The gods of the internets are against me today. And for you. As of now, Xobni is directly available for you to test and indulge - which of course means that there is no real incentive anymore for you to jump through any hoops at the KillerConsultant to get it. Which blows my great idea of some semi-forced audience interaction.
But if you really like the KC, you will tell the rest of the world how you like your Xobni plugin in the comments anyway, right?!]
it is Monday, let’s see if we can get a conversation going. The deal is simple: I have five invites for Xobni to give away.
Xobni, if you have not heard of it yet, is a cool new plugin for Outlook which gives you a whole new look on your email experience: In a sidebar, it shows you all sorts of information about the person whose email you are just reading. When in the day, for example, you get most email from that person, their phone number, their contacts, a list of recent conversations and files received from them. Apart from that, Xobni also does a whole lot of statistics-voodoo on your mail – but that main sidebar in itself really is something you should try. I might go as far as saying that this could make email management fun again!
Xobni is in invitation-only beta right now… and you can get one of these invitations.
There are only one and a half conditions:
- Within a week of receiving the invite, you write a paragraph worth of your experiences with Xobni – what you liked, what you thought was cool, what features you missed, and if you’d recommend it. I’ll publish those short reviews here, of course with your name and a link to your website, if you want.
- The “half” condition: I’d prefer consultants to get the invites, of course – but if in the next days there are no consultants to be found reading this site (darnit!), I’ll open the tickets up for everybody else.
Go, sign up in the comments!
I am looking forward to seeing how you guys like / use / see Xobni.
I get the feeling that GTD was not designed for consultants, at least not when it comes to the proposed setup. 43 folders tickler file? How do I get that into my briefcase? Making new folders for every project that comes up? Carrying that as well? Yeah, right. I actually had the folders implemented, and always took those for the week with me. It was not too big a stack, and at the end of the week I sorted it back into my file cabinet, archived stuff that I had collected over the week, and took out the folders for the next. Unfortunately, there is not always a cabinet available to hang my folders. Now I am down to an organizer-type thing – like an A4 booklet, it has seven partitions of sturdy paper, and in them I sort everything I need for the next week (Monday to Friday), plus stuff that goes back to the Archive or the Tickler. That does work quite well… but let’s be honest, most of us don’t carry paper in an organized fashion, apart from the travel expenses that need to be claimed.
Most consultants live out of Outlook.
(For those of you forced to work with Lotus Notes, I am sorry. Maybe you were a mean kid and deserve it? If not, go complain to your IT department)
Living out of Outlook can be a blessing, and a huge pain. It does mean that your calendar, your mail and your tasks are in one place, and sync with your blackberry or whathaveyou-Exchange-compatible phone. It means that you can arrange meetings with your colleagues and not miss the important “changes due on Monday, 8am” mail from your boss Friday night.
Unfortunately, Outlook (and especially its ToDo-features) is not built with GTD in mind. There is no notion of projects and contexts by which you could sort from the getgo… but fear not! The mighty powers of the internet have caused other people to tackle that issue before you. Here’s a quick list of places to go:
This freeware (beta) gives you a GTD-feasible dashboard view on outlook. Looks promising, but as the developer says it is not compatible with Exchange yet, I can’t try it out, and only those of you with a standalone Outlook (Lonely knights of consulting) should. [Edit: As Jello.Dashboard's developer, dr. Uqbar, pointet out in the comments, the plugin generally works with Exchange, but he cannot test it thoroughly, lacking an Exchange environment, and thus can't guarantee it will run under all circumstances.]
- The official GTD plugin from Netcentrics
This is a plugin for GTD licensed by David Allen Co. – so it must be good, right? In addition to supplying new Task-views that implement Contexts and Projects, it adds a custom toolbar to your Outlook, with which you can easily file, mark as someday/maybe, etc. … it is not free though, after a 30 days trial it costs you USD 69.95… now lets see if we can do better than that:
- Melissa MacBeth gives some good tips on how GTD can be implemented with Outlook 2007′s own tools.
- And finally -for the Outlook part of today: The three – part – tutorial from David Ornstein on embedding the GTD workflow into Outlook 2007. This is deep stuff, it will need some (very well guided) work on your side – but hey, even the folks from DavidCo were impressed – maybe it is worth the effort for you as well?
So you see, there are possibilities to improve your life in Outlook by a vast amount. If you try some of this stuff out, let me know how it goes!
As for me – I am still stuck on a homegrown solution of ToDo-Views, which to implement projects and contexts basically… but it is a hard trick for me. See, I am a Mac user by heart. I have sworn never to have to work on a lousy Windows machine once I made the switch… until my new job came around the corner, and all you get is a ThinkPad with Vista pre-installed, Blackberry and Office 2007. Period. Being a newbie, asking for special treatment was not an option (especially not in a big firm, where you do not really have a lot of choice over your hardware in the first place). I miss my OmniFocus big time. *sniff*. Anyway.
In the next week, we will look at online-options of implementation, for those of you not wanting to tinker with their Outlook, and those who might want to integrate personal and work task management.Read More