Bruce Lill November 1 2009 09:05:05 AMIt's been a month now and I'm slowing getting back into the swing of things. I've started a few new projects and plan to outline how eProductivity has helped me get organized and Mindplan has help to put my thoughts together.
eProductivity is an add-on for Lotus Notes that helps you to use the GTD philosophy of Dave Allen. It uses project and action to organize your work. You can link emails to the projects or actions. I've been using it to help me get organized.
Mindplan is a mind mapping application that is also an add-on for Lotus Notes. It lets you get ideas out of your head and down on paper. It's like a graphical outline. As you think of something, you enter it. Then you can come back and move them around to make some logic out of it. I'm working on an outline for a Domino Development book and this has really helped me think of topics to cover.
I had 2 Redbooks to work on and a proposal for a real book to finish. eProductivity helped with it all. I was able to monitor the action needs and all the emails. I'm using Mindplan to build the proposal for the book since it's more of a mind dump then actions.
I can't wait until the new version of eProductivity comes out using the 8.5 mail template. In the mean time I have made changes to the mail template ( the benefit of being a developer) to better fit my needs. First I will go into what changes I did and maybe you'll push to have some of them included in eProductivity. Some of the modifications are to support my work as a consultant such as a Billing view and ability to select a project (from my billing system) to put on the calendar entry. I hate to fill out information more then once so I make it easy to take a calendar entry and make it a entry in the time reporting db.
There was something's that caught me off guard, until I figured out what was happening.
- First eProductivity rewrites your categories, so if you have a category, like Billable, you need to add it to the eProductivity categories.
- Don't name Projects the same as Folders you currently have. If you do when you go to drag a message to the folder it will bring up a project form.
There are some changes that I make to my mail file to make it easier for me.
Mail File Changes:
- The Inbox folder is categorized by Month / week, with newest at top. It makes it easy to see what's new and to remind you to clean out old entries.
- All other folders are Categorized by Year/Month with the newest at the top. This is a pain now that Lotus doesn't use a $Default folder. You have to use the Inbox design to set the design of the other folders. This means I set the inbox to categorize like the other folders, update their design, then set it to weekly categorization.
- Print Tasks- this is a new view that is formatted to print on a 5X3 card. I get the cards from Levenger and they are well worth it. It shows what is due today, I have some more work to do so that appointments will appear also.
- Calendar entry - I add a button to the subject line to let me select the customer account needed for billing. It fills the subject line with "
Customer name - ". This make the billing easier to do as I can see what has been billed.
- Billing - A new view to show all calendar entries with the category of Billable. It highlights all entries that have not be added to the Time Reporting database. There is an action on the top to take a calendar entry and create a time entry. It assigns the project #, date, time range and the body of the calendar entry is used as the description of the time entry. All I do is select an entry, click the button and add any other comments, lunch etc. and submit it. It cut the time I needed to do billings and it reduced the chance of missing something.
This is from my test database. Don't screw with live data, eve3n if it just yours. You will screw it up.
- Make the embedded view longer, it only showed 3-4 entries and I have usually 20 entries. I set the view to be 4" instead of 2"
- Modified the view so the time range was on one line. It was too short of columns and folded over to the next line. I testing the new beta and this no longer happens.
You have to be willing to try things to see how they appear and work. I have all eProductivity action view set to use categories. It really does help to group thing. You can use the Advanced Preferences to add another level of view categorization. I haven't needed it but then I only have 6-7 projects at a time.
My projects are grouped as Kalechi (infrastructure, internal coding and blogging), Clients (all things billable) and Lotus (Redbook, Wiki updates, OpenNTF work). Usually ther are 3 projects in each group. It would be nice to have more in the Client group but that's life.
The advantage of using Lotus Notes is, If you don't like it then change it.
Next time will be using Mindplan.
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