Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Tools, Modified Layout, and Apology


First I will start with the apology. It has been a horrendously long time since my last post.  Life went a little sideways, but my GTD system stood up to some fairly heavy abuse.  Suffice it to say that the runway level was considerably busier than it normally is. Thinking positively though, it provided my system with a stress test of sorts, and I found a few friction points in the system that needed a little work.

My Blackberry did not work as well as i would have liked it to.  Not having an exchange server to push all the appointments and tasks to it over the air, I relied on manual sync.  While this worked when the task load was light, under heavy stress, I found I would forget to hit the Sync button and stuff got missed.  Capture and reference were issues as well.  I tried to migrate to Evernote from OneNote in order to get a mobile capture other than just voice notes to no avail.  My Blackberry was not supported by Evernote mobile, so capture was still a bit of a kludge. I also lost the task integration with Outlook that OneNote offers.  Additionally, access via the mobile site was difficult on the small screen, so back to OneNote I went. 

That left me in the same state as before.  After a lot of internal debate I exchanged my Blackberry with an HTC Snap, a non-touchscreen Windows Mobile device.  (I had a touchscreen, as a PDA it was great, as a phone not so much!) Out of the box the today screen was not acceptable so I had to update it to SBSH’s Facade app in order to view tasks and appointments properly.  This solves both my sync issues and my capture issues.  Active sync is almost real-time in updating and OneNote Mobile is installed as well, allowing voice, photo, and text capture.  So far, so good.  (BTW, I checked Evernote’s site and there is no Windows Mobile app so it is still a bit of a kludge for capture.)  The larger screen is a little nicer as well.

I did play around with reQall as a capture as well.  I had several issues with the Outlook plug in changing my all day events to normal appointments, but the capture worked well.  I have it set up as a speed dial for when I am driving and need to get a thought out of my head.

When I was migrating back from Evernote to OneNote I did take the time to make a few modifications in how I organized OneNote.  My Reference section group now has Section Groups for 0-9, ABC, DEF, and so on with everything filed under the company name (ITunes, Amazon) or if it is a web page, what it applies to ( Vista tweaks, GTD hacks).  This is modeled after the paper filing cabinet set up in David Allen’s book.  I found that under my old system I had to remember just where in the system things were which for me me kind of eliminated the “mind like water” goal GTD’ers are pursuing. The Life Planning Section Group became a tab, and I added another tab for Procedure Lists.

Procedure lists are something that I use fairly often and want to have quickly found.  Until OneNote allows for a proper tagging and search function I will place them here.  When I no longer use them on a regular basis I will move the tab to the proper Section group (PQR) in the Reference section.



For now, this is working again.  I am still working out project planning, experimenting with mind mapping and the like.  Updates as they happen.