Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting things done with eProductivity Essentials for Notes


By Mick Moignard

I've toyed around the edges of David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology for quite some time, and I've played with a number of Lotus Notes implementations of it. I've talked with Eric Mack of eProductivity about his company's Lotus Notes implementation, and I've listened to the man himself, David Allen, talk about GTD at Lotusphere. I even bought and had him sign a copy of one of his books, then won a copy of another one from Eric.

But I've not committed myself to the process.

So when Eric asked me to have a look at the new eProductivity Essentials stand-alone version, I thought this would be great opportunity not just to look at his product, but also take another look at whether GTD is really for me.

Getting Things Done methodology

Let's step back a little first, and put this new stand-alone version into context. GTD itself is about cataloging and recording all the things you need to do, both work and personal, freeing yourself of the need to remember what all those tasks are.

You get them out of your head into some mechanism you can trust, record them, decide if any will take less that two minutes -- in which case you just do them there and then -- and you sort and sift the rest by what GTD calls Contexts. Contexts group activities by where you need to be to do them, such as at home, or with things you need to have to do them such as the phone or a computer. The idea there is that you can work on the entire group when you are at the specific context.

There's also a weekly review process to keep things fresh and prevent you from sweeping stuff under the carpet. The whole idea is summed up by eProductivity's Web site in one sentence:

With a complete and current inventory of all your commitments, organized and reviewed in a systematic way, you can focus clearly, view your world from optimal angles, and make trusted choices about what to do (and not do) at any moment.

GTD in Lotus Notes

There've been a few Lotus Notes GTD implementations. The first one I used was a free download from the Yahoo Getting Things Done group, which started way back in 2004. This group has over 7000 members, but the volume of postings in its message box has declined in the last couple of years. I've sporadically used the download, and found it somewhat useful, but it's not been compelling enough to use it consistently or in any way properly.

The premier implementation of GTD in Lotus Notes is Eric's eProductivity company's Integrated editions, of which there are two versions. This integrated version provides a replacement Notes mail template as the way to offer the complete set of GTD capabilities in the place where many people get most of their inputs and tasks from. You also need to be using this version if mobile syncing, for example.