View Full Version : More efficient way of handling email (lotus notes) with GTD?
02-19-2008, 07:48 PM
Hi everyone, i'm kind of new to GTD. I currently use Lotus Notes at work and i want to use it more efficiently.
I'm an accountant and i have a lot of email and a lot of issues throughout the day. The way i have my folders setup is as follows
I also have a bunch of folders below that which i file emails that i either have finished with (in terms of 1 time actions or projects) or are things that i don't need to do anything with, but i'd like to keep for future reference (i.e. company wide emails on changes in benefits). For example, i have an "Accounts Payable" folder for AP related transactions and a "Personal Folder" for just about anything related to me but not necessarily work related.
Here's my problem. If i need to request something for someone so i can do my work, i send them an email and i file it in my 'waitingfor' folder. If i get a response, i might put that in my 'nextaction' folder (if i don't feel like processing the info i got right away), then i have to go back to the 'waitingfor' folder and move that message to one of the folders below for archiving. If i DON'T get a response, i have to go into the waitingfor folder, forward a followup to the person, and move the previous message in the appropriate archiving folder.
Is there a better way to do this? It seems like i have too many steps.
02-19-2008, 08:25 PM
I think this is not problem specific to lotus notes or so. There will be 'waiting for' items somewhere, and they will have to be taken out of that list whenever the response is received.
What I suggest is do not immediately bother archiving the mail in the 'waiting for' folder. According to what I perceive from your message, you seem to regularly review that folder. During that time you can follow up what needs to be followed up, and archive what needs to be archived, one by one, sequentially.
This way, the number of steps is the same (except searching for a particular mail in 'waiting for'), but probably the flow is better.
Hope this helps,
02-20-2008, 02:28 AM
I also have a lot of experience with high-volume Lotus Notes e-mails 24/7 (global company), but am a relative GTD newbie.
My two main "new" GTD files are @Action and @Waiting. You might just try seeing how it goes with your Waiting-for file. I found I'd sometimes forget, when I sent or replied to an e-mail, to file it in @Waiting, then I'd remember and go into Sent Mail and transfer it to @Waiting (for the most important open issues). I also found it rather pleasant at times to go into @Waiting and move/file/delete items that had in fact been closed out as a result of the day's further e-mail traffic or other communications/actions.
You might try seeing how it goes for X days or 2-3 weeks. After I read GTD book, setting up those two files in my Notes e-mail changed my life! It's all good ... now I am going further with the other GTD files/lists, but just getting comfortable with my daily @Action and @Waiting transformed my always-full inbox to the "ideal" of only new stuff.
I did find I had to review those 2 Notes files on a daily vs. weekly review - too much happening all the time as may be your case.
P.S. I don't think you have too many steps - that's just how it is i.e. sometimes new e-mails result in new actions and you would at some point go back and file/delete the @Waiting for, and other times you go into @Waiting and realise nothing's happened so forward it as a follow-up etc. Maybe that's what David Allen has in mind in terms of "constant scanning" of lists and doing those deletes, new actions, follow-ups, etc. based on latest info/status.
02-20-2008, 06:40 AM
I use Lotus Notes at work. After a few months of using @Waiting For and such folders, I no longer try to manage my work from within Lotus Notes.
Notes is now just an inbox for me. I treat it just like a physical inbox. If an email has action, I note it on my Projects/NA lists and file it in an appropriate reference folder. Otherwise I trash it or file it in an appropriate reference folder.
Does that make sense?
02-20-2008, 11:19 AM
Hi everyone, thanks for your responses, i'll take those into consideration and see which ones work best for me... guess i'll still have to experiment :)
02-20-2008, 12:10 PM
Hi - you may already have seen this, but just in case you haven't . . . we have a whitepaper available that describes step-by-step how to set up Lotus Notes to implement GTD.
It's a great place to start for using Notes with GTD. You may still find yourself experimenting, but at least you'll have a solid foundation.
02-21-2008, 05:24 PM
I do not maintain my NAs in Notes - I do not like how their standard task forms and views work. I maintain my NAs and meeting/brainstorming notes on paper in a series of 79c college ruled spiral notebooks.
I used to be a massive email hog. I saved everything, no folders - just an inbox and full text search. I archived anything above 250MB to my local archive copy. When I had a Sydney-LA-Chicago at the end of three weeks of vacation, I replicated all my waiting mail and decided that was a good time to change my email habits to work better with GTD.
I have four GTD folders:
1. 4WeeklyProcessing. If an email comes in where I think there's a NA and I cannot resolve it in less than three sentences and without any thought... it gets dragged into this folder. Using the 4 makes it be the top folder.
2. Waiting For. Emails (either sent or received) that are likely triggers for waiting fors get dragged in here. Again, I maintain my waiting for list on paper, but things get dragged in here until I have a chance to update the list
3. Revisit at End of Month. Email that I'm highly likely to eventually delete but which may contain some small piece of reference that I might need go in here.
4. Long Term Project Storage. The new "storage inbox" but with a LOT less volume in it. I can use full text search on this to find what I need.
The email in the 4WeeklyProcessing gets reviewed at worst at my weekly review time (it varies due to my travel schedule, but typically Friday for work, Saturday for personal). In reality, it gets reviewed near the end of the work day when I'm not on the road, and the emails get converted to NAs and either deleted or moved to one of the other folders.
When I'm on an airplane and it's a bit too crowded to have both the paper system and my laptop out, I will create one draft email and put the NAs in there.
The WaitingFor folder does not get reviewed daily, the view gets printed out and used in my weekly review. I've made an recurring appointment from 2pm-5pm on the last business day of each month to review the Revisit folder.
My performance measures are:
- No read email in my inbox folder.
- On days I'm in the office, when I go home for the day
--- No email in the inbox folder
--- All email in the 4Weekly folder converted to NAs
02-22-2008, 09:41 AM
Each time I send an email, expecting an answer, I use "send and file" option then file in my "-waitingfor" folder. I review my folder on a regular basis.
Each time I receive an email, process it and decide "what's next", I use "copy to" than "new task", add some comments on the next physical action to take on the heading, add category (context that I've setup). That's it.
This setup is based on white paper "GTD and Lotus Note" that Connect Member can get. It is also available for non-connected on davidco.com website. I personalysed the "copy to next task" process.
Hope it will help.