As you learn more about GTD, you'll come to appreciate the value of getting everything out of your head and into a system you can trust no matter wherever you are and find a tool to support you. To do this, it's important that you equip yourself with tools that support you wherever you are; at home, the office, or on-the-go. I recommend at least one analog tool and often at least one digital tool, depending on your mobile information management needs. If you are someone that always has a computer available to you 24x7, then this section may not be useful. Lotus Notes does a great job of keeping information synchronized across distributed computers. On the other hand, if you are like me, you spend at least some part of your work day "out and about" and you need a way to keep your GTD lists and related information with you so that you can work from your lists, and manage your work.
Let's discuss the mobility aspect of getting things done while on the run...
III. Get Mobile
Analog capture tools
The most valuable tool I have found, one I highly recommend as your first capture tool is a NoteTaker wallet or equivalent analog capture tool. Now, more than my PDA , my NoteTaker wallet has become my single most valuable mobile capture tool. (I know, I sound like a sales person, but please know that I don't make anything if you purchase a product or not, other than, hopefully, a friend. I'm passionate about sharing what works for me. I own and use the stuff I recommend.) The NoteTaker wallet is available in David's store. Some of forums have links to other sources for less expensive wallets. I like the NoteTaker wallet because it is well made and has a collapsible pen. This may seem trivial but don't underestimate the power of being able to get something out of your head any time any place. Since I always have my wallet with me, this seems like the most logical approach for me. Being the geek that I am, I plan to modify my pen and add an LED light so I can use it in dark places.
Digital Capture & Mobile Information Management Tools
You mentioned that you use a BlackBerry. As long as you are set up to sync your BlackBerry to Notes, you can use any of the previously mentioned Notes solutions when you are mobile. Vanilla Notes and eProductivity for Notes both respect the standard task management fields so you should be above to seamlessly sync your mobile device with lotus Notes. If you customize your Lotus Notes template or if you use a third party, be careful not to alter the way that the standard task management fields work so that you do not break this functionality. A good sync tool will allow you to sync, either through cradle/cable or wirelessly, your email, calendar, task lists, contacts (personal address book), and personal journal. Together these provide you with support for the key lists and personal information storage systems recommended by David Allen. For me, having each of these sync with Lotus Notes is valuable because I don't have to worry about where my data is -- it just is. In addition to support for various mobile hardware, Lotus Notes can be accessed via the web, extending the reach of your information to a variety of devices and locations. All of this allows me to work from anywhere, with any device.
How to keep your mobile device in sync with Lotus Notes.
There are many programs available to help you keep your mobile information device in sync with Lotus Notes. For your BlackBerry, the program that you are mostly likely using is the Blackberry Enterprise Server, or BES for short. This server handles all the wireless sync issues between your Blackberry and Notes. For your staff that use other SmartPhones, there are three general categories of operating systems: Palm, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. Many of the wireless mobility vendors that support Lotus Notes can communicate with each of these platforms. I currently use a Treo as my mobile information tool for Lotus Notes and I use mNotes, by CommonTime, to sync my mobile device. I have also used and deployed the Pylon iAnywhere software by Sybase for clients. A few years ago, I blogged about how I found increased-mobility-with-a-treo-and-mnotes.
Regardless of the device you choose or the software you use to keep it in sync with Lotus Notes, remember that the most important features are:
- Ease of use
- Speed of information entry/retrieval
Meanwhile, I would be curious to know what my readers are using for their mobile implementations of GTD with Lotus Notes?
Links to related posts in this discussion:
I. The eProductivity equation
III. Technology for Notes & GTD