In the spirit of getting things done, and getting something out there on the new blog, I figured I'd start with describing my very first GTD setup. It consisted of:
- Dell D610 laptop running Windows XP - Dell Axim x3i handheld - Nokia 3100 cell phone - MS Outlook - WebIS Pocket Informant - Ilium Listpro
My day-job required that I use this for our calendars, tasks, etc. So I had no choice in this regard. I ended up purchasing David Allen's .pdf on how to use Outlook for GTD and was quite pleased with the results. After learning all the keyboard shortcuts, it was very easy to add any piece of information to my GTD system without taking my attention of my current activity.
Outlook served as my repository for tasks, my calendar, and contacts. It also held all my e-mails, but I did not really include them as part of my GTD system or worry about syncing them to my handheld.
WebIS Pocket Informant:
Because I was using Outlook at the office, it just made sense to use it for my personal activities and overall GTD system, therefore I needed a piece of software that would help me get the most out of Outlook syncing on the Pocket PC. Pocket Informant itself is a very powerful application, but the main features that attracted me were the ability to easily create custom views, the ability to set tasks and calendar events as public or private, and its syncing of all my categories. There are other Pocket Outlook syncing utilities, but this one ran the smoothest, and had everything I needed without too much effort on my part.
I created one set of views for my personal life and another set for my business life, and this was based on whether a task/event/note/contact was public or private. The system worked flawlessly with the IT setup at my dayjob! In the office we used Outlook to share calendars and tasks. By marking my personal stuff as private on my handheld, these pieces of information where automatically hidden from every one else within the organization.
After much searching on the web I never found anyone else using the public/private field in Outlook to divide up their GTD system into personal and professional sections. I would highly recommend this for a Windows/Outlook type of situation for people who want to keep their personal information separate from the professional side.
Yet again, there were a wide variety of list building applications that allow you to track anything that you would like to track, but I just stumbled across this one first. It got the job done, so I did not search any further.
I used this to track the lists in my life:
- books I would like to buy/read - wines I've tasted - movies I'd like to see - shopping list for the grocery store - tech wish list (things I'd like to buy)
I probably could have used the notes in Outlook to do this, but I did not spend much time working with it, and I could never get the categories working properly. Ilium ListPro let me create my own lists, with my own data stored in each one.
This little phone deserves a post of its own, so hopefully I will get around to that later. At the time of this first GTD setup, the Nokia 3100 was my cell phone of choice, however slim on features it might have been. It didn't sync in well with the GTD system, but the text-to-email feature allowed me to dump all my random ideas to an e-mail account for future entry into my GTD system. Summary
Overall the my first GTD system was pretty streamlined and captured a large amount of the data I needed to capture on a daily basis. I was very surprised by the ease and speed with which I could input data from outlook. The weakest part of this particular GTD setup was that I never wanted to carry the Dell Axim with me, so it was not always accessible.