View Full Version : IT Lockdown affecting implementation
01-24-2010, 02:45 PM
I have been using the GTD system to some extent for about 3 years now and have now hit a bit of a snag. My current employer uses Outlook in a very locked down system. Nothing can be installed to the computer. I am also required to use a company Blackberry to view company email, calendar, and tasks. I have a personal Blackberry and was using gmail and gcalendar to implement before but can only utilize these tools for personal stuff now. I am getting tired of having basically two systems, and am having things fall through the cracks because of the separation. I have thought about going to a paper system, but I do 100+ emails per day and have become very adept at using Outlook to create events, NA's, and projects from emails and really don't know how I would do this with paper without a lot of extra work.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
01-24-2010, 04:01 PM
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Go to your boss with both blackberry's and lots of stuff in both systems and explain how much harder and longer i takes to do your work because of the restrictions and see if you can get them changed. Explain how you can miss important stuff because of the separation and find out why the security lockdown. Explain you are a power user and won't screw up the system.
Or if you are brave or in a business where initiative is rewarded, just use a single system anyway and explain that it keeps you more focused on business if asked. The old ask forgiveness not permission ploy. But be sure you won't get fired for doing it that way first. :-)
01-24-2010, 04:33 PM
Don't panic - remember, your email is not your system. Your email is an inbox. So just because your email is in 2 places doesn't mean your system has to be in 2 places.
For the last 10 years or so I have carried a personal laptop computer to work so that I can use the organizing software I like on it. (Started years ago when I was using Packrat.) I have LotusNotes at work, I am told we are going back to Outlook soon, and I have my GTD system set up in Outlook on my laptop.
Yes, it would be nice if I could make my work email come straight into my system, but I don't have too much trouble working around that.
All reminders are on my lists (no email folders serve as the reminders although they may hold the action support material). I use the GTD Addin on my laptop and I process all incoming email to a task list and those tasks are automatically linked to the original email. When I am processing my email at work, work-related reference material is stored on my work computer. If something came in (rare) that I thought I would need outside of work, I would email it to my personal email account. My actionable emails I can delete, delegate, do, or defer. If I am going to defer the action, I will either put it into a project email file or in my @action folder on the work computer. But the next action goes on my laptop system. If the email is stored in the email action folder I note "EMA" in the next action and the date so I can easily find the email and refer to it when ready. To get the next action onto my laptop, I can either turn around and type it on the list, print the email and throw it in my inbox for future processing/entry (marked EMA, with the email moved to action folder), call Jott and have it show up in my tasks via voice recognition, or I could forward the email to my laptop (only if it does not contain proprietary information) for processing.
Another alternative would be to keep your lists in a paper format or in some other format that you can carry on a USB drive.
And another - would you be allowed to use a web based system from work?
01-25-2010, 05:46 AM
Oogiem: Thanks for the thoughts. Unfortunately I have already tried the "I really need to be able to put all my stuff together" track and got nowhere. And the idea of asking forgiveness won't work because the computer and Blackberry systems are literally locked down with no ability to install any software without IT.
01-25-2010, 05:49 AM
lareaarnett: I like some of your ideas. I do realize that my email is not my system and I don't use email folders or even flags as reminders. My problem is that when I am in the office I live in Outlook most of the day. When I am out of the office I need a way to use what I have set up in Outlook without booting up the laptop. I was thinking that some sort of hybrid digital/analog system might work here but need to figure out the best way for me. I have thought of a web based system, but assume that they would require some software installed on the work computer to sync info to the web system, which I can't do.
01-25-2010, 07:10 AM
And the idea of asking forgiveness won't work because the computer and Blackberry systems are literally locked down with no ability to install any software without IT.
oh, That is probably why I never did well in traditional corporate environments. I worked in skunk works types of places and we just hacked or did whatever we needed to and then worried about how to explain it. And when the company got sold so that was no longer possible I quit. Now I raise sheep and I can do whatever I like with my computer systems and they don't care. :-)
01-25-2010, 09:29 AM
...Now I raise sheep and I can do whatever I like with my computer systems and they don't care. :-)
Hmmm, sounds like a not so bad idea ;) . The companies I have worked for in the past were less strict than my current employer. I was able to do pretty much whatever I wanted as far as PDA syncing and software additions.
01-25-2010, 01:06 PM
The logical (but not necessarily desirable) solution would seem to be for you to use your work system for personal items, as well. You could then access your single system using your work BlackBerry. Unfortunately, it sounds like your IT department has you so locked down you could not access personal email accounts on your work blackberry (I experience this, as well, but I think I'm worse off due to my company's dependence on Lotus Notes!). One downside is that BB apps for task management are poorly suited for GTD at best. Still, if your personal email inflow is low, you could enter the personal stuff manually, which is a bit more work on the personal end, but probably more efficient as far as your unified system is concerned..
I haven't found an acceptable solution, so I keep one system -and two BlackBerrys - but only rely on my personal system for GTD. I copy work emails into tasks on Notes as virtual reference files, and try to keep the work stuff out of my personal time by rigidly scheduling work time at home and leveraging my work laptop and/or Blackberry for reference. It ain't pretty, though.
Good luck finding a solution - if your do, keep us posted!
01-25-2010, 10:32 PM
The logical (but not necessarily desirable) solution would seem to be for you to use your work system for personal items, as well.
Unless you fully trust your IT department and your employer you will not have a trusted GTD system
I have the same problem and my workaround is to use the company system as little as possible.
Since I use Evernote as my inbox, this works pretty well.
When emails arrive that are actionable or reference material, I just forward them to my Evernote account. Once there, I can process them and add to my Nozbe account (if actionable) or tag them and keep in Evernote (if reference or reading material). I do this either right on my iPhone or my laptop. There is no wireless network I can use, so I tether my laptop to the iPhone when I need to use it. PDANet is a great app for doing this.
Luckily I can access my work email from my phone as well, so anything that arrives while I'm out of the office goes straight to Evernote if I need it in my workflow.
I normally use the laptop with Nozbe running for handing my GTD workflow during the day - I'm hoping they come out with an iPhone app that actually works before too long, which will make things much easier. (Actually, I'm hoping for several things to be fixed)
I do have access to much of Google so i use Google Docs for a lot of work I used to do in Office. This gives me much better access to files I might need.
For calendar items i use Google Calendar which I sync to Pocket Informant on my phone. I also sync the Nozbe calendar via Google Calendar as well.
This works for me. I don't like using Outlook anyway so not having it as part of my workflow isn't a problem at all.
01-26-2010, 08:46 AM
I have thought of a web based system, but assume that they would require some software installed on the work computer to sync info to the web system, which I can't do.
Part of the point of a web-based system is that your data is on the web, accessible from any computer with an Internet connection and a browser, whether you've installed your own software on it or not. Local clients may add functionality or make it possible to access your data when not connected, but if a local client is essential then it's not a true web-based system. So a web solution might be just what you need.
With that said, though, I use paper, so don't really have a software solution to offer. And, like Oogiem, I'm self-employed, in part because I don't have much patience with obstructionist corporate IT folks.
01-27-2010, 11:09 PM
This is a problem that is prevalent in many IT companies. The IT folks are in a bottleneck situation because of this. Providing a solution to them would be a relief to them. :roll: I think that they some inspiration could be drawn from this thread as there are a number of suggestions from some members. I think it would be worth trying at-least once. ;)
02-01-2010, 12:44 PM
I have the same issues. I have learned to use MS Outlook without any add-ins. I recommend the book Total Workday Control using MS Outlook by Michael Linenberger. Linenberger bases his concepts on GTD and he shows how to configure MS Outlook in a GTD like system. I differ from Linenberger's system in that I retain the use of Outlook categories as contexts as per GTD.
I have just had to maintain 2 systems all these years, work and personal. I am now a subcontractor, so I actually have 3 systems (work, parent company, personal). I have 3 separate NA and project lists. I keep my whole list of horizons of focus on my personal machine, but I have a branch on each work machine (roles and responsibilities). I just started within the last 2 months carrying 2 blackberries as well (parent company and personal).