Here's an outstanding way to boost your productivity: Oliver Starr recently announced a contest on the GTD Times web site to win a Full Day Executive Coaching from The David Allen Company. I've been fortunate to have received this coaching in years past and it was a very positive and productive experience for me. Meg Edwards was my coach and she worked with me to help tune my systems and habits to become more effective.

I know many of the people on the David Allen team personally and I can say that they are a sharp group of intelligent individuals who are skilled at showing people how to get things done. Unlike a public seminar, where you will learn how to implement the David's GTD methodology in your life, in the workflow coaching you will experience what it's like to actually get things done while learning how to sustain the process.

At the risk of sounding like a commercial spokesman, I'll stop at this: I think the workflow coaching is an extraordinary value. The opportunity to enter a contest to receive this coaching for free is almost unbelievable. The contest ends tonight. Details here.

I just met someone who loves Lotus Notes!

Friday, October 24th, 2008
I've frequently complained that when I meet people who use Lotus Notes, they are often polarized in their extreme like or dislike for Notes. In recent years, it seems that the more outspoken folks are in the latter group.  I've shared that I've found many things in common about this group.

1. Notes thrust upon them by IT or Management with little explanation of why they are using Notes

2. Limited awareness of what Notes can do or even how to use simple features like
       Document Library
       Personal Journal
       Domain Search, Full-Text Index, etc.
       Off-line Access, Replication, etc.

3. Little or no training provided, sometimes only PDF guide

I've also shared that I've been successful - often in just 10-15 minutes - of giving these people enough new information to cause them to walk away understanding a) the value of Notes  to the company and the value of Notes to them, b) what they can do with Notes right away. It's really quite easy and I'm surprised that more companies or even IBM doesn't do this. (It would certainly save their company help desk a lot of grief.)

Continue Reading "I just met someone who loves Lotus Notes!" »

I've been using and recommending CommonTime and iAnywhere Solutions for years. In fact, CommonTime mNotes is a key part of my personal productivity toolkit. I love the way that it seamlessly extends PIM functionality in Lotus Notes to mobile devices.

Earlier this year, a client purchased a Nokia E90 Business Communicator for me as a gift. The E90 is truly an amazing piece of hardware. Unfortunately, I'm unable to use it for two key reasons: 1) no native support for tasks (Sorry, notes attached to calendar do not count) and 2) No support for synch of tasks (see #1) and categories. These were terrible oversights in my opinion.

I'm pleased to read about CommonTime's release of MSuite 5, which extends support for the Symbian S60-based SmartPhones, including the E90. As far as the Nokia support, I hope that CommonTime does not repeat Nokia's mistake by excluding true support for tasks. We'll see. Of course MSuite 5 is about much more than the Nokia support and I look forward to using this product. If it works out well for me, I'll add it to my productivity toolkit.  

via Volker Weber

Microsoft Windows - Better for business?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
As a long-time Windows user, Michael was fed up with the problems he experienced with Windows -- he wanted something better, more reliable, more productive. So, in July of 2003, my colleague and good friend, switched Windows to Mac.

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know that Michael and I enjoyed many passionate discussions and blog posts over this topic. Which was better? When I considered the idea of switching to a Mac, I came to the conclusion that while the Mac is a fantastic machine for some activities, however, it did not support the most important business applications and activities that my clients and I needed. In short, the Mac was not ready for the kind of business applications that my clients and I needed to run. I chose to stick with the PC but I also learned a lot from Michael as he migrated his world from PC to Mac while trying to remain as productive.

I know from our conversations that there definitely were aspects to the Mac that allowed Michael to be more productive than his experience with the PC. At the same time, he ran into many new challenges with his all-Mac implementation. These challenges were costing him productivity and capability. So, it comes as no surprise to me that Michael made this announcement today:
...after 5 years on the Mac platform, today I switched back to Windows, and demoted my MacBook Pro to a lab machine. And I switched back for a very simple reason: Windows is better for business.

I'm not sure I would agree fully with Michael's statement as-is; I would add, "given the present hardware and software offerings and the integration between them, Windows is currently better for business." Of course, this may change over time - and I expect that it will, someday - but as long as Apple holds a tight reign over the OS, Hardware, and apps (and there's much to be said for that) I expect to see more business driven innovation on the PC platform and Windows OS.

As I posted in my comment to Michael, I've enjoyed learning from him as he explored the use of the Mac for business. Some of you may wonder why I'm not rubbing this in more. Michael knows I was right, so there's no point gloating or blogging about it. Actually, I'm quite sad today. This topic has generated many blog posts (1 2) and passionate discussionm, not to mention more laughter for us than any other computer related subject. Now, with us both using PCs and Windows as our primary work platform, I wonder what we'll have left to talk about. We both like the ThinkPad products line, so no disagreement there.  Then, there's always XP vs Vista. (I use, prefer, and recommend XP. I refuse to use Vista on my primary machine, although I do like it as a Tablet OS).

I'll throw the first salvo in the battle for productivity. I contend that in my experience using both XP and Vista, I have found XP to be far more productive for me. Michael just purchased a new Thinkpad with Vista. Once again, I look forward to learning from Michael's choice. ;-)

You can read the rest of Michael's announcement and his thoughts, here.

I've been following with interest several recent blog posts about Microsoft's missteps with the introduction of Vista and with IBM's move to make Lotus Notes Eclipse based. I see valid arguments for why Microsoft or IBM would introduce the products they did and, as a user myself and consultant to clients that use these products, I have my own experiences from which to base an opinion.

When I consider a new tool or an upgrade, what do I look for?

As an eProductivity Specialist - someone that makes a living by showing my clients how to apply Information, Communication, and Action tools and technologies to knowledge work - I get to try all kinds of hardware and software tools. Few of them make it on to my production computer.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself:

1. What will this new tool DO  to my personal productivity?
2. Will this new tool give me a capability that will increase my ability to get things done or to innovate?
3. Will this new tool make my work more enjoyable?

If I see the opportunity for even a reasonable boost in productivity, capability, or fun, I'll often try it.

What is my current desktop work solution?

In case you are curious, here's what I'm currently using to get things done...

Continue Reading "Will Vista or Notes 8 make me more productive?" »

IBM Innovation Jam 2008

Monday, October 6th, 2008
This is my first year to participate in the IBM innovation jam and I'm thankful to have been invited. A Jam is a massive gathering of thousands of people around the world to discuss and innovate around key themes. This year's theme deals with the enterprise of the future. It's the ultimate application of social media to thinking about specific outcomes.

As part of my graduate work in KM, I've been aware of these legendary events for years. Personally,  I'm interested not only in the outcome, but in the process and the tools (in this case, IBM's Innovation Jam web site itself) to see how people from all over the world can come together and innovate around key themes.


This year's areas of inquiry are:
  • Built for Change
  • Customers as Partners
  • Globally Integrated
  • The Planet and its People
From a productivity perspective, thing are on a roll at this year's Innovation Jam. As part of the 12,000 page NDA that I had to review and sign (just kidding) I'm not permitted to blog very much about specifics. But, I am permitted to generically blog, so I may make a post or two as time permits.

Continue Reading "IBM Innovation Jam 2008" »