View Full Version : GTD Outlook add-in
10-02-2006, 01:43 PM
I'm been using the add-in for a few days now and although I know it's not a lot of time, there are just some issues that I just cannot seem to overcome. Just two at the moment:
1. I've taken an email and created an Action which creates a task and I have it automcatially moved to a folder. A copy of the email is under @Action. When I complete the task, the email stays in @Action. Shouldn't this be deleted when the Task is closed?
2. On the counter side to #1, when I receive an email related to a task I usually do "Releated Task". This deletes the email and makes a copy in the task. I would like the option to copy this email to a folder or not have it deleted. I usually keep my emails for knowledge based reasons.
I like this software a lot, because it makes me work my inbox. But sometiems I find myself working the process more than should be necessary. Any help would be appreciated.
10-03-2006, 05:23 AM
I'm also using the add-in...
In answer to your first question, it doesn't delete, but marks it as complete (so it doesn't appear in your action view). Every so often, I go into the folder, change the view to 'Completed', select all the emails, and move them into @Filed.
Not sure about the answer to the second question - as didn't even know you could do that !!
You could also try the forums at NetCentric (https://gtdsupport.netcentrics.com/forum/)
Hope this helps
10-03-2006, 06:15 AM
I checked the other forum you listed and did find some information there, thanks. It still seems rather odd to me. For #1 the recommendation seems to be setting the interval for completed tasks, that will delete the task and the mail.
However I don't want to delete my tasks. Think about #2 where emails are attached (and yet no option to copy to a folder) to the task. Doing the recommended solution will delete my entire email thread for work I performed.
Does anyone else have a better way to handle this? Manually copying emails everytime I do a "Releated Task" (I think I have to manually assign the project too) is extra work.
BTW... are there anymore updates comming for this product or is considered completed?
10-03-2006, 07:19 AM
I realize the other forum is better for the original question, thank you again for posting it. But maybe I'm a nitwit because I don't see anyplace to register over there. If it's only for people who have purchased it then it's not much help for people who are evaluating.
10-03-2006, 09:08 AM
I'm still trying to understand #2, I'll experiment when I get to home PC (my GTD system with the Add-in).
But, I frequently find myself using the "Return to In Box" button and it could be similar instances. I then process that email where I'm often filing it into either a project or reference (email) folder.
I still haven't figured out the benefit of the GTD Add-in file function versus just hitting CTRL+Shift+V and filing that way.
I'm still learning the Add-in. Sub-projects still scare me away.
10-03-2006, 09:47 AM
In order to see the "Related Task" option you must open the email first. I beleive it then tags off of the subject of the email the original task was created from. Therefor you have an email thread associated with a task.
I personally like this feature, but I don't like that the original email is deleted.
I'm finding that GTD Outlook add-in is great for applying the principles and keeping ontop of my inbox. But terrible at storing for later reference because if I don't delete the tasks then my @Waiting For, @Action, etc... just becomes cluttered with completed emails. Even when I move the task manually, the email copy stays.
Maybe I'm the only one that processes information in this fashion. If anyone knows of a better way please let me know.
You are not alone. These two factors are the two major drawbacks I have with the GTD add-in. Here are a couple of things that I do to mitigate these drawbacks.
1. Whenever you move an e-mail onto any Next Action list, I always also file a copy in my archive .pst. That way I'll have a copy of the e-mail and I can safely allow the programs autodelete feature to clean out old completed next action e-mails from the @Action folders... This doesn't solve the problem of losing the tasks, but I've found that if I have the e-mail, I don't necessarily need the task. Plus when I archive tasks, I tend to lose the two-way link that the add-in puts in between the e-mail and the task.
2. This is a little trickier. The best solution I've found is as follows: First create a copy of the e-mail in the inbox. Link one using the "Related Task Button" and file the other. This is a bit cumbersome, but it does work...
Another alternative is to not use the "Related Task" button but to manually do a drag and drop from within outlook. This requires that you open the target task (this can also be helpful when the Related Task and the e-mail don't share the same conversation id) then drag the e-mail to the target tasks button on the task bar and wait until the target task opens. Then while still dragging, drag the e-mail and drop it into the body of the target task. This drops a copy and does not delete the e-mail, but it does require you to find the target task manually and you still need to save the original e-mail manually...
It's unfortunate that No one has been able to provide a reasonable project view for outlook task items. Part of it is probably the extremely poor design of outlook which is likely exacerbated by the unfortunately all-to-common poor e-mail and communication habits present in modern office environments.
A couple of other points:
The file function does allow you to tag project and subproject information to the e-mail. Other than that I'm not sure it adds much functionality.
Based on what I've read, NetCentrics plans to update the application when the next version of outlook becomes available...
10-03-2006, 07:22 PM
Thanks for the reply jpm. I'll probably use your suggestion for #1 and then just not use "Related Tasks".
More automation in the add-in would of been good. With the exception of project and subproject, the add-in isn't doing anything that I can see that Outlook couldn't do on it's own. Although the project/subproject has been very handy for me because I use this with Journals to track my time and I created a view to show me my breakdown of time for the last 7 days. I can easily enter my time in my time keeping system and also know where I'm spending my time. I see other uses for tracking down related emails in my archive PST.
Tasks is the real drawback I see of Outlook. It's great for deligating work to groups and tracking of individual needs. But it's needs a major overhaul.
I tend to use a mixture of my two suggestions for Related Tasks... The difficulty is often finding the correct task to drop the e-mail onto.
Unfortunately the better option just doesn't seem to be available, and that is a button that would file the e-mail in it's permenant location and put a link to it in the appropriate task item... Of course this would only be an ideal approach if links between objects didn't break in outlook when you move and or archive items.
I'm curious how you are journaling your time. Are you using the outlook journal? Or something else... I've been trying for years to figure out how to use Outlook Journal to create an archive/audit trail of the work that I've done, which you think would be easy as that seems to be what it was designed to do. Unfortunately, for some reason I can't seem to get it to do anything that makes sense in this regard.
I can do this manually, but the overhead generated almost makes it not worth it....
10-04-2006, 05:20 AM
Journaling my time is not much of an overhead for me. I've tried many time trackers in the past and the one I've liked the most is AllNetic (http://www.allnetic.com/products.html). However once I installed the GTD Outlook plug-in that solidified me using Journals since now I can select the project/suproject for my time entry, and with a customized 7-day view I can enter my time at the end of the week.