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OneNote + Outlook

This series was originally written in 2008. I'm on a Mac at the moment which has neither Outlook nor OneNote, so answering questions and updating might be difficult.

Series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]

GTD using Outlook and OneNote (6)

Originally posted on Put It Somewhere.com

This is the 6th installment of the PiS series on GTD using Microsoft Outlook and OneNote. This time we’ll take a look at using OneNote templates to manage our projects and next actions.

My initial inspiration for using OneNote templates in my GTD system was from Manage This. I was blown away by the idea of having all my actions, notes, and references for a project in view all at once, though some of what Manage This included I felt was too much for me.

My template has five areas: Client/Project Title, Next Actions, Reference Material, Notes, and Target Tuning. I’ve made this template the default for all my project-related sections. Whenever I’ve completed a project, I drag the page to the Archives section.

Download my OneNote template for GTD here. [Updated] Sorry, still trying to locate this file.

Client/ Project Title

The purpose of this area should be fairly obvious. Between the brackets I put the name of the “client” this project is for (if it’s personal, I use “Personal”) and to the right of the brackets I create a verb-based project title, such as “Design new website”.

Next Actions

This is a cornerstone of GTD. Here I list all the actions in order to complete the project. One tremendous advantage of keeping my next actions in full view is that I can instantly see how much I’ve done as well as how much I’ve yet to do. OneNote also provides Expand/Collapse options for lists that get too long.

Reference Material (Emails, Links, Etc)

Since I typically work with two monitors, I often drag emails directly from Outlook to my reference material table. This way I don’t need to sort through old emails when I need to look up something specific to the project. Other related items, such as hyperlinks, can be easily pasted here, as well as links to local files.

Notes

I suppose the purpose of this is pretty obvious, too.

Target Tuning: Ideas & Conclusions

Sometimes when a project is completed, I can see what I could have done differently and better, and this is where I save those ideas. I sort through these during my weekly review.

Anybody can create a template for OneNote; those folks at Microsoft have made the process pretty easy. Start a new page and lay things out as you’d like them. Click Format > Templates and then click “Save current page as a template” at the very bottom of the Template pane and give it a name. If you’d like your new template to be the default template for the section you’re in, find your template in the drop down list (under “Choose default template”) in the Template pane.

Related Posts:

0
Use OneNote with
Outlook for GTD?
Tell us with
a comment!
What is OneNote?
See the demo.

OneNote + Outlook

This series was originally written in 2008. I'm on a Mac at the moment which has neither Outlook nor OneNote, so answering questions and updating might be difficult.

Series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]

GTD using Outlook and OneNote (5)

Originally posted on Put It Somewhere.com

This is the fifth installment of my series on GTD with Outlook/OneNote. In this round we’ll take a look at how I’ve configured my OneNote notebooks, sections, and pages.

To begin with, I can’t say enough good things about OneNote. This is one of the most solid, flexible, useful, and simply awesome applications I’ve ever used. Took me a little bit to get used to not having to click CNTL+S (everything is saved automatically), but that was a small price to pay for something so powerful.

Currently I have five notebooks, four of which apply to GTD: Today (which is both my Inbox and my Tickler files notebook), Projects, Lists, and Reference. The fifth is for a book I’m writing that I’ve separated so as not to overburden my regular daily projects list.

Today

This notebook begins with a section called Inbox which is configured to be my default area for things I send from Outlook. The other sections are numbered 1-31 or named after months or years.

Projects

I practically live in this notebook. There are five sections: Projects, Target Tuning (that’s a PiS thing, not GTD), Someday Maybe, Waiting for [on hold], and Archives.

Each page in these sections is a project. I label each page with name of the project group first, such as: [Client] Title of Project”. We’ll cover more about these later in the section about OneNote templates.

Lists

Here I keep all kinds of lists that I regularly reference. These include my daily and weekly GTD checklists, blog ideas, current Chain Link Fitness exercises, etc.m

Reference

I’ve experimented quite a bit here and finally settled on alphabetically ordered sections – not section groups. For quite a while I was putting things in section groups under A, B, C, etc, but this was requiring more work than I was willing to regularly give.

Often I will name sections according to project groups, but also according to subject, especially if the reference is personal interest.

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Use OneNote with
Outlook for GTD?
Tell us with
a comment!
What is OneNote?
See the demo.

OneNote + Outlook

This series was originally written in 2008. I'm on a Mac at the moment which has neither Outlook nor OneNote, so answering questions and updating might be difficult.

Series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]

GTD using Outlook and OneNote (3)

Originally posted on Put It Somewhere.com

Being aware of your tasks is a vital part of being organized and productive. Outlook 2007 provides many ways to sort and filter tasks including the ability to create customized views. I’ve created a few customized views that make identifying what’s important and in what context much easier. Customized views for Tasks appears in the left side list of sorting options that come with Outlook 2007 by default.

To begin with, I typically only use Outlook task views to help me see what tasks are overdue, due today, and due tomorrow. Occasionally I’ll look at what tasks have been completed, but since I don’t create a task without assigning a date, I expect that anything other than the immediate isn’t worth taking time for.

The customized view I use most is called By Priority (Today) and its purpose should be fairly obvious. Having this view visible along with my customized To-Do Bar really puts my tasks into perspective.

To create a By Priority (Today) view:

  • Click the Task panel (left).
  • Click Tasks in the My Tasks shortcut group (left).
  • Select View > Current View > Define Views from the main menu.
  • Select Active Tasks from the list.
  • Click Copy.
  • Enter “By Priority (Today)”.
  • Click OK.
  • Select “By Priority (Today)”.
  • Click Modify.
  • Click Group By…
  • If Automatically group according to arrangement is checked, uncheck it.
  • Select Priority from the Group Items by list.
  • Click Automatically group according to arrangement.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Filter…
  • Click the Advance tab.
  • Select the Field list.
  • Select Frequently Used Fields.
  • Click Date Completed.
  • Select “does not exist” from the Condition list.
  • Click Add to list.
  • Select the Field list.
  • Select Frequently Used Fields.
  • Click Due Date.
  • Select “on or before today” from the Condition list.
  • Click Add to list.
  • Click OK.
  • Click OK to close the Customize Current View window.

By following these basic steps, you can create all kinds of customized tasks views. Good luck!

Related Posts:

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Use OneNote with
Outlook for GTD?
Tell us with
a comment!
What is OneNote?
See the demo

OneNote + Outlook

This series was originally written in 2008. I'm on a Mac at the moment which has neither Outlook nor OneNote, so answering questions and updating might be difficult.

Series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]

GTD using Outlook and OneNote (2)

Originally posted on Put It Somewhere.com

For those familiar with both GTD and Outlook 2007, the idea of using categories as contexts is fairly obvious and strong – I’m not sure how I would operate now without them. In combination with the To-Do bar and customized task views, these become even more useful.

Personally I love the To-Do Bar in Outlook 2007. Having a task list handy near my email inbox has been a God send. I’ve experimented quite a bit with how best to use it and I’ve settled on a customized view that groups by category, sorts by priority, and only shows overdue and today’s tasks.

Before we can customize this view, we should first create our categories:

  • Click the Categories button   on the toolbar.
  • When the Color Categories window appears, click New.
  • Enter a name for a category. Typically I name categories beginning with the @ symbol, or two @ symbols if I want that category to appear closer to the beginning of the list. An exclamation point is also a useful character.
  • Choose a color, and if you like, a shortcut key combination.
  • Click OK.
  • Repeat this process for all the categories you intend to use.

Customizing the To-Do Bar view in Outlook 2007 is actually very easy.

  • Right click over the To-Do Bar area.
  • Click Customize Current View.
  • Click Group By…
  • If Automatically group according to arrangement is checked, uncheck it.
  • Select Categories from the Group Items by list.
  • Click Automatically group according to arrangement.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Sort…
  • In the Sort Items By list, select Priority.
  • In the first Then by list, select Subject.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Filter…
  • Click the Advance tab.
  • Select the Field list.
  • Select Frequently Used Fields.
  • Click Date Completed.
  • Select “does not exist” from the Condition list.
  • Click Add to list.
  • Select the Field list.
  • Select Frequently Used Fields.
  • Click Due Date.
  • Select “on or before today” from the Condition list.
  • Click Add to list.
  • Click OK.
  • Click OK to close the Customize Current View window.

Now the To-Do Bar is ready!

Related Posts:

0
Use OneNote with
Outlook for GTD?
Tell us with
a comment!
What is OneNote?
See the demo.

OneNote + Outlook

This series was originally written in 2008. I'm on a Mac at the moment which has neither Outlook nor OneNote, so answering questions and updating might be difficult.

Series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]

GTD using Outlook and OneNote (1)

Originally posted on Put It Somewhere.com

This week I’m going to begin a series that describes how I use Outlook and OneNote for my version of Getting Things Done (GTD). I’ve seen all kinds of discussions regarding this and I’ve been meaning to write about this combination for a while, but until today I was unsure how to begin. I’ve decided to simply show my setup and then follow-up with articles based on each.

Here’s out I setup Outlook and OneNote for GTD:

Two monitors (OneNote on the left, Outlook on the right). This makes dragging items from Outlook to OneNote very easy and keeps everything easy to find.

Basic Outlook setup. My email Inbox serves as my GTD inbox as this is where most of my information is received (I even email myself notes from my iPhone) so this view is almost always open. To the right is my To-Do Bar which is customized to only show today’s tasks, grouped by categories. To the left is my Shortcuts panel, customized to only show a few items; namely my inbox, an email folder called Processed, Tasks, and Calendar. I’ve hidden all big buttons on the left besides Shortcuts, though the small icons can be seen.

Basic OneNote setup. Here I have four notebooks labeled: Today, Projects, Lists, and Reference (technically there is a five, but that’s for a book I’m writing and outside the scope of this subject). Today serves as both my Inbox for items I may forward from Outlook (using the Send to Outlook add-in) and my tickler files.

As you can see, the Projects notebook has six sections: Projects, Projects [articles], Someday & Maybe, Waiting for [on hold], Contacts, and Archives. Each page within Projects is a separate project; each project name begins with the client’s name or subject area and the project name (example: “[Client] Project Name”). I’ve created a template for my projects that always begin with a Next Actions section. This project template also contains a place for all my reference materials (emails, links, etc), notes, and ideas/conclusions (Target Tuning).

To help keep all my pages and sections tidy, I use a number of OneNote Power Toys:

  • Sort Pages
  • Sort Sections

I’m sure this post will inspire quite a few questions; I’ll try to answer these in my follow-up posts as quickly as I can write them.

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