Last week, my laptop hard drive crashed;
I mean it really crashed. Somehow, while working at a client's crowded
desk, I managed to get my foot caught in the power cord. As I got up from
the desk and walked away, I not only pulled my laptop onto the concrete
floor, I accelerated its descent. It was powered on - at least until it
hit the floor ... The hard drive was destroyed, and the laptop is
only slightly better.
You can learn from my misfortune and from my preplanning for disaster.
Disasters such as this never seem to happen when I have free days on my
calendar. My busy schedule made recovery more challenging. Fortunately,
the night before, I had made a backup of my documents, and just a few months
ago, I had made a routine Ghost (I use Symantec Ghost 2003) of my entire
laptop drive to a spare hard drive. Since I use Lotus Notes, which is constantly
replicating with the server, I did not lose a single email or document.
I was able to take Kathy's laptop, login, and continue working. It took
me about a week to find the time to restore my Ghost and backup to a spare
laptop and to reinstall the programs that I had added since my last Ghost.
Even though it was an inconvenience not to have immediate access to my
files (those, not stored in Notes), it was comforting to know that I had
them. Further, because I used Ghost, rather than just a file backup, I
did not have to reload my system from scratch.
- The time I spend Ghosting my laptop
to a spare drive is time well invested. I plan to do this more often.
- It was very helpful to have my key documents
stored in my Notes Document libraries.
- Having Notes to replicate every 15 minutes
is definitely worth it.
- I plan to make Notes my file store;
I will look into products like SWING or Notes 6.x tools to accomplish this.
- I plan to look into a directory replication
solution, so that I can keep files that are not in Notes synchronized
between my laptop and my server.
- I will check out the latest Veritas
remote (WAN) backup solutions for laptops.
- I plan to purchase a third spare hard
drive, make a ghost of my system, and keep it with me for instant recovery.
Do you have a current backup and Ghost image of your hard drive?
How quickly can you recover from
a drive failure?
If you would like to share your $.02,
please post a comment.
PS. I have several blog entries in the queue. As soon as I get caught up,
I'll proof and publish them.
Many corporations spend millions of dollars,
purchasing and implementing new technologies, hoping to become more productive,
while their current systems remain largely underutilized. When organizations
deny themselves the productive benefits of technology that they already
own, they are wasting their investment and their employees' time. For organizations
that use Lotus Notes, there is no excuse. Much of what they need to be
productive is already built-in or can be easily customized.
The inspiration for this post came from yesterday's
in the David
Allen Getting Things Done Forum
technology and ROI, they just don't get it!
I provide eProductivity
to companies who want to get more from their investment in technology.
Many of these companies already happen to use Lotus Notes, which in my
opinion, is currently one of the most powerful tools for information management
available. Some of these companies equip their people with the tools and
training to use Notes productively, and they achieve a significant return
on their investment. Others use Notes for little more than e-mail and perhaps
a calendar. It is to this latter group that this essay is addressed.
There is a big difference between companies that really use technology
to achieve productive results and those that just talk about it.
difference is a willingness to invest in training and services to help
them fully utilize their technology investment.
For those companies that currently use Lotus Notes, two powerful capabilities
(among many) that they already have are the ability to customize Notes
and the ability to replicate changes across an entire workgroup or organization
An organization can customize their databases to better support their needs
by adding custom fields, workflow, agents, and a host of other capabilities.
Over the years, I have helped many companies increase their productivity
by showing them how to customize Lotus Notes for their needs. I have packaged
many of the things that I have learned about productivity into my eProductivity
template for Lotus Notes. For those of you who are familiar with the GTD
methodology, here's a link to the steps that I use to implement GTD
in Lotus Notes.
For my work, I took the standard Notes mail template and added several
to support the way that I manage my information, communications, and actions.
Using my eProductivity template and methods for Lotus Notes, it is possible
for anyone to easily save five, fifteen, or even up to sixty minutes each
. (Now that's ROI!) This template does not actually change any of
the underlying data, only the way that the information is presented and
managed. This way, compatibity is maintained with the other Notes applications
that I use, including wireless
e-mail on my Palm.
thing is that these templates can be quickly and automatically deployed,
whether to a workgroup of 10 or an organization of 200,000. In a similar
manner, templates can be replaced or updated just as easily. The great
part about all of this is that the driving technology -- Lotus Notes --
is already sitting on millions of desktops.
The undoing of Lotus Notes usually happens from within.
Sadly, a problem that I frequently encounter is sabotage; many of the same
organizations that had the vision and foresight to invest in Lotus Notes
to help their people become productive, sabotage its potential productive
benefits. They do this, either by poor implementation, lack of training,
or refusal to consider use or deploy custom templates. Many organizations
do not even train their people to use the built-in features of Lotus Notes
effectively. As a result, many people never venture beyond the obvious
features, using Notes for little else than e-mail and calendar.
(This problem, by the way, is not unique to companies that use Notes;
I encounter the same problems with organizations that have deployed Microsoft
Outlook or other productivity applications. They sabotage their deployments
in the same way and the potential benefits are limited.)
Now, I understand the reason that some organizations lock down their systems:
they want to prevent users from making changes and creating an extra burden
for IT support. At the same time, the decision to prevent users from customizing
their desktops should not translate into a policy of refusing to consider
any customization or template changes that have the potential to bring
significant value to the company.
Refusal to equip or allow employees to fully use Lotus Notes is not much
different than prohibiting employees from creating their own spreadsheets
in Excel or using macros in Word. In either case, the productive potential
The battle for increased productivity is often lost at the desktop.
I recently consulted for a large organization that had an established policy
of archiving everything in employee mail databases after 60 days. The problem
I have with the way that they had implemented this is that tasks and appointments
disappear after 60 days. (This is not a problem with Notes - just the way
they chose to implement it.) As you can imagine, the employees do not trust
their systems. The result: many do not use Notes for anything but email,
and the potential for productive gain and significant ROI is lost.
If I could convince companies of one thing as a result of reading this
post, it would be this: Lotus Notes is a powerful productivity tool, and
there are many simple things that can be done to equip people to effectively
use Lotus Notes to manage their information, communication, and action.
An organization's investment in Lotus Notes is often considerable, yet
many achieve a return many times their investment. The difference between
those companies that realize a significant return on their Lotus Notes
investment and those that do not is usually how they use it.
I started writing this essay because I was frustrated by the large number
of people that tell me that they want to become more productive in the
way that they use Lotus Notes, yet their organizations will not provide
training, approve the use of any third-party templates, or even allow them
to customize their Notes preferences.
It seems contradictory to to me, for an organization to invest in a powerful
information tool like Lotus Notes and then tie the hands of the people
who stand to benefit the most.
If this sounds like your organization, please be sure to forward this essay
to the people who make these decisions -- I'd like to get their reaction.
Meanwhile, if you have a viewpoint, I would like to hear from you. Click
on Add/Read comments (below) to share your thoughts.