Today, I needed to access some information stored a long time ago. A quick search of my system found it -- in a Notes database that I created in 1993. I was able to open the database and access the information easily, even though the database and data were created almost 16 years ago. How many products and data files can your current systems read from that long ago?

I started thinking about how many personal computers I have owned in that time and it has to be close to 20, covering the following operating systems:

Windows 3.1
Windows For Workgroups 3.11
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista

I have used this same Notes database, with few changes on each of these systems. Oh, and there was no data conversion or migration. (Unless you call replicating a Notes database to a new machine a migration.) For people in the yellow bubble this is nothing new. For people working with other products and platforms this may be a novel concept.

What brought all of this up is the fact that I'm writing a paper on enterprise content management and I have been reading about the nightmares of managing and migrating content. For the most part, this has simply not been an issue. That's productive!

If Twitter is becoming a part of your daily social networking activities, then there is much that you can do to tweet productively.

Shimon Sander offers these 8 tips:
  • Centralized Dashboard
  • Automate
  • Interaction
  • Retweet
  • Seek & Follow
  • Share Original Thoughts
  • Quotes from other people
  • Answer Questions:

The full article is on Shimon Sandler's blog

Do you have capture fear?

Capture fear is a known ailment among GTDers. Common symptoms include self-induced forgetfulness and a guilt complex. The cause is unknown, but some experts speculate that a compulsive desire to do whatever you wrote down, often immediately, is a leading factor in developing capture fear.  

These people make every written thought into contract with themselves. When they are feeling overwhelmed, they simply stop capturing.  

If you have capture fear, let me assure you that there is help. You can learn to capture your thoughts and save the doing for later. Or simply never do them all. Many other people just like you have been cured.

The key?
1.        Recognize you have problem. Straight from the AA handbook.
2.        Just stop it already. Stop. I mean it. Writing things down is not a binding contract. Treat them as suggestions, not laws.
3.        become a GTD blackbelt. Learn to write your thoughts down and forget them immediately afterwards. Only remember them when you do your Weekly Review or look at your action lists.  And get better at throwing items out. There is more to life than scratching items off a checklist.
Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

Job Board: Jobs for GTDers? GTDer for Hire?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
The GTD Summit had a high-tech job board for Summit attendees. And what a smashing deal for potential employers! Hiring people who are committed to productivity is a great idea, especially in a down economy.

GTD Job board at the 2009 GTD Summit

As a side-note, I’m guessing all the GTD pen-and-paper purists were probably thrilled to see this. I notice that no corners were torn off for some ad-hoc capture tool purposes. Those purists must have remembered to bring their GTD Notetaker Wallets with them to the Summit.

Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

PS. If you are a productivity oriented individual with a strong commitment to GTD and Lotus Notes keep eProductivity in mind. It's a growing company.  

The theme of this blog is all about productivity and getting things done with IBM Lotus Notes. Anything that I find that increases my productivity in some way is a candidate for the Notes On Productivity Blog.

I'd like to highlight a solution that I think has potential to change the way small businesses get things done: Lotus Foundations. Foundations is a clever appliance that will save businesses a lot of time and expense while providing them access to a suite of productivity tools including IBM Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony, and more.*

I blogged about the Foundations server last year and I shared that I was excited to see this solution for the SMB community. At Lotusphere, I Met David Lawrence, one of our eProductivity champions and he took me over to the foundations exhibit where I got to see and touch a Foundations server. Unfortunately, I did not get to actually use it (too many people waiting in line) but I saw enough to see that will be a game changer for small businesses that want to focus on their business and not on managing servers.

Here's an outstanding 10-minute video by Doug Spencer that provides a quick overview of the Lotus Foundations server and how to configure and deploy it.

Via: Bilal Jaffery's blog

I have a small IBM Server here in my lab that as been running Domino 24x7 for the past 6 years. Perhaps, when it is time to upgrade again, I'll replace it with a Lotus Foundations server so that I can offer a hands-on perspective. Meanwhile, I encourgae you to check out the video.

*Since returning from Lotusphere, I've had several inquiries from Lotus Business partners that want to bundle eProductivity with Foundations for the ultimate SMB productivity solution. Hopefully some of them will share their experience so we can all learn more.

The Typist: GTD and Tech

Saturday, April 11th, 2009
If you are a pro at the typewriter, you are a Stone Age relic. A silent film company competing for a Super Bowl ad slot.

Right? Well, let’s not be hasty.

The point is, be careful before adopting new technology into your main workflow systems. A computer word processer (generally) beats the typewriter by five lengths in the Productivity Derby, but not always in the short term sprint.

The typewriter vs. word processor is just an example. Being a pro at an old technology can be more productive than being a novice at a new technology. Unless you have the time and interest to waste spend time tinkering with new gadgets, revamping your system can be a black hole of time. And remember, not all new tech is progressive. Faster does not always mean better.

I thought it very telling that the majority of speakers and panelists at the Summit used paper and pen as their main capture tools. At least that was my perception.

Before adopting new tech, make sure the switching costs make sense.
This is all common advice but applicable because the peer pressure to be on the cutting edge can be intense.

Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

Last week, I encouraged Tamara to blogged about her productivity pursuit and how and why she chose to dump Outlook and switch to Lotus Notes following the GTD Summit. Yesterday, she made a blog post in which she shares her experience installing and using Lotus Notes on a Mac and PC. Here are a few excerpts:
I had no idea that Lotus Notes was still around.  I’m not stupid… I know David Allen uses Lotus Notes, but I had it in my head that it was stagnant software.  Like it hadn’t been updated in a zillion years. I also had it in my head that even if it was still out there and being updated, it was only on an enterprise level.  Not a single user level.  Definitely not available on a Mac in any way, shape or form.  Eric set me straight and I left our meeting excited to get up to my hotel room and download Lotus Notes for the Mac.  It was HARD to get to the download area - I had to create a log in! Dude, that’s too much work! - and then, the entire layout was just unfriendly. It was really a battle.  I was not happy at all.  Not quite frustrated, but unhappy.

When I got home from the Summit, I tried to install Lotus Notes on the Mac.  It installed, wouldn’t do email, and then crashed and burned. Now, when I try to start the software, it tells me that it can’t find the user ID and it can’t find the server.  I don’t know what's wrong.  Googling isn’t getting me the answers I need, and the IBM tech note assumes you’re in a business environment - not on a couch, in your jammies, with a MacBook on your lap.  I’m a little over using Notes on the Mac.  I just can’t get it to behave and I’m seriously tired of fighting with it. I never did get eProductivity installed on there, either.

I ended up getting a new computer [a PC] earlier than planned. As soon as I got it up and running, I downloaded fresh copies of both Lotus Notes and eProductivity.  They installed like a charm and I haven’t looked back.  Every day, I open Notes and view my lists in eProductivity with a huge smile on my face.  (Yes, I AM a dork.  Thanks for asking.)  I work for two people I call Crazy Makers and just knowing that I have a trusted system where I can find everything seriously makes my day.  I NEVER felt that comfortable with Outlook. It’s much easier to deal with their constant insanity now!! I really love how easy it is to create projects, subprojects, link documents and write notes in the system while I’m on the phone with them, trying desperately to keep up as they jump from topic to topic.

For me, the combo of Lotus Notes and eProductivity on a PC is like using a Mac: It. Just. Works...  ...At this point, I don’t care if I need to get a paper route to pay for it.  Lotus Notes and eProductivity will NOT be coming off the work PC once the trials are over.  I will fight to the death to keep the software.

Continue Reading ""I’m a Mac and a PC and I love Lotus Notes"" »


Meg Edwards of the David Allen Company posed that question to the audience in Eric's GTD breakout session: "GTD at Home."

I thought, great question.

Working with someone who is busy is one thing. Being busy is a signaling device that says this person’s skills are in demand. This person has credibility.

But overwhelmed is a whole different ball of wax. The overwhelmed person is not able to focus well on the projects at hand. I don’t trust the quality of his or her work.

GTD certainly makes you busy. I say that both tongue-in-cheek and from experience. When I first started GTD, it made me aware of my many projects that needed some action. I got busy and then quickly I got overwhelmed. I wasn’t familiar enough with my productivity system to handle the influx of new actionable items. That is one kind of crazy, the self-induced kind.

And then sometimes, things simply get crazy due to circumstances. The rest of life has to be put aside and the email inbox that is piling up has to be ignored while you work to get that One Mega Project taken care of. This is a second kind of crazy.

As Meg Edwards observed following her rhetorical question, GTD helps in both camps of “Crazy”. It give you a system to keep overwhelm from happening in the first place. And secondly, it gives a roadmap for getting back to sane once a crazy circumstance has subsided.

As I grown in my familiarity with GTD, I’m finding her words to be true.  

Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

As an adjunct professor at The Master's College, I teach MGT-430 Technology for Business Decision making for each organizational management cohort. (I'm also and Alum of TMC and the OM program).

I recently received this email from the computer department informing me that the college is moving all Alumni to Outlook Live and they are offering students an impressive array of features. Take a look at this email sent to all students & alumni:
Dear Alumni,
Computer Services has begun upgrading TMC's six year old student email system to a new email service hosted by Microsoft called Outlook Live. Testing of the new system is under way and the migration of students and alumni to Outlook Live is anticipated during Spring of 2010.

Here are some of the features provided by Outlook Live:

  • 10GB mailbox size (50x more space than the current 200MB limitation)
  • 20MB attachment size (up from the current 10MB limitation)
  • Access email via Outlook Web Access, Outlook 2007, Entourage 2008 (older versions of Exchange and Entourage are not supported)
  • Active-Sync support for Windows smartphones and iPhones
  • Pull email from existing Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and other supported email services directly into your Outlook Live account via POP or SPOP
  • Enhanced anti-malware and anti-virus protection
  • 25GB of secure online file storage through Windows Live Sky Drive
Impressive - notice the large 10GB mailbox, multiple POP/SPOP, and Active-Sync support, too. Students will LOVE that.

Now, consider the expectations that young people entering the workforce will have for the tools that they will use at work.

Do you know any employers that allow 10GB Mail, access from a variety of mail clients, including mobile devices, and integration with external mail providers?

Continue Reading "Microsoft raises the bar on student expectations for email" »

Meet the Macks

Thursday, April 9th, 2009
Eric, Wendy, and Amy Mack staff the eProductivity pedestal at the 2009 GTD Summit

It’s OK, you are not seeing double. Not really anyway.

This is Eric and his daughters, Wendy and Amy. Both Wendy and Amy are long-time GTD users and they have been instrumental in getting eProductivity ready for market. Much of the excellent help and tutorial files are their work.

They both did a wonderful job demo-ing eProductivity and chatting with Summit attendees. I’m grateful on a very personal level because with them handling the booth, I was able to go to most of the sessions. Thanks ladies!  

This picture also goes to show that GTD is a cross-generational productivity juggernaut!

Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

Catching the Theater at the GTD Summit

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
One creative slice of the Summit was the Coaches’ Theater. Now, I never really got to hear a presentation at the Coaches’ Theater, but judging by the rest of the Summit, I’m certain the material was excellent.


What struck me as particularly clever about the theater was its location: one end of the exhibit hall. By positioning it this way, a lot more traffic got sent by the exhibit booths.
Continue Reading "Catching the Theater at the GTD Summit" »

We’re Getting Dumber: GTD and Tech

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
GTD Summit guest Post by Ryan Heathers

I sure hope not. I do recall my junior-high math teacher making an encouraging conjecture. She speculated that people are much less intelligent today than, oh, 5,000 years ago. The reason: genetic decline. You might say the gene pool just ain’t what it used to be.

But perhaps another threat to intelligent thought is lurking…


At the Summit, Ismael Ghalimi declared that, “Twitter is pure evil”. I heard a similar sentiment echoed by many of the speakers.

Two reasons I can see for making such a strong statement about Twitter: it can be an endless stream of distraction and it can promote quick, thoughtless blurbs.

Continue Reading "We're Getting Dumber: GTD and Tech" »

I love changing people's perspective when they tell me that they hate Lotus Notes or that Notes sucks. In fact, it's given me a whole new outlook when I hear people say "I hate Notes or Notes Sucks." I find that with a little information, most people I speak with will change their view of Notes. Some will even switch. A few weeks ago, at the GTD Summit, I recorded several interviews with people who stopped by our productivity tools exhibit, I had forgotten that I recorded these. After Ed Brill's blog today about how I helped someone convince themselves to switch to Notes, I decided to retrieve my digital voice recorder and download the interviews. I found two interviews that you will find of interest:

Click to hear recording #1: "You mean Notes isn't dead?" (5 Min.)
Meet Tamara - She's an accountant, a devoted Mac user,  but also runs Windows in order to use QuickBooks. She's someone who just discovered that Notes isn't dead and that it even runs on the Mac. (By the way, Tamara is the person that Ed blogged about today.) A few days later, Tamara had migrated her setup from Outlook to Lotus Notes and eProductivity and she tweeted her experience along the way...

Here, posted with her permission, is her testimony:
Eric, I can't begin to tell you how happy I am with the Lotus Notes/eProductivity combo. Everything I've tried to do in Outlook, I either couldn't do to my satisfaction or it was too much of a hassle to maintain. It's very easy to jump into and I've, so far, found that it has actually helped me process my inbox quicker. I'm looking forward to coming in on Monday and tackling my weekly review. NEVER thought I'd say that.

A happy Notes camper tweets about her experience.

Click to hear recording #2: "I Hate Lotus Notes" (11 Min)
Meet Dave. He uses Lotus Notes at work and HATES it. (At least I believe he believes he did. I think is simply uninformed.) This is a longer interview but a very interesting one nonetheless.

Continue Reading "Listen to how I help people convince themselves that Notes doesn't really suck" »

My e-mail, Skype, Twitter, and Sametime  have been buzzing all morning over Ed Brill's post. This combined with some ideas I have about Andrew Pollack's question today "What can IBM Do to help grow the Lotus Community" have me thinking. Here are some hastily collected thoughts on this.

At the GTD Summit, many people stopped by our booth. Many raved about eProductivity, but one of them fell in love with what she saw. Unfortunately, she was not a Notes user. In fact, she had not heard of Notes.

This smart woman decided that she had to have eProductivity and if that meant getting Notes, she would. I was both excited and frustrated -- Excited because I knew from our conversation that GTD along with Notes and eProductivity would be a big help t her. Frustrated because, at present, IBM does little to make it EASY for individuals (future Notes champions) to learn about, buy, and install Notes for personal use.

Two days later this enterprising individual sent an email to let me know that she had downloaded Lotus Notes and eProductivity and had self installed them. A few days later she informed me that she had dumped Outlook in favor of Notes and eProductivity. This isn't the first time this has happened but it's starting to happen more often.

Ed Brill posted his thoughts this morning and I encourage you to read his post and the comments from David Allen, Chris Blatnick, and many others.

Continue Reading "People are learning that it's never too late to switch to Lotus Notes to get things done" »