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Outlook Journal

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  • Outlook Journal

    I am a strong believer in taking copious amounts of notes during my day to record ideas, decisions and discussions with others. Are there GTD practitioners out there who use the Outlook Journal for such writing? If so, is there a particular way to configure it? If there are other ideas about a better place to record such things please offer your insight.


  • #2
    Hi altruologist,

    I take notes on paper, rather extensively. Detailed notes during meetings and phone calls, issues/things to to remember of the projects I am working on, random thoughts that flash through my mind during the day, etc...

    For me, paper is by far the best way to take notes/collect stuff. I have tried using my laptop in the past, but this did not really work. It is too slow to enter data (might be my typing) and I missed the possibility to add graphics to the text (arrows to connect ideas, circling text for emphasis, structuring notes visually, ...)(Mindmapping software might solve these issues at least partly, but my company does not use it).
    Additionally, it was not always feasible to use the laptop so I had to use both paper and computer.

    Now I collect everything on paper during the day. The next morning, I run through my notes and extract next actions, projects, ... . I use a hardcover notebook and once it is full, I toss it in a drawer 'for reference'. I have not looked back up to now, but it gives you the feeling that you can look back when necessary.
    (Alternatively, you can use loose sheets you throw away after processing.)

    Summary: I would recommend to use paper for recording and to keep electronic lists/software till after the processing.

    my 2 cents.


    • #3
      I wholeheartedly agree with beyerst. My personal experience in trying the Journal portion of Outlook was not productive. There's something about a pen/pencil on paper that just works better with one's natural mind flow. IMHO. But I'd love to hear if anyone is disciplined enough to stick with the Journal and use it productively.


      • #4
        I used to use the Outlook Journal for support material on various projects. It worked well overall, I would make the reference material a "meeting" entry even if that was not the case.

        I switched over to Daynotez as it has better filtering capabilites, and will sync to my Palm.


        • #5

          I have found myself caught in the trap of trying many tools to use GTD and often fight the tendency to play with these tools instead of use them. What works best for me and helps me stay focused is to record notes on paper, review them, and enter any necessary actions in the appropriate place in Outlook or PPC.


          • #6
            When I made the conversion from my Day-Timer to the Palm synced with Outlook, where to put all of the stuff I had been using the right-hand page to capture was a big concern. What I do now is make these journal-type entries in the note section of the respective task. For example, if I have a task that is to call Joe, while I am on the phone, I will record the date and time of the call, Joe's name, and important points about the call in the note section. When the call is over, I will amend the name of the task to reflect the next action and change the category name as appropriate. As I perform that next action, the notes regarding what has preceeded it are in the note section.

            When there is no follow-up and I can simply "check-off" the task, I ask myself if this matter is of "lasting value." If not, I simply check it off. (I can still retrieve it through the search function in Outlook or Palm OS.) If it IS of lasting value, I add a date to the very first of the task line, and drag the task over to the "Notes" icon in Outlook. I never archive the Notes, so all of that type of journal unfo is available to me on either Outlook or my Palm.

            Hope this helps.