, I'll share the next part of my e-mail that answers the question: "How to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes?"  We've touched on the productivity equation and we've looked at how methodology is the first component of the equation. We also explored the technology or tools that can be used to implement GTD in Lotus Notes.  Last week, I discussed Mobility: how to get things done on the run. Now, as I begin to wrap up this series, I want to discuss the value I've found in getting coaching in how to make all of this work together.

There's a lot to be learned from reading books and attending seminars. I routinely do both. But when I really want to improve my skills or performance in a given area I turn to a coach, a mentor, or an expert that can help me accomplish my objectives. I think it's important to understand that hiring a productivity coach is not a magic bullet for getting things done. YOU have to do the work, but a good coach can help you see what may not be readily apparent to you and encourage you to build sustainable habits. (I'll talk more about sustainable habits at the end of this post.)

Here's what I wrote to the person who asked me about getting things done on the run...

Continue Reading: "eProductivity Equation: Coaching" »

eProductivity Equation: Mobility

Today, I'll share the next part of my e-mail that answers the question: "How to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes?"  We've touched on the productivity equation and we've looked at how methodology is the first component of the equation. We also explored the technology or tools that can be used to implement GTD in Lotus Notes.   Now, let's look at mobility...

As you learn more about GTD, you'll come to appreciate the value of getting everything out of your head and into a system you can trust no matter wherever you are and find a tool to support you. To do this, it's important that you equip yourself with tools that support you wherever you are; at home, the office, or on-the-go. I recommend at least one analog tool and often at least one digital tool, depending on your mobile information management needs. If you are someone that always has a computer available to you 24x7, then this section may not be useful. Lotus Notes does a great job of keeping information synchronized across distributed computers. On the other hand, if you are like me, you spend at least some part of your work day "out and about" and you need a way to keep your GTD lists and related information with you so that you can work from your lists, and manage your work.

Let's discuss the mobility aspect of getting things done while on the run...

Continue Reading: "eProductivity Equation: Mobility" »

eProductivity Equation: Technology

Today, I'll share the next part of my e-mail that answers the question: "How to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes?"

We've touched on the productivity equation and we've looked at how methodology is the first component of the equation. Now, we'll look at the technology or tools that you use.  Since you've already selected GTD as your methodology (a decision I wholeheartedly agree with) you now need to find a GTD implementation tool that will support you in the way that you work. From my email:
II. Choose your GTD implementation tool and master it
From 3x5 card to paper planner to MAC/PC to BlackBerry -- there are a range of solutions. The brilliance of GTD, I think, is that it's platform agnostic so you can manage using the GTD methodology just as well on a napkin or using custom software.  What you need to find is a very good list manager, something that is easy to use, is easy to integrate with your existing workflow, and is fast. Most important, it must be something you can trust.

We discussed your use of Lotus Notes at your company. I think Lotus Notes is a powerful tool for personal knowledge and action management. It also happens to be the tool of choice for me and for the The David Allen Company. (Disclosure, The David Allen Company is an ICA client and David is a good geek friend - I designed and deployed their Notes collaboration infrastructure and have supported David and his team for the past 15 years, so I'm a little biased as to the power of Lotus Notes.) Many people are successfully using GTD with Lotus Notes in a variety of ways.

Continue Reading: "eProductivity Equation: Technology" »

eProductivity Equation: Methodology

Today, I'd like to talk about methodology as a key component in my productivity equation and specifically how it relates to ramping up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes.

Whether you are conscious of it or not, you have a methodology, a system, a habit for how you get your work done. Some methodologies, systems, and habits will be more productive than others; some can even be counter productive. I began this series by writing an email to help someone get started using Lotus Notes as his implementation tool for David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology.

Over the years, I've learned several approaches to knowledge work but to date I have found none that made more sense and was more sustainable for me than GTD. It wasn't always this way. I used to find Stephen Covey's  7-Habits approach to be ideal and while I think it is an excellent approach for planning, I was unable to sustain it on a day to day basis and I often felt bad that my day to day actions were not getting me closer to my goals and vision. That's not to say that Covey's approach doesn't work - it does, but it was a great deal for me to maintain. Covey takes a top-down approach to productivity, starting with the desired outcome ("Begin with the end in mind") and then working down to daily actions that line up to support those goals. On paper that makes sense to me as the best way to go. In real life, however, it was hard to do, because, well, life happens. David Allen's approach starts at the bottom - clearing the decks -- so that you can think freely about the bigger picture stuff. I've been working with GTD since long before the GTD moniker and I can tell you that it is sustainable. What do I use today? A little of both. The foundation of my work style is built on the GTD methodology, while Covey has certainly influenced the values and planning aspects of my work and life.

OK, let's get practical: My advice for getting started with the GTD Methodology:

Continue Reading: "eProductivity Equation: Methodology" »

The eProductivity Equation: KWP = M x T x K

(This is the first installment in my series talking about how to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes.)

In my eProductivity Seminars I always begin by introducing my eProductivity equation for knowledge worker productivity:


KWP = M x T x K


Put another way:


Knowledge Worker Productivity [or results]  =
Methodology x Technology x Knowledge


That is, the outcome of any project will be influenced (one way or the other) by how well you use and apply (your methodology) your knowledge and tools to the problem at hand.  

I believe GTD provides an outstanding framework for managing work productively - the methodology; I think that Lotus Notes can be a powerful tool for information, action, and knowledge management -- the technology. As far as what your knowledge... only you know that.  

Think about how this equation applies to your knowledge work. What are your methodologies (defined or undefined)? What tools do you use?  

How does what you know influence the work that you do?

Links to related posts in this discussion:
Introduction
I. The eProductivity equation
II. Methodology Last week, an executive at a large global consulting firm with over 100K Lotus Notes users called me to ask for help getting up to speed with GTD and Notes. He told me that he was feeling overwhelmed at work with a growing number of projects and responsibilities and in his pursuit of a solution he had found and read David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. He was also aware that while Lotus Notes is an excellent tool for messaging, collaboration, and information management, it wasn't supporting him in the way that he needed. He was calling to get eProductivity for Lotus Notes and some coaching to help him set up Notes to be more productive. After a fruitful conversation, and my promise to help him, he asked me, "How can I ramp up quickly with GTD & Lotus Notes?"  
Continue Reading: ""How can I ramp up quickly with GTD & Notes?"" »

People are asking Santa for eProductivity

I've received some interesting requests for eProductivity but none as original as the one I received this morning:
SantaList.jpg
Re: eProductivity for Lotus Notes and GTD

Hello from Denmark :-)

I have told Santa that I would really really like to have a copy of eProductivity for Lotus Notes.

He said that I have been a good boy so I should contact you directly to request a preview....

I've had people contact me directly or via a friend to get into the eProductivity preview program, but this is the first request that I know of that solicited Santa's help.  A novel approach to be sure.

So, I responded:
Continue Reading: "People are asking Santa for eProductivity" »

Is it possible to build a "trusted system"?

The title of this post is in response to a comment on Michael Dolan's recent blog post sharing his experience coaching team of people that are using Lotus Notes as a trusted system for GTD. Michael's post is worth reading, because he talks about the importance of being the master of your domain: knowing and controlling what crosses over the transom. Specifically, Michael addresses the issue of delegated tasks, not just in Lotus Notes but in general, and how difficult it can be to use well as a team.   (You should read Michael's original post and my response.)

What caught my eye, however, and the topic I wish to address today is whether or not it is possible to build a trusted system out of Lotus Notes. You see, a reader of Michael's blog, Doug Ransom, had this to say in a comment he posted:
... I think it is near impossible to build a trusted system out of Lotus Notes, which is why my assistants print everything out. We just cant trust Lotus Notes as a bring-forward system. I often find myself writing down the important stuff to do today on a piece of paper because there is no way in Lotus Notes to capture "this must be done today if possible". It is just too cumbersome to effectively review the lists.

Doug continues...
Everyone I know who switched to Lotus Notes from Outlook dropped off the GTD bandwagon. I am moving towards simply using Lotus to-dos for a "-waiting" category; anything I assign to my assistant or anyone else goes into this list. I'll go to some other system (paper, excel, or perhaps daylight (from marketcircle) for my GTD system. ...

Where do I begin?

You already know, from the title of my blog, that I'm going to defend Lotus Notes as a productivity tool. But what else do I have to say? Lots.

First of all, I think it's important to separate the methodology from the technology (the tool). In my eProductivity seminars and coaching, I begin by teaching my eProductivity equation:
productivity = knowledge * methodology * technology


Continue Reading: "Is it possible to build a "trusted system"?" »

A new two-minute rule for email

Yesterday, I spent 12 hours processing 117 emails in one client folder alone. This was the second pass at my in-box and these were the hard emails - the ones I had dragged there because I knew they would take more than 2 minutes to complete. I finally went to bed with an empty folder, in fact I deleted the folder. This morning, my SameTime IM window popped up with a message from my colleague, Robert Peake, the unwilling recipient of many of the emails I had sent the day earlier. Here's the transcript:
Continue Reading: "A new two-minute rule for email" »

The GTD Prayer

Giles Turnbull has written a prayer to help him maintain his focus, keep his in-box at zero and live free from distractions.

Inspired by The Lord's Prayer, Gile's GTD adaptation of Jesus' lesson in prayer looks not to heaven but to an empty in-box for comfort ...

The GTD Prayer
Our lifehacks, which art in contexts,
In-box zero be thy aim.
Thy Kinkless done.
Thy Mind Sweep fun, in @work as it is in @honeydo.
Give us this day our next action.
And forgive us our open loops, as we forgive those who delete our email.
And lead us not into web surfing.
Deliver us from IM.
For thine is the Moleskine, the Project and the Due Date
For someday/maybe,
Allen.

An interesting perspective.

Source: GTD prayer, via the Getting Things Done Forum on Yahoo

Feeling overwhelmed? You need a checklist.

A checklist could save your life. Here's a not-so-subtle reminder about the value of checklists:

Have you ever found yourself emotionally shutting down in the face of a daunting project list and an overflowing e-mail in-box? I have.

The Air Force calls this Task Saturation and it can manifest itself in many ways. Some people hyper-focus on their email and new-mail alerts to the point where nothing gets done.

David and I made posts on Saturday and Sunday about the UK researcher who found that email distractions can cause a drop in IQ.

Fellow productivity blogger, Bert, from Open Loops, posted an excellent comment about how the military helps its pilots extract themselves from overwhelm before they have to extract themselves from their wreckage:

The Air Force calls this Task Saturation. When one is faced with a large volume of tasks, which is what you might see when you look at your backlogged email in-box, humans can shut down. Some, in an effort to deal with the tasks, begin to compartmentalize and channelize, meaning that they begin to concentrate on their email to the exclusion of all other communication and input that is still coming their way. This is why perfectly good pilots sometimes fly good airplanes right into the ground. In our lives, it means that we will not perform well on other tasks and responsibilities while we are struggling with that in-box.

Excellent illustration.  How does the Air Force help their pilots cope?
The solution? The Air Force provides tools and systems that pilots are supposed to fall back on in times of emergencies when task saturation can immobilize a pilot. They pull out their emergency checklists and start taking actions.


Checklists.  That's the ticket.

Got one?

Delegated Tasks for Group Action Management

Should we really use the delegated task feature to delegate actions to others?

While many people are usually excited to learn that their action management system will allow them to delegate actions to someone else, I find that many who have actually worked with such a system do not often share the same enthusiasm.

I usually recommend that my clients avoid using the task delegation feature of their action management system-- at least until I can confirm that everyone is on the same page in terms of how they will use it.
In order for delegated tasks to work, a high level of trust and an "action delegation protocol" must exist between all parties.
The person doing the delegating needs to trust that when he delegates something to another, it will be seen and actually treated as an action by the assignee. Likewise, the person who receives the delegated action must have a way to become aware of, internalize, and "accept" the action as their own. Successful delegation requires trust and commitment. If either is not present (as is often the case) then delegated tasks won't work.

This is not a new problem, it's as old as paper, at least. Technology has just made it easier to quickly dispatch a barrage of computer-delegated actions to unsuspecting (and possibly unwilling) people.

Delegated tasks create a situation in which the technology of productivity is likely to clash with the methodology of productivity.

The technology allows for tasks to be created and assigned to other individuals; however, without a sound methodology  and clear agreement on how these will be processed, (the action delegation protocol), it can quickly become a recipe for lost or missed actions, frustration, and incompletion.
I recommend that my clients use David Allen's GTD methodology. In of my years of consulting on technology, I've not found a better system for thinking about your work than GTD. In his book, Getting Things Done, David emphasizes the importance of accountability in all aspects of delegating and accepting actions; he also makes it clear that the system used to track actions - be it paper or digital - must be absolutely leak-proof. These are two areas where delegated actions, if not used properly, can fall apart as a tool for organizational action management.

Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, and even my eProductivity software all allow for tasks to be delegated to others simply by selecting the assignee from a directory. The beauty of this - at least from the perspective of the one doing the delegating - is that it is easy to create a project and then delegate actions to others.

One of my first action management systems, which I designed for the US Navy, did just this. The manager could initiate a project and then define and delegate specific actions to others in succession. Next actions could be queued so that as one action was completed the next would be delegated out in sequence. The system was a success, but I suspect that a large measure of this success was because the actions were effectively "orders" on the part of the manager and it was clearly understood that they were to be followed as assigned. The trust and protocol that I mentioned earlier were part of the environment. In a closed-system, with a clear chain of command, action management can, and indeed in some cases must work this way. That was almost 20 years ago. Today, a person is as likely to collaborate with someone in their own office as they are with someone  around the world. The relationship is less likely to be superior/subordinate, as with my Navy client, and more likely to be peer to peer. In this situation trust and protocol are essential.

The benefits of a delegated-tasks system can be significant. For the one doing the delegating, as tasks are entered into the system, they can delegate an action to someone else simply by indicating their name in the "assigned to" field. They can also can provide optional information such as a due date, status and alert notification request.

Outlook task delegation fields:

2005OutlookDelegatedTasks.jpg

Lotus Notes task delegation fields:

2005NotesDelegatedTasks.jpg

2005NotesDelegatedTasks2.jpg

For the assignee, they do not have to enter anything into their action tracking system - it's all done for them. Depending upon how their system is configured, they may have the ability to accept or reject assigned tasks first or the new tasks may simply appear on their to do list. Both Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes will display a list of delegated tasks, the responsible party, due date, and status.  For these reasons it is often quite tempting to use delegated tasks in the hopes of having a system of "total control and accountability."

Key things to consider when using delegated tasks:


1. Discuss delegated actions with your collaboration partners:

Will you use computer-delegated tasks at all? Will you allow others to add actions directly to your action support lists (risky) or will you use the propose/accept model (better) for delegated actions? What kind of feedback will be exchanged about the actions? What should be done when changes are required on either side?

2. Make sure that you understand how delegated tasks work:

Who "owns" the task? Will your system automatically place an action item on the assignee's to do list? How will they become aware of the new action? Do they have to accept it to make it their own? What is the process for delegating a task to someone and what happens when you (or they) cancel or change a task? Can a delegated task be delegated to someone else? How will you track these delegated items?

3. Make sure that everyone else understands this as well:

Simply having good technology in place will not necessarily make a team more productive. Sometimes it even leads to just the opposite. It is important, therefore, to have procedures and protocols in place for putting technology to work. My clients have found that training and coaching can make a big difference in the productive benefits they receive from their technology investment.

4. Have everyone practice delegating/accepting/declining actions:

Practice, practice, practice. As I've said before, in order for delegated actions to work at all, there must be a high level of trust - not only among the people but in their support systems as well.


Are delegated tasks simply a bad idea?


I don't think so, but I do think they can be very dangerous if not used properly. When used correctly, by a group of people, who have agreed upon a specific task delegation protocol, delegated tasks can be a powerful productivity tool. Unfortunately, more often than not, this agreement is not in place, and for this group of people, computer delegated-tasks can quickly lead to a lack of trust in systems and turn into a digital nightmare.

As I show clients how to use technology in support of the GTD methodology I find that few are really ready or need to use delegated actions. I usually coach these people to avoid using computer delegated actions and to use traditional  means, such as e-mail, phone or even paper as a way of exchanging information about tasks without entering actions directly into someone else' system. This way, each party can internalize the next action and their commitment to it, placing it on their own list as appropriate.

Is your organization using computer-delegated tasks? If so, how has it worked (or not worked) out?

I would like to hear about your experience.


Please post a comment (or send me an email) and let me know what you think!


This blog post is a transcript from last week's podcast on delegated tasks management.

Note:  For purposes of this discussion, when I refer to delegated tasks, I am specifically referring to the ability to create a task (an action) in a digital system such as Outlook or Lotus Notes, and to assign it to another individual, so that it will automatically end up on their action list.  


(c) Eric Mack 2005

ActiveWords and eProductivity

Buzz Bruggeman, president and chief evangelist at ActiveWords, called me this morning to show me how he is integrating ActiveWords with Palm desktop. I mentioned my eProductivity Template for Lotus Notes, and how I planned to add hot key control to all of the unique features of my template for an enterprise customer. Buzz quickly showed me just what I needed to know to use ActiveWords to create powerful shortcuts that integrate with Lotus Notes and my eProductivity template.

I can now quickly create a new action item from anywhere -- even outside of Notes. A simple hot key will automatically launch Notes and open a new action form. I've even set it up to automatically populate the date & time for me so that all I have to do is enter my next action, select my context, and save. (See screen shot)

Image:ActiveWords and eProductivity                    

To take things to the next level, I created a hot key that will allow me to select an email and convert it into an action in one step. Cool.

I've blogged about  ActiveWords  before, and I remain enthusiastic about the product.  Not since Actioneer came out with Actioneer Pro for Lotus Notes 4.0, have I seen such a powerful shortcut tool that I can use to quickly capture my actions. I've recently enhanced my eProductivity template to support Notes R6 for an enterprise customer. ActiveWords will help add further value to the template.

For those of you who are interested, I plan to share my ActiveWords wordbases so that anyone who uses Lotus Notes can enjoy them and enhance them to suit their own needs.

Thanks, Buzz!

It’s Empty, It’s Empty!

"It's Empty, It's Empty, It's Empty! I never thought that would ever happen. Thanks!"

These excited words are from a client, who recently learned how to quickly and effectively process his overflowing e-mail Lotus Notes in-box to zero as a result of attending one of my presentations. Reading his email made my day -- and it reminded me of why I enjoy doing what I do at ICA.

The most valued thanks that I receive in my work is learning how something that I was able to do for a client has positively impacted their life and their business.


Today, Jason Womack inspired me to share summaries of a few comments that I have recently received:

Eric, I have changed my Notes Welcome Page to look like yours and turned off my "chime" when incoming mail arrives.  I am literally amazed at how much of what I NEEDED to get done was accomplished yesterday.  I handled every one of my new emails and have even cleaned up all the way back to Monday (which if you saw my in-box is pretty good).

The question that you asked that struck a chord with me was whether or not we really knew what projects we were working on, and what tasks we had to complete to move them along.

I have started to use the Notes To-dos to manage my projects. Now, everything I need is at my fingertips.

I have processed my in-box to empty, and I am now working from my To-do list. As I adapt to your methods (and customize them to my needs), I hope to reduce the stress in my life, and become more effective.

I was energized to think differently about how I use Lotus Notes.

It is so gratifying to hear from my clients, current and past, about how I have been able to help them increase their productivity and find the time to do the things that really matter to them.

It is a privilege to serve each and every one.

Copyright © 2001, 2002-2016, ICA.COM, Inc. - All Rights Reserved. eProductivity™ and ICA are trademarks or registered trademarks of ICA.COM, Inc.
"GTD®" and "Getting Things Done®" are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. Lotus® and Lotus Notes® are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation.