The Workspace is a view that shows all of your IBM Notes apps and databases -- Mail, Notebook, Contacts, and much more -- like so:

A sample of the IBM Lotus Notes Workspace view, showing Mail, contacts, Notebooks/eProductivity Reference Databases, Address Book, and DominoBlog website database

I've been astonished to find that many Notes users don't have access to the Workspace by default. Most of my life life in Notes is lived out of this view, and I can't imagine working without it.

Continue Reading: "The most useful view in IBM Lotus Notes that you're not using" » I've coached a lot of Lotus Notes users, and hardly any of them even knew that Notes has bookmarks! Maybe because it's hidden under a really weird name, as you'll see below.

1. Turn on bookmarks


To do this, open the "View" menu and select "Dock the Open List." I know that doesn't make any sense, but I just deliver the mail.

Turn on IBM Lotus Notes Bookmarks

Continue Reading: "Three steps to use Bookmarks in IBM Lotus Notes" » Here are a few of my favorite shortcuts -- these will let you instantly create new Calendar entries and eProductivity Projects and Actions from any window or tab in Notes.

Here's how to do it:
For Projects: press the Alt key, then type C M P
For Actions: press the Alt key, then type C M A
For Calendar: press the Alt key, then type C M C

Edit your new document, then save and close. It's that easy. Your Mail file doesn't even have to be open.

If you're using "vanilla" Notes without eProductivity
, here's what to do instead:
For To-Do's: press the Alt key, then type C M T
For Calendar: press the Alt key, then type C M C

Also, in case you didn't know, here's on of the best keyboard shortcuts ever: to create a new email, hold Ctrl and press M.

Happy productivity!

To discover even more Notes keyboard shortcuts, see here: Ramp up your workspeed with the most powerful key on your keyboard

(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.

Imagine if, instead of taking a few clicks to do a task, you could to it in a few keystrokes? I'm sure you're all familiar with the shortcuts for copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V).

Imagine doing those manually instead of using the shortcuts, every time. Now are you getting a sense of how much time those little keystrokes save you?

How to use the Alt key (a.k.a. the "magical shortcut to darn near everything" key)


Hold the Alt button.

Notice that this does two things:

1) causes certain letters in your menu items to be underlined, like so:

Image:Ramp up your workspeed with the most powerful key on your keyboard

2) causes numbers to appear over your first nine action bar buttons.

While holding the Alt key, you can press one of those numbers or underlined letters. For example, holding Alt and pressing T will open the Text menu, like so:

Image:Ramp up your workspeed with the most powerful key on your keyboard

See how the k in "Strikethrough" is underlined above? That means that pressing K will activate the Strikethrough formatting.

To recap that example:
Press Alt+T+K
Start typing
You get this: Stricken-through text

Try it! (To turn off strikethrough, just press Alt+T+K again).

The secret Master Shortcut Formula


To access any function on any menu, just hold the Alt key and press the underlined letter of the thing you want to do. This also works with any numbers that pop up when you hold Alt. Go ahead and explore -- find the shortcuts for your favorite functions.

Hint: Alt+W is really handy.

Have fun!

-Nathan 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

Who uses Lotus Notes in the Boston area?

A global enterprise customer with offices in Boston asked me "who else uses Lotus Notes in the Boston area?" I'd like to respond with a list of organizations. I'm not asking for contact names. If you are aware of organizations in the Boston that are presently using Lotus Notes, please post a comment on the Notes on Productivity Blog. The folks over at GTD Times recently announced a 14-day GTD Challenge, designed to help folks take their productivity to a whole new level.  The event is free and will be hosted in the GTD Connect community. (If you haven't taken the time to explore the GTD Connect resources you can get a free two week guest pass here.)

The free event kicks off Thursday, September 22  with the first of two webinars by Kelly Forrister and Meg Edwards - both are senior presenters with the David Allen Company.  As a side note: I've worked with Kelly for close to 20 years and Meg was one of my personal GTD coaches (Thanks, Meg!)  Even if you are experienced at getting things done, this is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen your skills.

The challenge will take place between September 22  and October 6. During this time, Kelly and Meg will challenge you to evaluate your systems and processes to improve your skills. I expect that there will be lively discussion in the forums as well.

Continue Reading: "Free GTD & eProductivity Training: Are you up to the challenge?" »

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" » In January 2011, you may recall that we conducted a survey of eProductivity users. Over 400 respondents later, some very interesting data points emerged.

One trend that jumped out was the shift in user satisfaction with IBM Lotus Notes once users installed eProductivity...

Continue Reading: "User Satisfaction with IBM Lotus Notes for Email and Tasks Skyrockets with eProductivity" »

"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

The IBM Lotus Technical Information and Education (LTIE) community holds a web meeting every month. Their upcoming August session will feature eProductivity's president, Eric Mack.

ltie-logo.jpg

Eric will be sharing how eProductivity has turned the Lotus application distribution model upside down. Instead of new technology being solely introduced by the IT department, end users are now able to find, try, purchase, and use new apps for Lotus Software. Using apps like eProductivity has in turn allowed end users to achieve higher performance.

Eric will then share 7 general considerations for creating self-serve Lotus Notes apps.

We invite you to join us for this event. Details below.

Webinar Details:

  • Date: August 24, 2010
  • Time: 10:00AM EST

Links:
Join the meeting and see more information.
Associated Facebook Event

Criteria for Picking a Digital Filing Cabinet

Reference items are non-actionable pieces of information that you want to hang on to. Everyone has plenty of reference items!

In my experience, digital reference items tend to come in three different forms: emails, webpage URLs, and documents (e.g. PDFs, Word documents).

For storing emails, email folders are a logical choice. For webpage URLs, many people favor web-based tools like Delicious. For documents, the My Documents folder or a network drive are common destinations, with Dropbox being a popular web-based alternative.

But I find that consolidating my reference items into a single tool works best for most of my items. (The exceptions are things like my music and picture files, which are fine in their current My Music and My Pictures folders). Too many storage locations leads to items becoming "out of sight, out of mind" and the reference items lose their value.

Instead, I prefer a single "digital filing cabinet" that I can put everything in and see it all in one place. Here's some of my criteria for picking a digital filing cabinet:

  • Stores any kind of file or media
  • New entries are easily created
  • Entries can be assigned to multiple categories
  • Allows an unlimited number of categories
  • Provides full-text search for finding items quickly
  • Accessible across different computers and mobile devices
  • Integrates with email

For these reasons, I'm not bashful in saying I favor the eProductivity Reference Database (available as a free download). It fits my criteria well and most importantly, it integrates well with my Lotus Notes email system. This is critical because I find most of my reference information comes via email, and I can simply drag-and-drop the email into my Reference Database to create a new entry - very slick!

The bottom-line is, I have a place that I store everything in, so stuff isn't scattered across my computer.

Another popular reference system I hear mentioned is Evernote, although I've never personally used it.

Do you have other reference tools that you use? Any tips on choosing a reference tool? Please share them in the comments!

The challenge of a new productivity system

SuperheroKidwithCape214x211.jpg

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?

Categorized or Standard Inbox?

As a result of last month's "Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes" public and IBM Employee Only webinars with David Allen, thousands of Notes users around the world are now exploring and choosing eProductivity as an alternative to the standard Lotus Notes Mail/Calendar/tasks experience to increase their personal productivity. Today I want to discuss a little-known feature hidden inside of Lotus Notes that allows you to categorize the messages in your inbox.

This 'categorized' functionality has been provided by IBM in all Mail template releases since Notes 7. Apparently some organizations - like IBM - have modified their standard mail template to make categorization of messages in the inbox become the default.

How the 'categorized' inbox works in Lotus Notes:


In the standard Lotus Notes Mail inbox, emails are presented in chronological order with the oldest message at the top and the newest at the bottom. No preference is give to messages flagged 'High priority' or calendar invites and meeting notices:

This is my standard inbox as it appears in eProductivity 2.0.1.4

In the 'Categorized' Notes Mail Inbox, emails are presented in a categorized fashion so that:
  • Calendar Invites/Updates will appear at the top of the inbox
  • Next, all high priority emails will be displayed
  • Finally, all normal priority emails will be displayed
Here's how the above mail box looks with the 'categorized' inbox:
This is what my inbox looks like with the 'categorized' inbox enabled in eProductivity 2.0.1.5

I'm not sure whether I prefer the categorized inbox or not yet, but if you are a current eProductivity beta user and want to experience this, we've posted version 2.0.1.5 in the beta forum so you can try it out for yourself. Meanwhile, read on for my reactions...

My thoughts on the categorized inbox so far...


On the surface, this categorized view would appear to be a boon to anyone that gets lots of emails and wants to be sure that they won't miss an urgent email. At least that was my initial reaction. I like that all calendar items appear at the top of the inbox -- it makes it easier to process all of my calendar related invites, notices, and changes at once. At first glance, having the high priority emails at the top of the inbox means that I won't miss a high priority item -- as long as I remember to check that part of the view.

But is this really the most productive way to go, or does it encourage less productive email habits? That's what I wanted to know, so I made the change to my inbox and worked with it for a while.

What I like about the categorized inbox

As I stated earlier, I like having all of the calendar information in once place. That makes it easy for me to handle all calendar information at once. What I lose, however, is the context as I can longer see the email messages that came in before and after the calendar request or update. I haven't reached a conclusion about whether that is a big deal or not.

In the same way, I like that I can see and get to all urgent (flagged as High importance, but let's call it how people use it) email in one place. Here again, context is lost because these messages are now at the top instead of in the message flow.

What concerns me about the categorized inbox

For me, the biggest concern about a categorized inbox + lots of emails is that I'd FORGET to check the top of the stack. David Allen and I teach that the best practice around email is to process it once into a trusted system and then work from an empty inbox. We teach that your inbox should only be a temporary collection point for incoming stuff.

If you work this way and your process your inbox to zero at least once every 24 hours, then a categorized inbox might be helpful and may even be more productive. If you are buried in email and have a considerable backlog, then my concern is that a categorized inbox can become a hindrance to your overall productivity by encouraging you to deal with what's latest and loudest -- your urgent items -- and not the rest of the messages.

Also, if you have more than one screen full of email, you will have to scroll to the top to see these urgent emails. As a result, you risk losing focus on the rest of your inbox because you are either at the top or the bottom of the stack. For me, in the sort while that I have been evaluating the categorized inbox I found myself subject to the tyranny of the urgent. And, there was no incentive for be to process everything - I could simply wait until things were urgent enough to flag them as such. I try to process my email when it shows up instead of when it blows up.

What do YOU think?

Do you think the 'categorized' inbox would be a help or a hindrance? Do you currently use the categorized inbox? If so, what do you like or dislike about it ? If you don't, what are your thoughts? I'd like to know.

Congratulations to our Webinar Prize Winners

We ran some fun giveaways during today's highly successful Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes webinar. Thanks again to everyone for their participation!

Our winners are:

  • Julie Manning
  • Jonathan Pop
  • Tom Scanlan
  • YC Tan

We also awarded prizes to our 800th and 900th registrants for the event. Those folks are:

  • David Blandford
  • Don Southard

All winners will receive a 1-year eProductivity Professional License. They will be notified via email.

Congratulations to our winners! It pays to pay attention. :)

The GTD & Lotus Notes webinar is tomorrow!

It's been a little while since I've blogged. This is due to spending much of my time preparing for tomorrow's Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes web event with featured guest David Allen and eProductivity's Eric Mack. The time seems well spent because we have 785 folks registered as of right now. Wow!

We're delighted to have David Allen join us for this special event. For Lotus Notes users, it's an extraordinary opportunity to hear from David himself about the techniques he uses to get things done in Lotus Notes. Based on the number of sign-ups, many folks agree that this is an interesting topic.

GTDWebinarDetails.jpgSpeaking of having 785 folks registered, we're giving away a 1-year eProductivity Professional license to our 800th registrant. So if you haven't signed up yet, that person could be you! Register here: www.eproductivity.com/gtdwebinar

If you'd like to participate in the conversation on Twitter before, during, and after the event, I invite you to use the #GTDLN hashtag that we created for the event. Happy tweeting!

Update:
I think this is worth sharing. Following the GTD & Lotus Notes webinar on April 8th, one IBMer was able to reduce her inbox from 5000 emails to Zero, and she's been maintaining inbox zero since then. You can read her story here.

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...)

DAWebinarTweetoftheMonth.png

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.

"Add to Outlook" link can’t be changed, sadly

When setting up the upcoming "Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes" webinars with special guest presenter David Allen, I ran into an interesting issue with GoToMeeting. They include an "Add to Outlook calendar" link on the webpage that appears after registering for a webinar, and we can't remove the link or change it to say Lotus Notes. Kinda embarrassing for Notes events like these.

Eric Mack then blogged twice about this on the Notes on Productivity blog.

I sent in a help request to GoToMeeting to see if anything could be done to about this Outlook-gate issue. Their help team recently responded with this:

There is no way to remove that option. Outlook is the default option because of its widespread use.

Ok, not surprising and even understandable. I'd bet other virtual meeting software companies do the same thing.

It's unfortunate, though, because it's confusing for our webinar attendees and it looks pretty bad when running Lotus Notes events.

So for everyone asking about the Add to Outlook link on our webinar registration forms, we know. :-) We can't change it. But maybe you can write to GoToMeeting and show that there are a lot of Notes users out there who would appreciate some consideration.

P.S. Oh, and you should know that if you actually click the "Add to Outlook" link, it's really just an .ics file that can be imported into your Notes 8 calendar. So no harm in clicking that link...

GTD & Lotus Notes Webinar for IBMers

As you probably know, David Allen's book "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" is the inspiration behind eProductivity.

David's GTD methodology has revolutionized the way millions of working men and women tackle their work. His system turns achieving control and perspective over your commitments into a daily reality.

Many people know this about GTD. What you may not know is that for the past 17 years, David has used Lotus Notes as his personal organization system. (For several years, he's used eProductivity as well.)

This month, David and Eric Mack will be co-presenting two webinars on GTD & Lotus Notes. The webinars will be full of great information for non-eProductivity users and eProductivity users alike.

Some of the things they'll show:

  • How to go home at the end of the day with an empty inbox
  • How to tackle your work week with the confidence of knowing you’re being as productive as you can possibly be
  • What's in David's productivity toolkit and how he uses Lotus Notes to get things done

Webinar exclusively for IBM employees
On April 8th from 10am – 11:30am PST, we’ll be doing a webinar exclusively for IBM employees on applying GTD to Lotus Notes. Many IBMers are fans of GTD already, and this will give more insight into David’s master tips, tricks & strategies. We’ll also look at eProductivity – the only software tool for Lotus Notes that’s earned the distinctive “GTD Enabled” certification.

If you’re an IBM employee, sign up now. Space is limited.

Webinar open to the public
On April 28th from 10:00am - 11:30am PST, David and Eric will be doing another "Getting Things Done in Lotus Notes" webinar for the general public.

Go here to get more details and sign up now. Space is limited.

 

To keep current on eProductivity webinar news, you can subscribe to the eProductivity newsletter to receive updates on this and other events and specials.

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?...

"GTD & Lotus Notes" class this week

GTD Times recently announced an upcoming GTD and Lotus Notes webinar class.

The class time is February 4th at 12pm PST, and it will be held in the GTD Connect virtual learning center. For more details, read Kelly Forrister's post on the GTD Times blog.

February 4th is just around the corner, so you only have a couple of days left to sign up...

Why is my Lotus Notes so slow?

Slow software is such a drag on productivity, not to mention downright annoying to work with. When you work with the same software, such as Lotus Notes, every single day, even the smallest performance slowdowns can result in huge productivity losses over time.

The good news is, speedier performance is possible if you're armed with the right information.

To give you the inside scoop, Eric Mack wrote an article on the Notes on Productivity blog about improving the performance of your Lotus Notes software.

An excerpt:

As I work with and coach clients around the world that use Lotus Notes, I'm often asked why Notes and their systems in general seem to get slower and slower. While there are many parts to the answer, the good news is that there is much you can do to improve the user experience in terms of performance.

Before we can talk about the things that can be done to speed up Lotus Notes, we must first understand what aspects of your system and Notes affect performance. I have broken these down into three areas: System, Lotus Notes, and User Data. Elements in each of these areas will affect end-user performance. Some are things you can change easily; some are not. Let's take a look.

Read the full article at Notes on Productivity

Bringing out the best in Lotus Foundations

Following up his video about improving the Lotus Foundations customer experience, Dave Lawrence also had this to say about bringing out the best in Foundations.

[YouTube Link]

Improving the Lotus Foundations customer experience

Dave Lawrence is the president of Smart Technology Enablers, Inc. His company resells the fantastic Lotus Foundations product that gives a host of Lotus capabilities in one server box.

Now, even the best products can use some tweaking here and there, and Dave's company has found that eProductivity provides a missing ingredient for Foundations.

See what he has to say about improving the Lotus Foundations customer experience:

[YouTube Link]

Footage taken from an interview with Dave on January 10, 2010.

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]

Free webinars wrapping up for 2009

Our popular webinar series is continuing this Thursday, December 10th at 10:00am PST. This will be one of the last webinars for the 2009 year, since we'll be stopping presentations for the Christmas holiday season.

Again, webinars are completely free and open to anyone. If you'd like to know more about eProductivity and what it can do for you, we'd love to have you attend. Even better, bring your eProductivity questions and ask them live. You'll get answers straight from eProductivity experts and you'll benefit the other attendees as well.

To learn more and register
, go here: www.eProductivity.com/webinars.

Thanks again to everyone who has attended a previous webinar! Your active participation has helped to make them successful.

To everyone who hasn't yet attended...we hope to see you soon. :)

Webinars: International times now available

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We've been offering free public webinars for a few weeks now. They've definitely been a success and we've received great feedback from attendees. Thanks everyone! However, if you didn't live in the Americas, our session times may have been a little inconvenient.

That is no longer the case. We're now offering webinars at more international-friendly times.

Anyone located overseas should appreciate the changes. Although we think an Australian getting up for a 3:00am Saturday morning webinar shows great dedication - and we really appreciate it! - we want to help you get your beauty sleep too.

See our eProductivity Webinars page for more details on the new times.

    You should attend an eProductivity webinar if:
  • You're curious how eProductivity might benefit you
  • You want a live demonstration of eProductivity's features
  • You want tips and best practices for using eProductivity
  • You want to learn the foundational ideas of GTD

Come by and join us!

Archiving: when users get robbed by the system

Over on the Notes on eProductivity blog, Eric Mack riffs on some of the fundamental problems with Lotus Notes archiving options. Basically, between the (poor) options that Notes gives for archiving and the typical way that system admins configure those archiving options, the chances of users getting burned by unfortunate archiving practices are very high. In other words, archiving may cause them to lose their data and hate Notes for forever. It's pretty hard to trust a system that steals your data when you're not looking.

You can read more at the Notes on Productivity blog post.

As a sidenote, we're working hard to give our eProductivity users an archiving method that they can trust and just simply works. Here's a screenshot of the eProductivity archive view:    

the eProductivity archiving view

(click for larger image) The latest version of eProductivity (1.81) contains many new features. Among them are two experimental views that you can use to create sidebar widgets or floating windows based on the popular eProductivity 'Today' and 'All by context' views.

Here's a preview of just two of several new Sidebar widgets for eProductivity that you will soon be able to use: the Today view and the All by Context views.

The new The new

These widgets are now available in eProductivity 1.81. These sidebar views are persistent - it does not matter what Notes application you have open - you can always review your Today list and your actions by contexts.

If you would like to try this on your own system, here are the steps I am currently using to accomplish this in Notes 8.5.1

Continue Reading: "How to enable the 'Today' and 'All By Context' views as sidebar widgets in Lotus Notes 8.x" »

Sidebar widgets for Notes 8.x, coming soon!

If you're using Notes 8.x or 8.5x, you can use Sidebars to display information from a Notes application (e.g. eProductivity) even when that application is not open.

Here's a preview of just two of several new Sidebar widgets for eProductivity that you will soon be able to use: the Today view and the All by Context views.

The new The new

These widgets are being made to our Notes 8 Design Partners and will soon appear in the next release of eProductivity. These sidebar views are persistent - it does not matter what Notes application you have open - you can always review your Today list and your actions by contexts.

As part of our unified task management strategy, we are working on ways to allow you to drag and drop anything onto a context and manage it in Notes, GTD-Style, with eProductivity. (This includes web and mobile resources as well - a true unified view.)

Stay tuned, more to come!

A case for eProductivity & Lotus Foundations

We routinely receive emails from satisfied customers. Lately, we've been receiving emails from IBM/Lotus Business partners sharing how eProductivity is helping them win and keep satisfied customers. Here's one example from a Lotus Foundations Business Partner:

Because it offers value to individual mail and PIM users, eProductivity really demonstrates the power of the Lotus Foundations Start (LFS) environment in an approachable manner for all LFS users as individuals.  eProductivity changes the playing field in the competitive landscape with Outlook and Exchange because it offers something better.  Even if I can only get adoption of eProductivity among a few high level people in the organization, it is enough to pull LFS into that organization along with a Lotus Foundations Appliance.  When I initially presented Lotus Foundations Start to my client, it was eProductivity she was talking about when the Executive Director said "I want that!"

I see the value of the rest of Lotus Foundations Start (idb, Dynamic DNS, single sign-in, autonomics and the like), but the face of the product to these organizations and what sells it is the e-mail agent and PIM it provides.  To steal an old advertising adage, eProductivity is the sizzle (and it may be the steak for end-users, too).

- David G. Lawrence, President, Smart Technology Enablers, Inc.

We love getting testimonials like this and we're particularly excited about the Lotus Foundations Start appliance and the opportunity it represents for small businesses and the Lotus Business partners that serve them.

LotusFoundationsAppliance_90x90.jpgWe believe the Foundations platform has the potential to do for the SMB market what the IBM PC did for the personal computer market. Solutions like eProductivity that increase the personal productivity of end users will increase the value proposition for SMBs and lead to increased sales for resellers. Already, we are hearing from LFS resellers that are using eProductivity to 1) win new customers to LFS, 2) make the transition to LFS easier and more productive, or 3) keep customers from switching to Outlook.  

We are in the process of working on a version of eProductivity for Foundations, built on Notes/Domino 8.5x, that will further leverage the strengths of this platform.  If you believe that GTD enabling LFS would create additional compelling value for your customers, we'd like to hear from you.

"Lotus Knows" ideas for a better Notes

Lotus Knows has been running since 8am this morning. Already 400+ ideas, 5500+ votes cast, and 825+ comments posted as I write this.

A better email system in Notes has been a hot topic. People are clearly fed up with having cluttered inboxes that nag at them all day long. Here at eProductivity, we get excited about helping people gain control over a rowdy inbox and it's always great to hear stories of people going from inbox chaos to inbox zero by using eProductivity. It'll be interesting to see the solutions the Lotus community suggests for relieving the email burden.

Continue Reading: ""Lotus Knows" ideas for a better Notes" »

"Lotus Knows"- Coming Soon

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Last week, Bilal Jeffrey of IBM announced an upcoming IdeaJam session called Lotus Knows. I'm excited about this Jam because it's squarely focused on Lotus Notes end-users.

IBM has had the reputation of focusing their marketing on large companies and IT departments. But IBM seems to be working hard on changing up their game plan and focusing on the end user. This IdeaJam is another step in that direction.

As has been well-publicized in many other places, companies are finding out that end users now drive the adoption of new technology. Ending quickly are the old days of the IT department dictating completely what technology tools their employees can use. The top-down approach is leaky.

Employees, especially younger ones, have expectations that they can use whatever technology tools appeal the most to them. They tend to figure out ways to get their hands on these tools, and perhaps more importantly, they tend to tell their friends about their tools.

Tapping into the viral power of "my buddy says 'xyz tool rocks!'" is crucial. Lotus Notes could use a few more end users talking about how cool Notes is. As a company that makes an individual productivity tool for Notes, eProductivity could use a few more end users talking up the hipness of Notes.

So yes, I'm excited about Lotus Knows  I plan on dropping by frequently over the 3-day Jam span.

And remember, this is a public event, so you can join in too. Register at http://lotusknows.ideajam.net/register

eProductivity Webinars - Coming Soon!

07282009_eProd_Webinar_logo.jpgDo you want to end the work day with your inbox at zero? Do you want to feel a greater degree of clarity about where you need to spend your time? Do you want a better sense of which projects are the most effective for you to work on at any given moment? You need to attend an eProductivity webinar.

We're developing a series of free, publically-available webinars designed to give you a jumpstart on eProductivity. Ample time for Q&A will be included, so you'll have an opportunity to ask your burning questions. Check back here on the blog as we release more details and give you a special opportunity to sign up for the limited amount of spaces.

In the meantime, I have a question for you: Are there any topics that you really want to to learn about? Any particular features you want a better handle on, such as the power of the Reference Journal or using Categorized Views to group related projects together?

Either Contact Us or leave a comment on this post. We want to target our webinars at whatever needs you have, so this is your chance to help us give you the best value. We appreciate it!

How to experience Lotus Notes for free

We receive many requests from people who have learned about Lotus Notes for the first time, either as a result of David Allen's mention of Notes at the Office 2.0 Conference, a public GTD seminar, or podcast or as a result of learning about eProductivity. They usually contact us to ask if individuals can purchase Lotus Notes (yes) and if it is possible to evaluate Lotus Notes for free (yes).

Unfortunately, as many people have learned, the IBM web site can be an overwhelming experience for an individual user that simply wants to download and try or buy Lotus Notes. Here's some information which you may find helpful:

LotusNotesDesktopBanner.jpg

How to experience Lotus Notes for free:

You can evaluate Lotus Notes for free, with the Lotus Notes 90-day Test Drive.

Lotus Notes Product Manager, Dwight Morse, recently posted a detailed tutorial that explains how to use Lotus Notes to retrieve your personal email (e.g. from a hosted account.) Dwight provides detailed screen shots for each step. If you are a first-time user of Lotus Notes and you want to use Notes as your personal information management system, I think you will find this tutorial helpful.

When you are ready to purchase Lotus Notes:

When you are ready to purchase Lotus Notes, choose the license for "IBM Lotus Notes with Collaboration Authorized User License + SW Subscription & Support 12 Months (D5CS2LL)."

Visit the Lotus Notes Product Page and look in the right colum under the green button that says "View US prices & buy".  If you are outside of the United States, use the "Choose your country" link below the green button.

For those of you in the U.S., here is a direct link to the U.S. Pricing & Purchasing Options.

Note: To experience the full features of Lotus Notes, select the "IBM Lotus Notes with Collaboration Authorized User License"

Using Lotus Notes to Read Personal Mail

Lotus Notes Product Manager, Dwight Morse, has just posted a detailed tutorial that explains how to use Lotus Notes to retrieve your personal email (e.g. from a hosted account.) Dwight provides detailed screen shots for each step. If you are a first-time user of Lotus Notes and you want to use Notes as your personal information management system, I think you will find this tutorial helpful.

I'm pleased to see this tutorial. Many first-time users are installing Notes for themselves, either to get eProductivity or because they have learned that GTD Author, David Allen, uses Notes. Either way, these people need simple steps to find, download, install, and configure Notes. This is an area in which IBM has historically been light on information for the end-user.

Dwight's tutorial is a step in the right direction to making it easy for people to install and use what David Allen and I believe is an outstanding information management and self-organization tool.

I look forward to Dwight's future tips and I will blog about them as I see them.

Here's what's on my wish list for the future:
  • An equivalent tutorial for a first-time installation of Notes 8.x for Mac and PC. (Including how to locate, navigate to and download the software.)
  • Videos for each tutorial posted on YouTube to make it easy for people to find and get started
What first-time Notes user topics would YOU like to see IBM blog about?

Link: How to use Lotus Notes to retrieve your personal email

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.

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

Will Traveler make GTD with Lotus Notes easy?

I have a long-standing interest in devices and applications that increase mobile knowledge worker productivity, particularly those that support the GTD methodology and can sync with Lotus Notes. The problem is that most of the devices that I have used to date fail in one or both categories. For this reason, I have continued use and recommend the Treo 755p for power GTD users that want a powerful mobile list manager that seamelessly integrates with Lotus Notes. It's not that the Treo is the best mobile platform out there. It isn't. It simply has the best native list manager for managing projects and actions using the GTD methodology.

Since I know that someone will object to my statement, let me explain what I want in a mobile list manager: I want to click one button and see my list of projects and actions, sorted by context. I do not want to have to click Start, Run, and then click a bunch of options to find my tasks. I also want these views and the way I set them up to be persistent, which rules out two of the most popular device families on the market today.  I don't mind using third party solutions to accomplish this, but for some devices, like the Nokia Series, they simply do not exist. I find it amazing that devices marketed to the business professional and equipped with so many productivity features would be so lacking in this vital component of productivity: list management.

For years, David Allen and I have discussed this: why do manufacturers make great hardware and then drop the ball when it comes to the suitability of their list management and task integration? (David uses a 755p, also.) I think it must be that manufacturers are expecting people to purchase based on the shiny features and not on what they can accomplish with the device. Earlier this year, a client generously gave me a shiny new Nokia E90 Communicator as a thank you gift. The E90 is a truly amazing mobile productivity device. Except, it has two problems: No task management. Zip. Zilch. Nada. (Unless you count their lame recording of a task as a note in a calendar event) and no reliable over-the-air sync of tasks to Lotus Notes. David and I played with this device this summer and agreed that while it sported an impressive list of hardware features it was essentially useless for us as a mobile GTD support tool. So, into pile of "really cool devices that I cannot use" it went. I hoped that someday, I might find a solution that would allow me to test this device as a list manager with Notes.  


Continue Reading: "Will Traveler make GTD with Lotus Notes easy?" »

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

Which versions of Lotus Notes do you use?

A few days ago, I posted an eProductivity Preview Invitation for folks to see what we have done to create the ultimate GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes. As part of the sign-up, I asked folks a number of questions, including which version of Lotus Notes. Here are the results so far.

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As you can see, there are concentrations at each end of the spectrum with pockets for each version. This is to be expected. This is not a comprehensive survey, but it is interesting to see what the folks most interested in getting things done with Notes are using. Fortunately, we have coded eProductivity to support versions 6.02 - 8.5x of Lotus Notes across all platforms (yes, even Mac and Linux).

I plan to update this over time to see what more we can learn.

Meet us at ILUG 2008

We're  off to Ireland for the ILUG 2008 Conference.

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Ian and I look forward to hanging out with Bruce, Ben, Ed, Alan, and many others. If you plan to attend, send me an email or find me. Ian and I will be there wearing our way cool white eProductivity logo shirts.

This year's conference promises to be a great one with many speakers and the opportunity to network with key folks in the Lotus Notes community. I'm also excited to have been invited to be one of the speed geek presenters; I plan to show off some productivity tools for Lotus Notes. 12 presentations in 1 hour. Should be fun.

Ilug 2008 Shamrock on Aer Lingus JetEach year the ILUG organizers outdo the previous year's conference. This year is no exception; as part of their marketing & promotion campaign Paul Mooney arranged for Aer Lingus to temporarily paint their entire fleet of aircraft with the ILUG Shamrock so that we would get into the ILUG spirit as soon as we took off...

It will be a fast trip but I plan to make it a productive one. If you plan to attend let me know. Time permitting, I'll also try to blog a little. 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?"" »

You’re invited to an eProductivity webinar

I recently sent out a call for productivity-minded people that want to implement David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology in Lotus Notes to join the eProductivity Workgroup Pilot program. eProductivity came out of beta a month ago and now I'm doing the research on enterprise deployments to learn how they are using and benefitting from eProductivity and how I can facilitate deployments. The eProductivity workgroup pilot program is for workgroups of 10-20 people and allows me to personally coach a group of people and learn from them as they start getting things done in Notes. To help them get started, I offered to host private webinars for these pilot sites to assist them in the process of learning to use eProductivity.

This week, I delivered the first of several private webinars, this one for an eProductivity Workgroup Pilot at a large organization on the East Cast.  Most of the people on the call were technically savvy but many were new to the GTD methodology.

Using some slides from last year's eProductivity Conference, I began by presenting a brief overview of my eProductivity Equation and some of the GTD principles and concepts that I have found most helpful. Then, we took a tour of some of the key eProductivity features. Finally, we wrapped up with an extended time of Q&A. We did not cover all of eProductivity but we laid a foundation for future webinars.

After the call, I asked my host if I could share the audio portion of the webinar with other eProductivity users; she graciously agreed...


Continue Reading: "You're invited to an eProductivity webinar" »

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"?" »

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