ManDrowingInBox115.jpgIn the fast pace of today's business world, we are pressed to do more with less, to track more things and, well, get things done. Unfortunately, it's easy to get overwhelmed, miss something, and have things fall through the cracks. When that happens, you lose control and perspective and this can have a draining impact on your personal productivity, causing unpleasant ripples in your personal and professional life.

The solution is to hold the world back once a week so that you can do a thorough review of everything that you have (or should have) attention on. David Allen calls this, the Weekly Review. By completing a thorough review, you will feel a greater sense of control and perspective throughout the week and when you do it consistently it will transform the way you get things done.

The Weekly Review Process. It is the critical success factor for people that want to get things done.

This Thursday, May 28th, GTD Coach and fellow eProductivity user Kelly Forrister is leading the first Worldwide GTD Weekly Review. Kelly will be using Twitter to coach a global audience through the Weekly Review process.

Continue Reading "Worldwide GTD Weekly Review Thursday - Don't miss it" »

Using Lotus Notes to Read Personal Mail

Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Lotus Notes Product Manager, Dwight Morse, has just posted a detailed tutorial that explains how to use Lotus Notes to retrieve your personal email (e.g. from a hosted account.) Dwight provides detailed screen shots for each step. If you are a first-time user of Lotus Notes and you want to use Notes as your personal information management system, I think you will find this tutorial helpful.

I'm pleased to see this tutorial. Many first-time users are installing Notes for themselves, either to get eProductivity or because they have learned that GTD Author, David Allen, uses Notes. Either way, these people need simple steps to find, download, install, and configure Notes. This is an area in which IBM has historically been light on information for the end-user.

Dwight's tutorial is a step in the right direction to making it easy for people to install and use what David Allen and I believe is an outstanding information management and self-organization tool.

I look forward to Dwight's future tips and I will blog about them as I see them.

Here's what's on my wish list for the future:
  • An equivalent tutorial for a first-time installation of Notes 8.x for Mac and PC. (Including how to locate, navigate to and download the software.)
  • Videos for each tutorial posted on YouTube to make it easy for people to find and get started
What first-time Notes user topics would YOU like to see IBM blog about?

Link: How to use Lotus Notes to retrieve your personal email

I am about to begin a major research project - one that will require that I bring all of my PKM tools to bear for the next three months as I process hundreds of articles and thousands of other digital artifacts.

I will continue to make extensive use of three of my favorite tools for information and knowledge management:
  • Lotus Notes
  • Personal Brain
  • MindManager
The issue that I am thinking about is where I will use these tools and how. Each has its strengths. For this post, however, I want to focus on a more fundamental issue: organization and portability and I am reaching out to my readers to join the discussion.

For this project, I will need to integrate these tools more than I have in the past. Thankfully, I have the integration down quite well. Both teams at MindJet and The Brain have accommodated my request to integrate support for Lotus Notes Doclinks, which means that I can simply paste a Notes doclink into a MindManager map or a Personal Brain and have that become an active link or thought that will link back to the source in Notes. (A big shout out and thanks to both companies for listening to my passionate pleas and for looking at the source code I sent them to do the job. Both product work great with Notes.)

Now, I want to add two more factors into this equation:
  • External files stored in folders on the file system
  • The ability to sync my MindManager maps, brain, and external files between computers.
Doing either of the above is actually not difficult - I've been doing either one (at a time) for years. What gets tricky is that I now want to do both - Oh, and it has to work seamlessly and reliably.

So, let me restate my objective:

Objective: Seamless nonconcurrent use of Lotus Notes, Personal Brain & MindManager (with all related files in My Docs) between multiple computers.

We can leave Lotus Notes out of the equation because, well, it simply works. I want your help exploring the issue of file management under both Personal Brain and MindManager.

Continue Reading "Lotus Notes, Personal Brain, and MindManager playing together" »

As a knowledge worker, part of working productively is having confidence in the tools that you use. For myself and David Allen, Lotus Notes is our productivity platform of choice and we can't help but share how we enjoy using it. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys the same passion and vision for Lotus Notes as a powerful tool for knowledge work as we do. Sometimes, people even complain, blog, Tweet, or otherwise make it known that they are unhappy with Lotus Notes.

Fortunately, we have a strong Yellow community that helps one another. (more on that in a moment)

Today, Scott Hooks blogged about his insights helping people see Notes differently in his post: Lotus Notes Sucks? Not so much. His timing couldn't be better and I find it refreshing to see people reaching out to make a difference.

As a Chief Lotus Advocate, Scott makes it a point to find unhappy Notes users and offer to help them. Scott makes two observations that I want to point out:
Each time I spotted one [a complaint about Notes], I would reply to it and offer assistance if they would provide more detail. Most people didn't respond. My hypothesis is that most people don't want to have their minds changed about something they "like to dislike."
Like Scott, I've found that with a few minutes of discussion, I can often help people change their thinking about Notes.

Scott continues with his observation:
Continue Reading "Lotus Notes Sucks? Not so much (A happy ending)" »

I was invited to participate in last week's blogger conference call with IBM Lotus General Manager Bob Picciano.  The topic for the call was IBM's Smarter Work initiative. I was unable to attend the call due to a prior commitment (more on that later) but Nathan Freeman has done an extraordinary job of summarizing the call for our benefit.

I'm interested in seeing where the Smarter Work Initiative goes. I know that David Allen has offered to meet with Bob to discuss Smarter Work. I think it would be great to have IBM learn from someone that understands Smarter Work and who happens to be a Lotus fan.

Anyway, I highly recommend that you read Nathan's summary and listening to Bob's comment to Nathan.

Bruce asked Bob about Twitter. Apparently Bob does not follow Twitter but he does read lots of blogs. (Bob, sorry I missed the blogger conference call. No idea if I'm on the list of blogs you read, but I'd love to talk with you.)

If you have not already seen it, Bob had a great Op Ed piece at CIO com that is also worth reading.

Several bloggers have recently shared how they are using Lotus Notes as their system for Getting Things Done using David Allen's GTD Methodology. This weekend, Jens Bruntts wrote up an extensive blog post with screen shots detailing how he's using Lotus Notes and eProductivity as his GTD Solution. Not much I can add to this except that it was really neat to see eProductivity running under Linux (thanks to Lotus Notes cross-platform support). I'm aware that many people are using eProductivity on Mac and Linux but I have only seen a few screen shots.*

Read Jens post: eProductivity review part two: What is it?

* Yes, I'm a Mack and yes, I'm Mac challenged. But I did make sure that eProductivity would run cross-platform so that I can switch at any time. The hard part will be finding equivalents for GyroQ and ActiveWords.

A few weeks ago, David Allen shared with me that he had been invited to introduce the Windsor Lotusphere Comes to You event, hosted by CastleBreck Inc., a Canadian Lotus Business partner. I encouraged him to accept the invitation. Last week, David greeted the Lotusphere Comes To You 2009 Windsor audience:


David makes the case for why tools like Lotus Notes are key to his personal and organizational productivity:
"You know, in order to get things done, we all need to collaborate, with ourselves as well as with others, so it's important to have great tools that help us manage our commitments and focus as well as supporting each other with communications, information, and our ability to stay consistent and current in our organizational focus. Lotus Notes really fills that bill."


David then goes on to share his experience using Notes and why he thinks its cool:

Continue Reading "David Allen greets attendees at Lotusphere Comes to You" »


I'm trying to figure out how to best serve our customers that are switching to Lotus Notes from Microsoft Outlook. When we launched eProductivity, we designed it to be the ultimate productivity application for Lotus Notes users. Our marketing plan didn't include getting people to switch to Lotus Notes from something else. Frankly, I didn't expect anyone would.

I was wrong.

We are learning that people are switching to Lotus Notes in order to use eProductivity, but many of these people have never used Lotus Notes before. The numbers are very small right now, but they are growing.

I should point out that these are individual users, not enterprise deployments. At least not yet. Typically, these are people that learn about David Allen's Getting Things Done® (GTD®) Methodology from a book, web site, seminar, or conference, get hooked on the idea of increasing personal productivity, learn that David Allen uses and recommends Lotus Notes and eProductivity. They then Google for these tools and install them.

Traditionally, Lotus Notes has not been been sold directly to end-users and an end-user wanting to get started or seeking answers can find it challenging, even though IBM has a huge collection of support material. Those that are successful in finding, buying, downloading, and installing Lotus Notes have no problem installing eProductivity, but I frequently hear of people having small questions or problems setting up POP3 or IMAP and Lotus Notes. While I'm thrilled that non-Notes users are finding value in the solution we have to offer, if someone switches to Lotus Notes from Outlook because of my product I want to do what I can to help ensure that their experience with Lotus Notes is a positive one.

I've always thought that Lotus Notes is the ultimate Information Manager, long before GTD and eProductivity came along. At present, Notes is positioned as a solution for IT and enterprises. What I'm seeing is interest from individuals. You can see the obvious gap. This gap represents an opportunity, if IBM can find ways to make this experience easier for new users.

Continue Reading "How to best serve Notes users switching from Outlook?" »