inbox zero

At work, I got my Lotus Notes inbox to zero today, for the first time since March, I think. And I got all the stray paper off my desk. Everything that’s actionable is in the system. Everything that’s not is in reference folders or the trash.

Over the last week or two, I’ve recommitted myself to cleaning stuff up and getting stuff into my system. I’ve also been experimenting with new tools (as I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries), but part of what I’ve learned from doing that is that I needed to tighten up what was already in my current system.

The basic way I’m working that now is that, if something is a clearly-defined programming project, it goes into Jira. If it’s got some parts that don’t fit there, then I also put it in Notes, and reference the Jira issue #. If it’s not a programming project, or it’s at a stage where it’s got too many moving parts, I just put it in Notes. I try to review all my “in process” projects in Jira every day for next actions. And I try to look at the next actions in my Notes to-do list every day too, though I’m not always so good about that.

Back on the subject of tools, I’m still kind of dissatisfied with using my Notes to-do list as my main GTD system. I previously mentioned experimenting with Chandler. I like Chandler a lot, but I still have a problem with the outgoing e-mail, which I mentioned here. I never got any feedback from the Chandler mailing list on this, and I’ve tried a few oddball things to see if I can work around it, but no luck.

Looking around at other systems, I don’t think any of them could be really useful to me, unless they either work well with Notes, or exist within Notes. The only one that could fit the “work well” definition would be Chandler, due to its interesting IMAP setup. For stuff that’s actually *in* Notes, the best system appears to be eProductivity, which is a bit expensive. I’ve also played around with the GTD for Lotus Notes template from Brett Philp. It’s not bad, and it’s free. And it’s just a plain Notes database, so I can go in there and customize forms and whatnot, if I want to.

Meanwhile, I’ll probably be upgrading our main Domino server from 7.x to 8.5 this weekend. I’ve looked at the new mail template, and, while it’s quite nice, I don’t think it really adds anything that will help with GTD. The to-do list, follow-up flags, and folder system all seem to be pretty much unchanged. (I’m kind of hoping that whatever messes up mail from Chandler in 7.x is fixed in 8.5. I’ll have to test that after the upgrade.)

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