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All tasks flagged in Outlook 2007 (OT)

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  • All tasks flagged in Outlook 2007 (OT)

    I'm in the process of migrating from Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2007 (using Marc Orchant's new book "Unofficial Guide to OL 2007" to ease the transition). One vexing problem I've encountered is that OL 2007 has flagged every one of the 400+ tasks that were in my task lists in OL 2003. So now, all 400 of them appear in Outlook's new "To-Do List" bar. From what I can see, there is no way to remove the flags. Each task would have to be deleted or marked complete... and then re-entered. Yuk!

    I've also lost all of the special GTD views that install with the Netcentrics add-in. (I am using the current 2.5.21 version.) I no longer have the options to view lists of tasks aggregated by project, by sub-project or by action. The boxes that are used to assign Project, Sub-Project or Action in the task, journal and appointment windows are too narrow and truncate the entries. And finally, I see no way to assign an incoming e-mail to a project.

    Has anyone out there experienced these difficulties? And how have you been able to rectify them?

  • #2
    I had similar issues. The fact is I learned to use flags and labels in new outlook to my advantage.
    Flags don't really make any difference so I left them there. The way I my tasks show up is by category. You can do this if you go to view menu and play around with it. Also the important fact is to have colour labels named as different categories e.g. projects; agendas; NAs etc. If you do this you can simply put a colour label next to the email to assign it to a category and if you also flag it it will be copied to your to to list. It's that simple.
    I am not using any add-in programs.


    • #3
      Thank you, David0203, for your kind assistance.

      I quickly discovered that deleting tasks and then re-entering them wouldn’t allow me to remove the flags. Evidently, Microsoft is of the opinion that ALL tasks need to be followed up and therefore need to be flagged. This seems like a genuine shortcoming, from a GTD point of view, since the getting-everything-that-holds-your-attention-out-of-your-mind-and-into-a-trusted-system leads to long task lists. Reducing the clutter by leaving everything unflagged that doesn’t need to be looked at again until the next weekly review seemed like a nifty approach…. and New Outlook allows us to achieve that result, even though it flags all tasks, by setting the flag—with a quick and simple right-click operation—for items we need to pay attention to either today, or tomorrow, or this week, or next week. A number of GTDers have used temporal categories (@ThisWeek, !ThisWeek, !Today, etc.) to accomplish the same thing, but I’m finding the New Outlook flags and the To-Do Bar much more useful.

      Oh, I was able to get all of the GTD add-in views back and the solution was embarrassingly simple. I've been largely ambivalent about the Netcentrics GTD Add-in in the past, but the latest version adds so much functionality, and works so well with the new Outlook, I have a hard time imagining why any Outlook-centric GTDer would choose not to use them together.


      • #4
        I haven't heard of the Netcentric add-in you are mentioning. Could you please point me to where I can find more info on this.



        • #5
          Where to find NetCentrics?

          Originally posted by David0203 View Post
          I haven't heard of the Netcentric add-in you are mentioning. Could you please point me to where I can find more info on this.
          Maybe search for netcentrics using Google?

          Or find it in the DavidCo shop

          Or go directly to

          You can also find more information using this forum's search function.
          Last edited by TesTeq; 05-11-2007, 02:52 AM.


          • #6
            Thanks for the info TesTeq


            • #7
              Take the Trial... and READ THE MANUAL

              David0203, Netcentrics offers a free 30-day trial. I would encourage you to download and install the trial. Once installed, go to Start | All Programs | Getting Things Done and then open (and print out) a copy of the pdf User Manual. It's an excellent guide to using the add-in and David Allen's GTD methodology for getting the most out of Outlook. That way, you'll avoid the mistake I made. I was an early, early adopter (because I came across David Allen's work very early on) but I never used the add-in consistently or well. The latest version is profoundly improved over what they started with and right now I'm doing exactly what I've recommended to you: reading through the manual from beginning to end. It's a great help.


              • #8
                This might be a stupid question but does it support the new version of outlook (Outlook)?


                • #9
                  Never mind my previous question. I just saw under system requirements that it does support it.


                  • #10
                    Outlook 2007 and OneNote 2007


                    I am using Oultook 2007 and using the categories for my @lists too and I love it. I am however not certain how to manage my projects (anything that requires more than one action) with it. How are you handling projects?

                    I am exploring managing my projects through OneNote 2007, but am not settled yet.

                    Anyone using OneNote for GTDing?



                    • #11
                      OneNote for projects

                      OneNote 2007 is an absolute gem, especially when partnered with Outlook 2007. A search of these forums will quickly show you that a number of GTDers use OneNote as a primary GTD and/or project management tool. Some of the Microsoft people working in the OneNote development group have posted blogs describing how they use OneNote as their own personal project management tool. (I think it’s noteworthy that the folks who know OneNote most intimately use it personally and are ebullient in their praise for what it allows them to do.)

                      I’ve never believed that there is any one tool that is optimal for planning and managing all projects, since projects vary so much in scope and scale, but I’m beginning to believe that OneNote may be the best choice for most—if not nearly all—of the projects that most of us have to deal with most of the time. How so? Because most projects are more than a list of discrete tasks to be completed. They often involve the gathering, organization and manipulation of information. OneNote excels at collecting and organizing information, especially in an age when much of that information comes to us digitally—as e-mail messages, web clippings, electronic documents, meeting notes, etc.

                      As you no doubt have already discovered, the integration between the latest versions of Outlook and OneNote is superb, and not just Outlook tasks, although follow-up flags and Outlook’s new To-Do Bar have made OneNote much more useful as a task originator. And since OneNote can create outlines—and turn any item into an Outlook task—it’s possible to create a “project plan” with a hierarchical ordering of sub-projects, tasks, sub-tasks, etc.

                      I also use MindManager, which is unsurpassed for 'brainstorming' a new project. MindManager would be far more useful if I could link a branch in a MindManager map to a page or paragraph in OneNote. One of MindManager's virtues has always been its ability to integrate with Outlook, Excel, Project, etc. But it doesn't talk with OneNote. That's a pity. Mindjet's really missing the boat.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by smithdoug View Post
                        Oh, I was able to get all of the GTD add-in views back and the solution was embarrassingly simple.
                        Would you mind explaining how you achieved this for those of us about to upgrade? (but please do not be embarrassed on my behalf).

                        I am an inveterate outliner of ideas and projects and have read with interest your posts here and elsewhere on the usefulness of OneNote, though I am not using it yet. Integration with MindManager would be useful and given Mindjet's alertness to the need to integrate with Office, surely they will consider this? Perhaps we should lobby for it.


                        • #13
                          GTD Netcentrics Add-on and Outlook 2007

                          Doug and David,
                          I just downloaded the GTD Netcentrics add on last night and after reading the help section very excited to use it. I have been considering upgrading to Outlook (0ffice) 2007 but don't want to have problems using the add on. I would really appreciate some help avoiding the glitches with the upgrade. Would you gentlemen be willing to walk me through it? Thanks,


                          • #14
                            I am sorry DanWoodsMD but I am afraid I am not able to help you with this because I ended up not using the add-in. It was just too expensive for my budget. I am just a poor student .

                            I had it installed for only several minutes just to see what it looks like and didn't want to spend too much time on it because I knew I can't buy it.



                            • #15

                              In my experience, the GTD Add-In seems to run better with Outlook 2007 than it did with OL2003. Once in a while OL2003 would have to disable the add-in. I can only recall that happening once with OL2007.

                              I’m really liking OL2007 a lot. The issue of Outlook automatically flagging all tasks has become a non-issue. I always have the “No Date” tasks collapsed on Outlook’s new To Do bar and slide them out of the way so that the Today, Tomorrow, This Week, Next Week tasks are the only ones visible. The Week Calendar view is the one I tend to have open because it gives me a fairly complete dashboard of my work week. I print out a copy to slip in a notebook that goes with me when I leave my shop. And on the back side, I print an expanded copy of Outlook’s To Do list (printable from the calendar view by selecting anything in the To Do bar, or from the task list).

                              Some will argue that this is GTD heresy since I’m not listing actions by Context. But at this particular stage in my life I’m @Office most waking moments, where with telephone and computer and everything else I need close at hand most of the traditional “contexts” blend together. Outlook flags become placeholders to remind me of those things I’ve already decided I want to focus on Today, Tomorrow, This Week, etc. so that I can just start cranking away at them. Davidco’s Outlook Whitepaper uses all-day tasks as a hack to accomplish the same thing. Apparently they’re in the process of re-writing the whitepaper to take into consideration OL2007’s new capabilities. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

                              The one thing that really captured my attention with OL2007 when I first saw screen shots of the beta version a year or so ago was the task list that appeared below each day in the weekly or daily calendar and the ease with which they could be dragged onto the calendar. I find it useful to block out chunks of time for working on the project that’s currently occupying my attention this way, allowing me, for example, to schedule 9am to 1pm every day next week. There are almost always interruptions, of course. But I find that blocking out time for those activities that require a lot of concentrated focus and effort can be quite effective at nudging me back to what I’ve predetermined I should be doing.

                              My greatest GTD epiphany in a long time relates directly to the GTD Add-In. By far, most of my next actions can be related to a project. They’re “look into”, “check out”, “consider”- types of placeholders for projects that are somewhere in the pipeline but not projects that I’m actively engaged with right now. I tag these tasks/actions with the appropriate project (and sub-project) but I DON’T tag them with an @action context… not until I’m prepared to engage with them. These items then appear where it’s most useful for me to see them and to think about them—with everything else relevant to that particular project—and they don’t clutter up my @context action lists. I find this makes my @context lists much more useful. You can do this with the Outlook/GTD combo, but not with Outlook alone.

                              I encountered only two hiccups when migrating to the OL2007/GTD Add-In combination. Microsoft changed the Outlook database format with the 2003 version. I was unaware of this since OL2003 was compatible with the older format. The older format is not compatible with Outlook 2007, however, so if your Outlook data goes back several years and you haven’t made the conversion, you will need to do so. I don’t recall how that is done, although it was a fairly simple process. I found the instructions by searching Microsoft’s web site. If you encounter difficulties, perhaps I can point you to it.

                              The only other issue I encountered was the one mentioned in this string, where I lost my GTD views after installing OL2007. The fix was simple: Go to Start | All Programs | Getting Things Done | Admin Tool and check “Restore GTD Folders and Views on Startup”.

                              Of course, as always, back up your Outlook data and make sure you have a clean copy in reserve before doing anything else.
                              Last edited by smithdoug; 06-23-2007, 10:13 AM.