GTD@Work: My Quest Ends
Perhaps you visited my forum post inquiring about online and offline GTD aids. A paper-based system will not suffice for my menagerie of information at work. I set out with a few criteria in mind. I need something quick and easy but capable of keeping the depth of information that I require to stay productive. The easier it is to utilize, the better. Multiple steps to try and alleviate more work fails to make sense. I like the idea of keeping things small and lightweight in terms of file sizes. Lastly, the GTD aid needs to be the right price, free. After much reading and experimentation in the past days, I believe I have found the best solution for me. However, I thought I would share a snippet of information on some different possibilities in case someone else is searching.
Let's start with the plentitude of online tools. I explored several of the hundreds available today. If I were to pick one online GTD helper, it would be Simple GTD . The usage is simple and the setup is self-explanatory. The interface is clean looking and overall it was effective. The pages loaded and updated quickly. The only aspect that I can complain about is the lack of project depth, which is a necessity.
Now on to the offline alternatives for GTD. Offline applications are the best bet just in case the Internet goes down. I would hate to lose track of what is going on in all my current projects at work. I am the "Color Graphic Specialist" at the office and spend a good chunk of time here tweaking settings so jobs come out looking their best. Keeping clear and concise records of what settings and materials I use saves time in the future. I also want to keep track of all the work I do for specific clients. Streamlining this information is my best line of offense in keeping organized at work.
I had been using the â€œGetting Things Done Outlook Add-Inâ€ free trial this past week. It was relatively difficult to navigate at first. The add-in incorporates a new toolbar and folders into the mix, which to me seemed foreign. I reviewed the online tours and those helped with understanding the process. If you choose to explore this possibility, I recommend viewing the tutorials before trying to tackle it. With my new knowledge, I did adjust quickly. I found myself feeling more organized and calm about projects within the first days. The full version is not free, which for me was a requirement. I feared the day the trial was going to end. I was worried about relying heavily on it and the inevitable sense of loss that would result when I had to uninstall it. I did uninstall before I became too dependent instead of purchasing the license for $69.95 USD.
Spreadsheets also make great basic offline tools. I used Microsoft Excel to modify a free template I downloaded from the Microsoft website. My version varied slightly. I created drop lists for my current projects and my common contexts. The best aspect of utilizing a program like Microsoft Excel is you can get as far in depth as you would like or are capable of, based entirely on your individual needs and requirements.
Another offline option I discovered was Xanadu Tools' "Easy To-Do". I highly recommend this option for anyone. The setup for this was quick, easy, and painless. It could be adapted to your personal methods of implementing GTD without much effort. Potential is just oozing from this application. Explore the possibilities at their website or download it and give it a quick test run like I did. In the end, I opted for another alternative. This application does have the capabilities to handle a large amount of project related information. If I ever need a computer based system at home, this will be the one.
My final choice was another Outlook add-in. Since my work is dependent upon incoming requests via email, it became evident that a GTD method also centered there would be best. Jello Dashboard is a great option for those of us who use Outlook for our email. The 'homepage' became my home base for GTD@Work. It allows me to create my own contexts and projects. It is lightweight and easy to use. Already I feel at home and back in control of my job. I'm confident that this is my best option. My projects are linked to next actions (tasks) and everything is viewable from the dashboard that resides on Outlookâ€™s start page. Before the â€œOutlook Todayâ€ page was pretty much useless, now it is the command station for my daily work.
If you do not feel like installing anything to change your Outlook or you use another program for email, donâ€™t give up hope just yet. This site outlines how to change your email around to comply with the GTD method. This would have been my next choice for an Outlook/Email centered GTD system. The author describes the use of 'contacts' for tracking related tasks, appointments, and emails. This is pretty much an email-based catchall for implementing GTD. There is something appealing about keeping things simple and streamlined. Working within your existing email is just that. The tips and tricks are pretty obvious once you read through them. Incorporating these into your current email would be a relatively quick and painless process.
GTD is a way of life. In the end, the only way to really get things done is to feel comfortable in your system. When I am away from work, I love my paper based GTD implementation. It does wonders for my daily schedule. However, GTD at work was a bit lacking. Now with the tools Iâ€™ve discovered Iâ€™m able to sit back and be comfortable at work too. Currently, Jello Dashboard is just what I need to bring a sense of harmony to my workday. As with everything, I expect some evolution in my requirements over time, but currently you will find me working happily out of Outlook. I hope this information helps someone out there feel more at ease in their GTD zone.
Got a tip on a new and fresh productivity tip that you'd love to share with the rest of us? Remember to tag it over at del.icio.us with the tag, "diyplanner". Your suggestion, along with the others, will show up at: De.licio.us/tags/diyplanner. Help make our link pool grow and keep me in link heaven! Thank you!
|Click book to purchase|
|Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity|
author: David Allen
ASIN or ISBN-10: 0670899240