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Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist
Why they pay me the big bucks....
I need a better way of work I've committed to customers. I'm getting slammed with a series of things due on Tuesday hard enough that I seriously considered working on Sunday. Outlook has a task manager thing but it doesn't offer a good reminder system. Maybe I could add a recurring appointment on my calendar with an ever growing list. That way I could get a daily reminder? Maybe. I need to remember to check the body of the appointment which I already forget to do for similar items. Hmmm.

Granted, that insanity last less than a minute but it was very serious thought insofar as I was working it into my schedule of other normal outside-the-house activities. But still, after another 50 hours week I wanted to come in on a weekend? Yeck. I am so leaving the second class ends today to make up for the crazy. :)

Any thoughts? Outlook is idea as I use it heavily to track much of my workload but I'm happy to consider other things.
A PDA or smart phone is looking like a better and better idea...

Current Mood: busy busy

11 comments or Leave a comment
beloitst From: beloitst Date: February 16th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Using Task Manager in Outlook allows you to set up a reminder.

When the reminder pops up, you can snooze or dismiss it -- or, you can "open item" and reschedule the reminder (or the task).

This is exactly the same as Outlook's appointment reminder system, so I don't understand why you would use one over the other?

BTW, the Task Manager also allows you to set a tasks recurrence, so new tasks/reminders will pop up every day.
abmann From: abmann Date: February 16th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Because I already look at my calendar eleventy-gillion times a day. I'm hoping to stream-line it so I don't need to add yest another thing to my current rotation. And I don't like Outlooks reminder system as a whole. it shows me meeting subjects and that's it. I essentially want an occasional reminder/popup that lists the tasks, the description I enter, and an audit trail of additions.

I think I need to fire up VB.
tokudama From: tokudama Date: February 16th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
uuugh, Outlook. I don't like the reminders either. I haven't come up with anything to remind me to do stuff, so unfortunately I'm just here to commiserate. I took off this Saturday so only 37.5 hours of work this week. Woot for me. Sad panda for you =(
abmann From: abmann Date: February 16th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, outlook does a pretty decent job as the hub of my work schedule. I use it a lot for many different thinks.

What's funny is that I use it so I don't forget anything but by using it I remember more.
aetrix9 From: aetrix9 Date: February 16th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)


One of the things that David Allen proposes in Getting Things Done is that many of your things (he calls them next-actions or NAs) require some type of context in order to get the thing done. Identifying this context and classifying NAs according to context will help you get stuff done.

What's a context? It's something like "work computer" or "phone" or "meditative trance" or "Jello Brain" or a simple "home" and "work" dichotomy. But really, what it means is that the thing you need to do requires some specific thing to get it done. i.e. "Call mom to ask for Dad's new address at work." requires a phone, "Email boss to ask for Monday off work" requires email access and "Revise Budget Spreadsheet with new 2007 rates" requires a computer and the original spreadsheet file and "wash black load of laundry" requires you to be at home or at the laundromat. So think of your major contexts where the majority of your things get done and arrange the things into those contexts. (I suggest the Jello Brain context which is where I put all of my mindless drivel that doesn't require mental effort.)

How this helps, is that you can pretty clearly identify your context and isolate your NAs accordingly... i.e. I'm currently at my computer at work and my databases are down for maintenance and I left my cell phone at home. I can work on "work" stuff or "computer" stuff but not "databases" stuff or "home" stuff or "phone" stuff.

So right now I'm only looking at my "work" list and my "computer" list. I have 13 NAs instead of 268 NAs. Very helpfull.

Another context that I find helpful is the "waiting" context. There I can put stuff like, "RSVP IRB Re: Protocol amendment." or "email from Quinlanroad.com with Loreena McKennitt tour dates for US." It's where I'm waiting on someone else in order to do something.

In general - David Allen. Getting Things Done. Amazing. Changed my life. Give it a read.
aetrix9 From: aetrix9 Date: February 16th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)


The other thing I mentioned is that GTD completely eliminates the notion of "priority" since it's not really a concept that works for multitasking people any more. Of course, everything is priority. It's a question of when it's due, not of how important things are.

What it does do, is ask you to be reasonable about things and work on them as such. if you have two projects, one is "stop the bleeding from this large sword wound in my abdomen" and the other is "reorganize sock drawer" then you can easily keep the bleeder in your "projects" list and put your sock drawer on another list that DA calls the "someday-maybe" list. You can also put your dreamer projects like "paint a mural on the bathroom ceiling" in your someday-maybe list. Periodically, you're supposed to review the someday-maybe list for things that, for whatever reason, have become more important to you.

However, once something is on your project list, then come hell or high water, you're going to keep that project, like all of your other projects, moving forward. Even if your NA is "brainstorm ways to get self motivated to get this annoying project off my list" then you'll still have some way of moving the project forward.

Again, David Allen, Getting Things Done. Read it. You'll like it. You won't be able NOT to buy a palm afterwards.
abmann From: abmann Date: February 16th, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'm sold. I'll take a look at the book tonight.
aetrix9 From: aetrix9 Date: February 16th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)


Going to Barnes and noble? I loaned out my copy and I don't expect to see it back again. I'll buy and let you borrow.
aetrix9 From: aetrix9 Date: February 16th, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)


43folders is another good place to learn.
ghent_the_cynic From: ghent_the_cynic Date: February 17th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I got really frustrated with Outlook and switched to a program called Active Desktop Calendar. Their website is here. The neat features that I enjoy about it is that it is vastly more tweakable then outlook and sits on your desktop being in you memory. Also it can sync to google calendar also that you can have it anywhere.

Website... http://www.xemico.com/adc/

Also their website looks somewhat unpolished but it is a decent and very solid program.
eating_dust From: eating_dust Date: February 17th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I use Google Calender, it sends me a daily reminder at 5 am of what's on the agenda for the day....
works for me :)
11 comments or Leave a comment