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For Outlook users, how do you list projects?

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  • For Outlook users, how do you list projects?

    Hi Folks,

    I use Outlook 2007 as my institution is Outlook-based. I have all of my next actions in Outlook per the different contexts of @computer, @online, @errands, @office, someday/maybe, etc. But I struggle with the best way to have a projects list. I currently have a list of projects under a .Projects list as that comes to the top of the list. I also maintain a projects list in Achieve Planner as that allows me to schedule block time for projects in a very nice manner and synchs very well with Outlook. But I am curious as to how others maintain their projects list. I am finding that this list has to be easily accessible, and must be very fluid and easy to per discussions in other threads about moving inactive projects to the someday/maybe context...and only maintaining active projects for the next couple of weeks or so on the projects list.

    How do you all do this in Outlook?


  • #2
    Listing projects

    I am using outlook 2003 with pocketthinker a good program for keeping all project list and related next action. This will work great because we can easly integrate the next action with the task/calendar section of the outlook.
    Iam not tried the program with outlook 2007
    you can find the product here :



    • #3
      I have my Projects listed in Tasks together with my Actions. Instead of @Contexts I have the projects divided into categories of "Health", "Marketing" "Planning/Teaching" etc and other areas of my life. They appear under my actions since the categories don't begin with @. I also use autoformat so that all Projects appear in blue.

      After experimenting with various other tools and fancy add ons I find this simple method by far the most efficient. Actions can easily be changed to Projects and viceversa. I also have a sub folder for Sometime/Maybe so projects and actions can easily be dragged and dropped to that and back again.

      The links between project and actions are kept in my head which is by far the most simple, flexible and efficient tool for doing this.


      • #4
        In Outlook, I use Tasks to combine the project with the NA.

        For starters, I set the Task View to group by Category. The categories that I use are:

        @Waiting For

        Since I have three major components of my life right now, I start each task subject line with a code:

        [J] denotes freelance projects
        [N] denotes work projects
        [H] denotes personal/family projects

        From there, I add the project name:

        [J] ABC.COM
        [H] GARDEN

        After that, the next action:

        [J] ABC.COM: Research site concepts
        [N] WEBSITE OVERHAUL: Find CSS example for bulleted list
        [H] GARDEN: Buy more carrot seeds

        Each task is then assigned to one of the categories above. I create three different views, one each for [H], [N], and [J] with the filter set to filter by the bracketed letter.

        When I want to look at my home projects, I go to that view and all of my home projects are then displayed by context (category) where I will see a project list as well as the next action for that project.

        In the Notes section of the task is where I track four components:

        1) Plans. This is my list of next actions. I just cut and paste these into the subject line once one action is completed.

        2) History. My "cover my ass" notes of what happened and with whom. Very helpful as an employee in a large organization.

        3) Contacts. Contact information for people I'm working with on that particular project.

        4) Notes: Collection links, ideas, etc. related to the project.



        • #5
          I've tried several methods but this is what works for me.

          I have a contact category called PROJECTS. I list all of the projects there.

          For each project I link or create tasks that use categories for the context. They can be viewed in the activity tab. Only the NA gets a normal priority. All other tasks get a different priority (other than normal). I use a filter to hide all non-normal priorities. In the task view (sorted by category) I use the contact field to indicate what project a task is linked to.

          The next part is manual but not any more than using paper with a list for projects and NA's. If anyone has an automated way of doing this let me know.

          I click on the project/contact and select the activity tab to look at my next NA. I select it and change the priority so it appears under the appropriate category/context close it and check the first task complete. I hide completed tasks to keep it clean.

          Areas where I have a problem are with my Palm. I use Keysuite, which will not allow you to hide priorities so I have to sort them. Although lately I have been assigning all my non-NA project tasks to a category called Projects. It adds an extra step to the manual part above by having to reassign a category to the task. The nice part is that it is still linked to the project. I used to use LifeBalance for automating this by setting NA's in a cascading branch the shifted the tasks up as top NA's were completed. However, LifeBalance only works with the built in system. The built in system doesn't have all of the fields, linking ability or range of categories.

          Hope this helps.


          • #6
            Projects as contact items

            I use a contact-item folder named Projects to maintain my projects list, similar to Bill Kratz' method, though I don't use any custom forms.

            Each project is created as a contact in that folder, with the project name in the First Name field. When I create an NA in the Tasks folder, I can associate it with a project by clicking the Contact button at the bottom, choosing the Projects folder in the Look In box, and then choosing the project from the list below. I can associate a sub-project with it's parent in the same way. I can open a Project and click on the Activities tab to see all of the NAs that have been created for that project along with whether or not they are completed, as well as any sub-projects.

            I set the Projects folder not to show up in my address book or to be searched when Outlook is trying to autocomplete email addresses.

            I don't use categories to group the projects, since the Contacts button brings up an fairly inflexible list that does not group by category. Instead I prefix the name of each project with a general category (i.e. Home, Work, Personal, etc.) which I've found makes the list easy enough to use.

            I move completed projects to another folder.


            • #7
              stikkit dot com

              I am totally new to GTD method and am working to get stikkit dot com to manage for me. I suspect my method so far is quite crude as compared to previous posts.


              • #8
                Netcentrics Outlook Add-In

                I think I've tried just about every technique mentioned above but keep coming back to the official GTD Add-In (developed by Netcentrics in collaboration with the David Allen Company) as the better solution. The new project center in the latest release gives one place to see all e-mail messages, appointments, journal entries (notes) and tasks related to a particular project. That's powerful. I consider most of the methods described here as work-arounds or hacks for what the add-in does more efficiently and elegantly.

                Truth is, I often do much of my project planning--at least for larger projects (as so too, apparently, does David Allen)--in MindManager. This helps keep project task or "next action" lists from becoming unwieldy. Then, I can bring only those next actions that need to move forward during the next week or two into Outlook and tag them with the particular project and/or sub-project (and likely "flag" them as well).


                • #9
                  OneNote 2007

                  I struggled with Outlook for a long time and have just in the last month moved my GTD system to OneNote 2007, which has great integration with Outlook, and a lot more.

                  So far I love it.

                  Search the forums for "OneNote 2007" and look for a blog by 7breaths. I used his (her?) setup as a starting point, and made a few tweaks along the way.

                  Love it love it love it love it.


                  • #10
                    I'm just a simple cave man... I have a category called "Projects" (separate from my @categories), and each project is a task in that category.

                    After months of resisting and not believing David Allen when he says, "if you're doing your weekly reviews, you don't need a physical link between your projects and next actions," I finally see the light. The key for me in reaching this point was to move a boatload of projects to Someday/Maybe and get my Projects list down to a size that I could easily wrap my tiny mind around.


                    • #11
                      OneNote,...Outlook 2007, 8125 PPC

                      Originally posted by antoineg View Post
                      I struggled with Outlook for a long time and have just in the last month moved my GTD system to OneNote 2007, which has great integration with Outlook, and a lot more.

                      So far I love it.

                      Search the forums for "OneNote 2007" and look for a blog by 7breaths. I used his (her?) setup as a starting point, and made a few tweaks along the way.

                      Love it love it love it love it.
                      How is Onenote doing? I am a new GTD'r,...just started using Outlook 2007,...using the 8125 PPC with Pocket Informant PIM. Is OneNote syncing ok with the PDA? It seems like I read something referencing OneNote having a 'disconnect' or something. I don't want to re-invent the wheel. From everything I have seen so far related to the GTD Outlook plug-in, has not really been updated to take advantage of all the power of the new Outlook '07 features, has just been updated to 'work' with Outlook '07. Thus, there are now whitepapers yet for it.

                      Have you found anyone commenting on GTD and OneNote setup?