Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

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

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

Link: Archiving E-mail with eProductivity

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

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

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

       Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

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

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

To view messages your external filing databases:

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

Creating additional filing databases:

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

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


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

Why use an external filing database?

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

How I use the eProductivity filing feature:

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

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

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

How to enable a database for filing with eProductivity:

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

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

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

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

Image:Archiving e-mail as you file, effortlessly

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

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

Video: How to use ActiveWords

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

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

ActiveWords Screencast

ActiveWords with eProductivty

How to download, iInstall and use ActiveWords with eProductivity

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!" »

eProductivity Users in the Blogosphere

We enjoy reading the blogs of enthusiastic eProductivity users. Here are some eProductivity blog posts. If you know of a blog that is not included this list, please let us know and we will add it.

Update: Page has been moved here. 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.

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:


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"

Winners of the free GTD software drawing!

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.

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