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Palm to Blackberry transition...Help!

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  • Palm to Blackberry transition...Help!

    Hi folks. I'm a few months into GTD. I'm still learning and and clearly seeing value in it. I've had an "Outlook dependency" for several years, and have appreciated the ability to sync Outlook with my Palm Treo. I've only had my Treo about a year but love the fact that I went from two "bricks" to one (Palm and phone previously). I'm about to make a job change and just learned the new employer will not support my Palm on the corporate server. Instead, it will issue me a Blackberry.

    I've never used a BB, but have been told by some colleagues that BBs are dominant in email capability but have weak applications otherwise. I've applied DA's tips on using GTD w/Palm/Outlook and been very satisfied with the outcome. My biggest concern is whether I can sync the BB with Outlook and apply the same GTD principles that I do now with my Palm. Specifically, I use the heck out of the task feature in Outlook and like having it available in the handheld. Do Outlook tasks sync with a BB? Can contexts for tasks be used on the BB?

    I'll be on the road a fair amount in my new job. I'll be given a laptop and cellphone or BB/cellphone combo. Can anyone offer advice on how best to make this transition? If possible, I'd like to keep it to one handheld device and not rely on paper any more than necessary for calendar, contact, and task management.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


  • #2
    Originally posted by 2toxic View Post
    Do Outlook tasks sync with a BB? Can contexts for tasks be used on the BB?

    Yes and yes.

    (a former Blackberry user)


    • #3
      I am using NextAction! on my BlackBerry Pearl and it works fine. NextAction! seems to be the only application that syncs with Outlook and offers an easy way to implement GTD on my BlackBerry.

      I found it through the article Implementing Getting Things Done with your Blackberry


      • #4
        I've just done exactly what you're talking about.

        I had a Treo for about a year, and used Agendus. I found it worked excellently with GTD.

        My employer has just issued me with a BB (the Pearl). I've had it for about a week. When it comes to email, contacts, calendar... I couldn't wish for a better device.

        The big problem I'm having is with tasks. Unfortunately that's a massive part of GTD.

        The tasks are all there. And you can filter them by category. But I'm finding it's like trying to learn to write with a different hand. The Palm worked so well with tasks, but with the BB I can't help but feel that everything is a little awkward and clumsy.

        I've seen all the posts raving about Next Action but you may find that, like me, your employer won't be happy at the idea of you installing software on your BB.


        • #5
          The thing I like about the BB tasks is the ease with which you can search. Having the "Find" line at the top allows you to start typing, and the with each letter you type the list shrinks. What is being returned are tasks which have not been completed and have that string of characters in the subject line.

          To be honest, I have abandoned assigning categories and instead use a word or two at the beginning of the line. For example, if I need to talk to Joe about something, my task might read "Joe-Want to go to the ballgame Friday?" When I see that on the task list, I can pick up the phone and call Joe. If Joe walks in my office unexpectedly, I can type "Joe" in the BB Find line and retrieve anything that has "Joe" in the subject line.

          Sometimes I include more than keyword. For example, if I need to talk to Scott, who is principal at Ellis Jr. High, my task might read "Scott-Ellis-Discuss math placement." If I see Scott face-to-face or pick up the phone, typing "Scott" in the find line returns everything I need to talk to him about. On the other hand, if I am at Ellis Jr. High, I can type "Ellis" in the find line and see everything I need to do while I am in that building.

          I find that using the keyword approach rather than contexts gives me more flexibility.


          • #6
            As far as syncing with Outlook, when I got my BlackBerry, I bought a copy of BlackBerry in a Snap. I am sure there are others good books in the market. This one included step-by-step directions for syncing with Outlook.

            Since you are already syncing your Palm with Outlook and probably have a good bit of stuff in Outlook, I will mention this--The only problem I have ever had with syncing the BlackBerry with Outlook was my first attempt. I had a number of attachments associated with my tasks. It was great to have a repeating task that talked about updating a spreadsheet and actually have the spreadsheet right there in the task.

            The sync process was not working, and it turned out that was why. Once I located those attachments and drug them out of the tasks, everything went fine.



            • #7

              Thanks everyone for the tips. I just got the new laptop today and expect to receive the BB by the end of the week. I'll check back in if I get stuck.



              • #8
                If you need a guide on how to synchronize your BlackBerry Pearl with Outlook for example, there is a good how to I used:

                How to synchronize my BlackBerry with my Desktop Computer

                It works fine for me. The biggest advantage of the BlackBerry is the easy going synchronization and installation of additional and secure applications.

                @faskham: Sure some companies restrict the BlackBerry's ability to install third party applications. But most of them allow this as long as the BlackBerry application is signed. Most of the market leading application are signed with a signature that has been issued by RIM itself. Therefor your employer doesn't need to be afraid of _signed_ 3rd party apps


                • #9
                  Hi everybody,

                  Another Blackberry fan signing in. I too was a long time user of Palm OS (right from the days of PalmVx) toyed briefly with WindowsMobile on an O2 device but am now a certified loyal Crackberry user (at least for the last 6 months or so).

                  There are some areas where PalmOs/Treo is better but there are other places where Blackberry rules. First is stability. After a couple of months use my Treo 600 was prone to crashes and restarts, but Blackberry is still going strong (however I must mention I had a trackwheel problem but my service provider was very quick to replace the handset).

                  Secondly I love Blackberry's feature of having unlimited categories. I would go really mad each time I'd reach a 8 category limit and then have to consider reassigning certain categories in my Treo. Furthermore Blackberry's syncing with Outlook is extremely tight. All Contacts, Appointments, tasks fit neatly into the right fields and categories in Outlook, (Don't quite recall how good Palm's syncing was with Outlook, but the way Blackberry syncs is certainly exceptional).

                  Finally, the really beauty of having Blackberry is when you (or your Office) install Blackberry Server. Too that it is simply awesome, is an understatement. It gels just so well with the GTD philosophy of not having to think about the system and focusing on actually Getting Things Done. If you have the Blackberry Server installed all your Tasks, Calendar items and Contacts are ALWAYS in sync with your desktop. So each time you either Add/Edit/Delete a Task/Appointment/Contact in your handheld it is instantly synced no matter which part of the world you are in! This has been such a productivity boost for me. I make hundreds of changes to my tasks/appointments/contacts at my desktop (and my handheld) in a day and it's such a relief that after doing so, if there's a phone call and I have to rush to a project site (or back to office), I instictively pick up my Bberry and am still in control as my updated list next actions (my @car, @calls, @anywhere) is just an arm-length away.

                  All of this and I've not even talked about Blackberry's main USP of having your emails always at hand.

                  In summary 2toxic, I'm certainly quite happy with my investment in Blackberry and I think in a while you'll begin to feel quite at home with it too.

                  Keep smiling

                  ps. Anytime you're stuck using your Bberry, feel free to message me, would be glad to help out.