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Grouping Projects | Multiple Computers | Outlook | Palm

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  • Grouping Projects | Multiple Computers | Outlook | Palm

    Hello GTD Enthusiasts!

    This post may well wind up being a suggestion to the makers of the GTD Outlook Add-in than a question to other users, but I'm not sure. there is also useful information here about cool solutions you may want to check out.
    So, here it goes...

    I'm in the process of implementing the methodology, and while I am doing so, I am doing it on two computers-one of these machines is one that I have to use while I am working for my largest client in order to be on their network. The other is my own personal machine. I have chosen to go down the path of categorizing my projects, and hence my next actions, which as far as I can see using Outlook means using multiple Task folders. Here is where I'm at with Technology.

    1. I've implemented the GTD Add-In for Outlook on both machines.

    2. I've implemented Chapura Software's 'KeySuite' to allow me to sync multiple folders from Outlook to my Palm OS device. (This also allows for up to 250 categories per folder!).

    3. I've also implemented a little Outlook add-in called Extended Reminders that will allow you use the reminders function in Outlook in more than just the default folders, as Outlook is limited in it's 'out-of-the-box' state to only provide reminders in the default folders.

    4. I have a limited number of Task folders that I use, and here, I've decided to implement Stephen Covey's tip about viewing your life through the various roles that you play, so I have a Task folder for each of these roles. The idea is that I only enter information into the folders related to my consulting roles with this large client on their laptop, which is where I am when I'm thinking about those things. I also consult for more than one of their business units, and each of those can often have in excess of 20 projects a peice.

    The crux of the issue with this combination of solutions is that when you sync two computers to the same Palm Device, or even one for that matter, you cannot take your project list with you. I often wind up prioritizing my work based on which outcome/project I need to pay attention to right now, and so being able to group things by project using that view provided by the add-in in Outlook is critical.

    The only way I've thought of to achieve this on the Palm is that when I create a project/outcome I want to achieve, is to create a category with the same name so that I have the choice of viewing a project by action type (e.g., @Computer) or by the project name.

    Am I missing some critical piece of being effective with the methodology that I feel the need to do this? I wonder if trying to prioritize and re-focus according to project or outcome is slowing me down?

    My suggestion about the GTD Add-in is: #1 Make it work for multiple Task folders in Outlook, and #2, make it work so that you can see your projects too. This may be possible through a partnership with Chapura?

    Any thoughts welcome!

  • #2
    Projects identifier doesn't sync to the palm.

    You've identified one of the major weaknesses of the GTD add-in when syncing with the palm. Part of the challenge is that the palm to-do list doesn't provide the functionality needed to handle this. The other part is that there is a strong belief that you don't (or shouldn't) need to sort/group/prioritize by project.
    Personally I don't agree with that belief, and it is one of the key frustrations I have with my current set-up. I don't know if or when there will be a fix.
    There are a variety of approaches that forum members have taken in order to fix this deficiency, none of which are particularly satisfactory. Probably the easiest to implement is to include the project name (or code) in the subject line of each and every task. e.g. "[BGT] Review Travel Expenses" probably belongs to the Budget project...
    I also prefer outlook custom fields to a hierarchical folder structure, but that may be more trouble than its worth if you're using multiple computers. Plus, I've not yet found a way for custom fields to sync to the palm...



    • #3
      Originally posted by jpm
      I also prefer outlook custom fields to a hierarchical folder structure, but that may be more trouble than its worth if you're using multiple computers. Plus, I've not yet found a way for custom fields to sync to the palm...
      You can probably do it with some of the third-party Palm software. I use Beyond Contacts, which supports both custom fields and large numbers of categories. So my Next Actions have categories for their context, project, and focus area (household vs. business, for instance).