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GTD with Outlook & Avoiding email

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  • GTD with Outlook & Avoiding email

    I use MS Outlook tasks to organize my next actions & projects.

    My problem is:
    I have a real hard time when going into Outlook to look at my task list and NOT checking Email since it is a simple click of the button away. Then, I get swept up in cleaning out my email inbox. Then Poof! xxx minutes later I am back at trying to figure out my next action with that time gone.

    Any suggestions to alleviate the great Email time sink?

    One thought was to update & print out task list (perhaps daily) and use that instead.


  • #2
    Open OL Tasks in a new window

    Outlook allows you to open Tasks (or any other folder) in its own window. Right-click on the folder you want and select "Open in New Window." That will let you open up Tasks and see your Projects and Next Actions in a separate window, without your Inbox there. You can then minimize or close your Inbox so you don't see it there, which could reduce the feeling of needing to check the Inbox and process the email.


    • #3
      I have the same problem. I print out my task list, which helps. Still sometimes my actions require me to send emails, which forces me to open up Outlook and I end up stuck in the email trap. I guess I should save up all the emails I need to send until "email time".

      I love having my task list printed out. I scribble all over it during the day then update it in the afternoon before I go home. Otherwise I'll be fiddling with it instead of working.


      • #4
        Task icon on desktop

        You can go into Outlook with the Outlook Bar or folder list visible and then click on the tasks icon and drag and drop it on your desktop. This will create a shortcut on your desktop that will open only your tasks, nothing else will be visible.
        Of course this can also be done for Calendar, Notes, etc...


        • #5
          Work offline

          At least that way you'll only do it once. Don't download email again until you're done actually doing next actions.


          • #6
            How about using Outlook Express?


            • #7
              Change your email address and don't tell anyone


              • #8
                Blank Folder

                I also feel the temptation to read new e-mail while trying to get other tasks done within the e-mail system (sending e-mail, using calendar, etc) - it's just hard with all the fresh e-mail staring at you. My solution was to create a folder called "Blank" with nothing in it, and keep that folder selected. I use Lotus Notes, but imagine the same thing could be done in Outlook. It keeps me out of the inbox, and the e-mail out of sight.


                • #9
                  avoiding Email in Outlook

                  Set up Outlook so that email is NOT the default view when you open it....I open to a default pane consisting of my calendar and task list and start there every day, which avoids the 'daily distraction' of my new messages.


                  • #10
                    I do a few things, some of which others have already commented on:

                    1. My Outlook is set to open in Calendar view with Tasks in the pane on the right.

                    2. I open the Mail in a separate window.

                    3. I have turned the new email notification sound and visual cue off.

                    4. I have set up email rules to route much of the non-actionable email I get straight to the trash or to email folders for later review in batches. This means stuff that is left in the Inbox is usually what I need to care about so I don't feel bad when I periodically check and process it.

                    5. Email sent only to me is coloured purple and email from my boss is green so that they both stand out. This helps with the processing priority.

                    Another thing you can do which a colleague of mine swears by is to change the frequency Outlook checks for new mail to something like every hour or greater. It won't take your mind long to realise there's no point checking the Inbox because nothing new will be there!

                    Hope this helps.