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Extending GTD Outlook Addin Projects to Journal Items

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  • Extending GTD Outlook Addin Projects to Journal Items


    I use Outlook journal items extensively, and recently installed the GTD Outlook Addin. I want to extend the Addin's project construct to journal items. I created a new journal form with a 'project' text box. This allows me to assign journal items to projects, but without Addin features such as the project dropdown, which I'd like to be able to use.

    I'd appreciate any advice.

    Thank you & regards,

  • #2
    Journal Items


    I am watching your post for a reply to a great idea. I am also interested in what you use the Journal for and how you use it.


    • #3
      Extending GTD Outlook Addin Projects to Journal Items

      In general, I use journal items to:
      o keep time records
      o record individual actions and events
      - payments and financial transactions
      - communications with service providers, such as banks, credit card companies, utilities, physicans, insurers
      - with respect to specific projects, in the GTD sense of same
      - with respect to specific people
      o reconstruct action and event sequences with respect to:
      - a specific project, in the GTD sense of same
      - a particular 'domain' -- people [family & friends], finances, medical & health, utilities, home, art & culture, spirit & religion, mind [books & publications]
      - a particular contact -- person, company, institution, service, etc.
      o create status reports

      I find the following capabilities of Outlook journal items useful:
      o attachments of documents and Outlook objects
      o annotation, with limited formatting
      o linking to contacts
      o time/date stamping
      o type of activity ('Entry type')

      Some potential objections to using Outlook journal items are:
      o not integrated with GTD Outlook Addin - such integration would save me a lot of time, hence my initial post on this topic
      o duplicative of list management capabilities of Outlook tasks
      o entering journal items entails additional, sometimes duplicative, work, arguably violates the GTD precept of minimizing work required to operate the system

      Examples of journaling with Outlook in several personal domains:

      mind [books, periodicals, blogs, discussion forums]
      o starting/renewing/cancelling subscriptions to periodicals
      o receiving/accepting/returning a book club selection

      o birthday gifts sent
      o events -- births, illness, occasions, deaths
      o updates to contact information
      o gift ideas

      o rent/mortgage payments
      o apartment issues
      o repairs
      o email, telephone, and other communications between me and my landlady, other tenants

      laptop system administration
      o system and software configuration changes
      o software installed/uninstalled/updated/upgrade/downgraded
      o hardware changes/upgrades
      o maintenance (e.g., disk defragmentation)
      o system crashes, including error messages
      o disk and other system failures
      o telephone, email, and other communications regarding software and hardware technical support

      o deposits to accounts
      o transfers between accounts
      o telephone, email, mail, and other communications with financial institutions, e.g.
      - open account
      - close account
      - link accounts
      o applications for credit
      o requests for credit bureau reports

      medical & health
      o notes of meetings, telephone calls, email, and other communications with healthcare providers and insurers
      o prescription medications
      - for example, starting, changing, or concluding a course of medication
      o courses of treatment
      - for example, daily exercises prescribed by a physical therapist
      o medical events
      - injuries
      - illnesses
      - vaccinations
      - procedures
      - examinations and tests

      utilities (gas, electric, internet, water, cable television, satellite radio)
      o payments
      o telephone, email, mail, and other communications with utility companies
      o service changes, repairs, outages, and billing



      • #4

        I fired up Journaling in Outlook yesterday. I've never really used it as a tracking system, but I sure liked what I saw. Is it possible to share some of your Subject text (changing the names to protect the innocent ) Do you use GTD context and so on. Thanks.


        P.S. Loved the list above.


        • #5
          I filed this reference away a while ago for possible future use

          Outlook administration tools
          ModifyProfile.exe File size: 110 KB
          TCOProf Install.exe File size: 120 KB
          Changeforms.exe File size: 154 KB
          Formsadmin.exe File size: 100 KB

          The following tools are for designed for Outlook 2000 administrators and developers:

          Outlook 2000 Modify Profile Utility (Modprof.exe)
          Outlook TCO Migration Utility (TCOprof.exe)
          Outlook 2000 Forms Administrator (Formswap.exe)
          Outlook 2000 Existing Items Converter (Changeform.dll)

          Scroll down about 2/3rd's of the page to find the files.

          I think the changeforms.exe program could do what you need, but I haven't tried it myself.

          Good luck and let us know if it works.

          PS - back up your outlook PST file first

          Try here for Outlook 2003 :


          • #6
            Extending GTD Outlook Addin Projects to Journal Items

            Is it possible to share some of your Subject text (changing the names to protect the innocent Smile ) Do you use GTD context and so on. Thanks.
            I added Project and Action fields to Outlook journal items to support GTD, and replaced the 'Entry type' field with Action. In addition, I added the following fields:
            • Sender -- the initiator, if any, of an action
              Recipient -- the target or object, if any, of an action
            The GTD Addin uses the Action field to store context (@Agenda, @Waiting For, etc.) The way I'm using it in journal items, the meaning of 'context' refers more specifically to the generic type of action -- what you actually did, and doesn't connote location or access to people, facilities, and resources, as it does in tasks. E.g., 'telephone' in a journal item means a telephone call rather than access to a telephone, whereas 'anywhere' is meaningless. Thus, I use a subset of my 'context' terms in journal items, typically:.
            • email
              note (in the sense of Outlook Notes)
            I link journal entries to the relevant contacts so I can retrieve actions & events with respect to a particular contact using Outlook's activity facility.
            Typical journal item subjects:
            • birthday gift
              shipped birthday gift
              responded to invite
              purchased train tickets to my brother's for Thanksgiving
              paid telephone 123 456 7890 check 1234 $12.34 14 Feb 2005
              paid cablemodem account 1234567 check 1235 $32.81 14 Feb 2005
              submitted service request re including project and action dropdown lists in Outlook journal items
              registered with David Allen GTD forum
              reset password at David Allen GTD forum
              regarding status [of the referenced project]
              regarding travel schedule [in connection with the referenced project]
              in response to my email [telephone call, etc.]
              left vmail regarding status
              updated contact info
            Some of these items could also be ad hoc tasks.

            Finally, I don't recommend Outlook's automated journaling capability. I tried it briefly and found it overly resource intensive -- too much cpu and disk usage.

            Hope you find this useful.