Saturday, January 14, 2006


New Total WorkDay Control contest - your biggest productivity struggle with Outlook

Post your biggest struggle with Outlook in terms of productivity. I’ll pick a random winner and award Michael Linenberger Total WorkDay Control book and a training CD that Michael only has available for folks who order the book from his website.

I’ve not seen the training cd’s yet, but knowing Michael’s indepth work on the book, I can assume that they will be an excellent resource.

Want to know my biggest struggle? Not spreading the sync process too thin across multiple applications. I want to the use task and calendar data in multiple apps (onenote, mindmanager, etc), but I find the process of keeping the sync process up to date and active pretty painful. I find that I’m the most successful if I limit the spread of tasks, appointments, etc to only 1 outside application (not counting my pda).

My problem is similar to yours. I use Mindmanager with the Results Manager plugin (from Gyronix). In and of itself, this solution works very well. The only trouble is the synchronisation with Outlook isn't particularly straight forward, and it's very easy for items to become detached.

The upshot is, my outlook task list is empty, as everything's kept in mind manager.

This isn't really a problem if I have my LE1600 with me, but then if I only have my PDA (Treo 650), I am without my task list. As you can imagine, not frustrating at all!
I have a very similar problem. I use my personal tablet at work for notes, etc. The work email standard is Notes. I've tried the Outlook connector, but it trashes attachments at times and is pig dog slow. What I've tried to set up (with some success) is an autoforward to my tablet gmail account whenever I get an invitation. This works ok except when I set up the meeting I need to remember to include the tablet address on the invite or when there is a reschedule. Once I have the stuff in Outlook, I can go to Franklin Planner (where is version 5?), go binder, etc. Tasks I try to keep in Outlook on the tablet.

My biggest problem productivity struggle with Outlook is two-sided:

1. It is so SLOW to open (at least the Office 12 version is) when I need to look at email that I have found myself just using my online GMAIL account. And when you aren't dropping email into tasks and calendar items (like I used to do before GMAIL) then I use Outlook less and less.

2. The effectiveness of MindManager and OneNote are changing my technology-organization-GTD life. Projects are going into OneNote--and isn't nearly everything is a project (i.e. it takes more than 1 minute to get it done with multiple tasks?)

So, that's it . . . I used to use Outlook as my sole organizing tool; recent technology advances make Outlook behind.

Does the book you are pushing give so much of an outstanding solution to return to outlook for everything?
it is a book written around a system involving task management and email management.

I'm primarily using the book as a go-to resource. I'm not a good system approach person - i like to pick and choose things that work and apply them to my own system.
I use the "Getting Things Done" methodology from David Allen. My biggest problem with Outlook is the lack of hierarchical tasks. If I have several tasks associated with a particular project, I can't simply refer to the next task in that project once I complete the first task on that list.

I prefer not to use Outlook add-ins because they don't sync properly with mobile Outlook apps for Palm or PocketPC.
That is another of my big complaints, Richard. Sure would be nice to have subtasks . . . but I guess that gets into MS Project (or whatever it is called.)
My biggest problem is my employer uses Lotus Notes. Having used Outlook for the past 6 years, it was a hard adjustment. Much of my first month was spent un-learning every time-saver I knew, and learning to kludge my way through the horror of Notes. Ugh
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