Wednesday, September 21, 2011

White Flag

After messing around with Evernote for six months or so I have returned to Onenote.  I just can’t live with out the task integration with Outlook.  However, Outlook and I have been having our own little go round.  But first I should fill you in on the goings on since the last update.

What spurred the move to Evernote was a change in phones.  I traded the windows 6.5 phone in for an Android.  I figured as I was already using Google Calendar to sync my iPad calendar, I may as well mix my Apple Kool-Aid and my Microsoft Kool-Aid with a good portion of Google flavoured Jim Jones drink as well.

At this point I will take you through my thought processes..because when I can’t really understand why I couldn’t leave well enough alone……

“Evernote apps are free on both ‘droid and the iPad. Cool. Free is always good!! Damn……. Lost the task integration…… that’s OK. Cheap will keep the pocketbook happy.”

“Tasks.  No problem, Toodledo is syncing with Outlook so finding an app to sync the droid will be no problem.  no really good free ones but a few and I only really look at the tasks to see what needs to be done.”

“Mail. No problem Exchange Active Sync on the ‘droid will complement the mail on the iPad and I already am using imap folders in Outlook for Gmail.  I should really use the Outlook connector to bring in my Hotmail so I can have two active calendars.  I’ll just add a shortcut to the favourites pane.  Hmmmmmm.  Shortcuts seem to go missing occasionally……weird.”

“I still do most of my Project organization in Onenote, and now they have a free iPod app.  What??!  I need Onenote 2010 to access it on the web??  Oh well, I was wanting to upgrade Word and Excel anyway. Why not.  No, no, I don't need to buy Outlook 2010 as well. My copy is too customised now for me to have to figure it out again. Besides I can hide this expense from my wife for a bit.  I’ll kill the premium subscription to Evernote while I am at it”

“I see Chromatic Dragon is not supporting the toodledo sync tool.  The have a couple of links to other sync software.  Hey… gsyncit will sync tasks with toodledo, my notes with Evernote, and my calendar with Gmail.  Little bit of money but not too bad,  maybe it will solve my missing shortcuts issue. I'll go back to Evernote too.”

Three minutes later

“Trial works well i should buy the full version.  Done.  My wife won’t even notice the bill.  Whadda ya mean Outlook needs to submit a crash report?  Hey where did my shortcuts go!!”

“OK, start disabling COM Add-ins one by one until I figure out which one is causing the problem.  Figures….Gsyncit and Onenote don’t play well together.  Well bye-bye Gsyncit. Let's look for another sync program.  Here’s one….install….nope……uninstall….and another….and another.  Well back to Chromatic Dragon and Google Calendar sync.”

Anyway to make a long story a bit shorter, even my return to Google Calendar sync failed.  probably because I had stressed out Outlook beyond recognition.

So where am I now?

Two Days worth of cleaning to get Outlook 2007 working again.  It is now connected to Office 365 through exchange.  Tasks, Calendar, Mail, and Contacts stored in the Cloud.  Office 365 is gathering up mail from all my accounts an pushing them to Outlook.  iPad connected to same Exchange Server for Calendar, Mail, and Contacts.  Tasks on iPad are through Exchange server with Task Task HD.  Same with Droid, except Task app is called TaskSync.  Outlook only is running Onenote, VBA, and Windows search plugins.   (Holy Crap is it ever fast when loading and closing.)  So everything syncs, and five hundred bucks or so later I am back to where I began.

She where does the white flag come in?  With me now paying twelve bucks a month for office 365……the one expense my wife complained about.  I give up.

Monday, April 18, 2011

GTD, why do I do this.

Lately, people around me have been wondering why I follow an organization system at all. After all, they claim that I don't need to, as my life, from the outside, appeared to be fairly uncomplicated. I go to work, go home, spend time with family, eat and sleep. My levels of responsibility at work aren't such that I manage any large projects, only a number of small ones. And like a true convert, I smile and nod, and tell them it is because of the system that I appear to have everything under control.

But for me the real reason is the scalability. The ability to accept more and be able to trust that little, if any, things get dropped. So to that end, here is a link to an article that I feel best presents the reasons why I follow GTD principles.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Expanding the Blog’s Scope

So, I initially implemented my GTD system in order to help me deal with being a mature (in body, if not attitude) student when I returned to university at age 35, wife and two small children in tow.  One challenge was to get back into learning mode, something thing I was admittedly not too good at even when I was in my “learning prime.”  Another was to help my wife adjust to a new city, as she had never been far from where she grew up for any length of time.  A third was arrange baby sitters and daycare for when I was in school and my wife who is a Registered Nurse and works 12 hour shifts, either days from seven to seven or nights from seven to seven.  With the current emphasis in the Hallowed Halls of University focused on group work, most of my time was pretty much spoken for.  GTD probably saved my sanity and definitely allowed me to complete my degree.

Just shy of 40 now, Baccalaureate in hand, I have a new job as the business manager at Subaru of Lethbridge.  Like my previous workplace, Subaru of Lethbridge is a closely knit, small organization.  The job itself has managed to combine my previous automotive experience as a mechanic, my sales experience from when I moved from the back shop into the front office, as well as the university training I received with my degree.  All in all, a reasonable fit.

GTD has a place there as well.  The position I filled was vacant for better than six months and in that time the existing systems had deteriorated to the point of non-existence.  It has been a huge challenge to create new systems to ensure the paperwork is done correctly, sent to the right people at the right times, and most importantly have a process in place to catch errors and omissions.  I am fortunate to be working with open minded people who are willing to allow me to implement this “new-fangled GT whatchmacallit” into the processes.  Perhaps most impressively my personal systems seem to have been able to handle the change in demand from the school to the workplace.

With that in mind I will broaden the scope of the blog to include a little more about my odyssey in the workplace, my hobbies of fishing and skiing, and I will share a bit about my efforts to create a little sunshine in the world.  I have no idea where this will take us but say “hi” in the comments and come along for the ride.