TWO GREAT THINGS THAT GO GREAT TOGETHER – GTD AND LOTUS NOTES

I know, I know. I’m a huge Lotus Notes fan. Just calm down.

I will save my reasoning for another post, but suffice it to say my interest as a small one-man shop in a Medium to Large business collaboration / development platform like Lotus Notes tends to draw a bit of head scratching. But a six part article (only 2 parts have been published so far) by Eric Mack, who works with the creators of the “Getting Things Done” methodology (GTD for short), sheds some light on how Lotus Notes, and various non-Lotus clients such as Blackberries, PocketPC’s etc. can be leveraged against the Lotus platform to allow for tremendously increased productivity in a way that reduces the stress that piles up around not getting things done.

If you aren’t familiar with the GTD methodology, it’s basic premise is that if you have an iron-clad system that you trust for organizing the flood of details, tasks, and communication that make up a typical work day, you will be able to better manage that deluge and not miss any details, nor be surrounded by growing stacks of miscellany (or even worse, really important stuff). And since the iron-clad system requires established and well regimented set of habits, those details won’t be stressing you out, because they are in the ‘system’ that you trust, and not bouncing around in your brain –which for most people is not really very good at that kind of organization.

That’s kind of where GTD tends to fall down for lots of people. Folks with day jobs tend to punch in at nine, and out at five, and their evenings and weekends are their own. Most small business owners, entrepreneurs, or senior level executives (for whom the book seems to be targetted) are always on the clock. Or at least are likely to be interrupted by it at all hours. Mucking around with the habits required for survival without enough capital or momentum with which to be able to afford the time required to build these habits can be potentially damaging. And so most people, like myself, get most of the way through the book but don’t finish, or find themselves unable to commit to certain procedural strategies and get only a fraction of the benefit.

That’s why I’m eagerly anticipating the upcoming release of the official GTD notes template, “eProductivity™ for Lotus Notes™,” due for release… soon? Hopefully.

Out of the box, Notes is an okay environment for the GTD methodology. I purchased DavidCo’s (the company behind the book, etc.) booklet that is mentioned in Eric Mack’s article that shows how to rethink Lotus Notes for use with GTD practices, but if you are used to using Lotus’s best practices for the Notes client, trying to bend your brain in a new way when the client “feels so right” if used in it’s originally intended way… well lets just say that I’m, again, only using bits and pieces.

If this Notes template, created by the developers of the process, can (as advertised) integrate into the standard Notes features and functionality, embody the purity of the complete GTD process while still offering some levels of flexibility, then unless it costs kingly sums, this may become the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of personal productivity / organization for Small Businesses.

If you find GTD intriguing, and Notes nauseating, do a quick search for “GTD” over at lifehacker.com. You will surely find mention of a GTD(ish) product that works on your OS, Mail / Office suite, mobile phone, salad shooter, etc.

If you’re curious about why any one single, solitary, person would want to use Lotus Notes, stay tuned. It’s coming.

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