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Palm Desktop or Outlook at home and Lotus Notes at work

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  • Palm Desktop or Outlook at home and Lotus Notes at work

    Hello All:

    It has been a while since I studied David's book, Getting Things Done, for the first time (probably a little over 1 year ago). I was pumped and began implementing the process. Before too long, I became frustrated because I could not harmonize the process between the office and home.

    I tried to implement the process using Palm Desktop (at home), a Palm Organizer (T3) and Lotus Notes (at work).

    The frustrating part was that the Lotus Notes to do list is truly inflexible and does not handle categories all that well. Also, I noticed that the syncing of the palm to Lotus Notes really doesn't handle the changes in tasks on the palm unit or the Home Palm Desktop very well (i.e. purged tasks on the palm don't always translate into crossed off todos in Notes - it became a big mess!!. Blahh Blahh Blahh... etc.. - sorry for rambling ).

    Finally, I am rereading the GTD book and I am once again inspired to implement the process. So, I am looking for any tips on the subject of implementing the process knowing that:

    1) I am required to use the Notes email and Calendar at work;
    2) I don't have remote access (so I cant see any of it from home or on the road;
    3) I have the option of using Outlook or Palm Desktop at home.

    How open ended is this?



  • #2
    I have the same problem and same frustrations. You're right -- the Palm does not sync/interact well with Lotus Notes at all and that is my biggest gripe with Palm. (Really, it's a gripe with Lotus Notes, but, like you, I'm, stuck with Notes and can't do anything about it.) The poor interaction between Lotus Notes and Palm is also the reason why my company won't allow remote email access via Palm, so I am seriously considering picking up a third device (Blackberry), ugh. In my case, I am required to use Lotus Notes for email, but no one cares how I keep track of my calendar, To Do list, etc. So, even though I have been syncing everything to Lotus Notes, I am thinking of abandoning Lotus Notes (for everything except email) and just syncing my Palm handheld to the Palm Desktop (which my IT dept. did allow me to install on my office computer). That may or may not be an option for you. Another option is to sync to both -- that may sound cumbersome but it doesn't take much extra time, and then you are compliant with your office requirement to use Lotus Notes, but you've also got the Palm system that may work a little better for you. What I find myself doing now is syncing to my office computer mainly for backup purposes, but working more off of the handheld because the Palm formats work so much better.

    Bottom line is that I can't offer much more than sympathy/empathy ... hope someone else has some good suggestions!


    • #3
      Sympath / empathy is good !!! Thanks for caring enough to reply !!!

      I've never thought of the twice thing. Perhaps I will shut off the sync to my Lotus Notes todo list and sync a second time to Palm Desktop.

      I've seen some pretty good work arounds to other issues. Perhaps someone will come back with something.

      By the way, Dallas Lawyer, you must deal with some pretty significant client projects / files.

      How do you routinely revisit, review, develop and update next actions relative to client projects in your GTD System?

      I, too, am in the Service Industry and deal with some pretty hairy client centric projects. Just curious. This is probably too large a question to answer any time soon. The insight would be helpful.

      Thanks again,



      • #4
        Notes may not be evil....

        Having led a Notes/Outlook project at work, there's a lot of emotion about what Notes does and what MS does. I've found w/Notes 6 categories work just fine. Also remember, DA Company is a Notes shop, so the technology can't be an insurmountable barrier.

        As usual, YMMV....


        • #5
          Chris, once again I wish I had sage words of advice, but I'm still struggling with this, too, so I'm a long way from having a model system. Here is the best system I've come up with so far for keeping on top of my cases. I oversee > 100 cases, so I cannot possibly keep track, in my head, of what's happening in each one or what needs to be done next (or who's supposed to do it). I tried creating a Palm memo for each case, but found that the memo sizes were too small for me. So instead I now have a folder on my computer called "Palm Memos," and in the folder are separate Word documents for each case. I don't try to keep comprehensive notes in those documents (that would take too long and defeat the purpose). Instead, I just keep minimal notes to myself about status, key pieces of information, etc. At the top of each one, I have a line beginning with either "NA" (next action, for myself) or "WF" (waiting for, from someone else), so when someone calls me to ask where we are in the case, I can tell them. I then use Documents to Go to copy those Word documents onto my Palm, so that I have them with me when traveling, in meetings, etc. I also make sure to enter a calendar entry at some point to remind me to either get the NA done or follow up with whatever I'm WF. That seems to work reasonably well, but the problem I'm having is that it takes so much time just to keep those "minimal" notes updated that I have not been keeping up with it. But I'm still hoping to get there eventually, and in the meantime, something is better than nothing. Now if I could just figure out how to make time for those weekly reviews!!


          • #6
            Just realized that I forgot to log in before posting that last response ...


            • #7
              Give Commontime MNotes a try. I believe there is a trial. Like you I use Lotus Notes at work, but do not like it for tasks. MNotes does an excellent job with the Calendar and excellent with will even copy down your email folder list to your device, so that you can file emails on your Palm or PPC and they will be synced back to Notes where you will find them in the folder you moved them to on the handheld - incredible. Its probably very good with Tasks too although I choose not to use this with Lotus. Commontime Tech support is first rate, but have to say the app is very solid.

              MNotes ==>

              FYI, I use PhatNotes for my "Task" application It has a Desktop and Palm or PPC client (PPC in my case). Its simple, like Palm Desktop, but is a Note taking application rather than a Task client per se. However, it lets you use definable categories, you can link notes to each other either on the Desktop or Handheld, (NAs to Projects), and has alarms. You can also use multiple databases, and individual notes can be password protected. I believe it also interacts with Outlook Notes. I don't use Outlook so can't comment on that. I use the Note field for the Project detail, and also can see links in the same screen, and if you click on the link you go right to the note.

              PhatNotes ==>

              best regards,



              • #8
                Hey DallasLawyer, thanks. I need to consider your Desktop Folders methodolgy for Case Files. I, too, am a user of Docs To Go and love it. I can certainly see downloading the folders for the "hot" cases. Thanks.

                Philip, can I load MNotes on my work computer myself or do I need to have my IT people work with it to interface it with my Lotus Notes? I am currently downloading the trial version of MNotes for Palm. Is this the only software download I need? I can't tell from their website.

                Thanks for the comments,



                • #9

                  I have the same setup - Notes at work, Palm Desktop at home and a T3.

                  I also use mNotes and have found it to be very versatile. I particularly like the fact that I can see meeting data (chair, invitees, etc), and also that I can trigger an invitation from the Palm.

                  But, from a GtD perspective, the best thing about mNotes as that its mail client allows me to specify Notes folders on mail that I want synced. I sync my -ACTION and -WAITING FOR folders, allowing me to have access to these any where.

                  Very easy to install - I didn't need any help from the IT people.

                  One note, though, is that with mNotes on a computer, it blocks syncing of other programs. So Versamail wont sync on my work computer. But it still does at home, for my private email. So its actually a good thing.

                  I've tried the Lotus syncing software, Intellisync, and now mNotes. mNotes is by far the stablest and most reliable, and the most feature rich.


                  • #10
                    Mondo, thanks for your commentary. I am supposed to be vacationing tomorrow. However, I am so pumped to install and try MNotes that I may go in for a while to install and try MNotes.



                    • #11
                      More info on Notes & GTD....

                      Be sure to explore the "Gear, Gadgets, Software, and Toys" forum on the DavidCo site. There, you will find several posts that have covered some of the topics being discussed here. (Do a search for "Lotus Notes")

                      There are also several posts on the topic of using Lotus Notes on my personal blog, including a few on the topic of Notes/Palm mobile sync. (Use search to find what you want)

                      I'm following this thread via RSS. I'll make a detailed post in a day or two.


                      • #12
                        You might want to consider the Outlook-Notes connector, it puts an Outlook face on Lotus Notes, I forget the full URL but google olconn2 and it should be the first hit.

                        Takes some effort to get started, but removes the need to have mNotes, uninstalled mine today, does not seem to permit the addition of the netCentrics add-in but will work with the manual set-up of Outlook for GTD. My current arrangement is Outlook on top of Lotus Notes, synced to Pocket Informant on PPC with PhatNotes Standard (syncs notes to Outlook and is category-aware). Next I am going to trade up to Outlook 2003 and then bolt on OneNote, then maybe when I can afford it Mindmanager

                        Hope this is of interest