Recently, a coaching client asked me for some recommendations for paper-based resources that would help him implement "Getting Things Done."

I coach executives and professionals who use a variety of systems and tools. No matter how elaborate your systems, I find it's always helpful to have at least a few physical tools: solid reminders of ideas and tasks can be extremely helpful. Plus, the physical act of writing can help your memory and creative thinking.

In light of this, I recommended that he consider the following for his personal GTD system, all of which I've found helpful:

  • Notetaker Wallet: This lets me quickly and conveniently capture ideas anywhere. It's important to have this capability, whether you use the wallet or something else

Disclaimer: I don't benefit from the sales of these products: these links are provided solely as helpful resources for your consideration.

While some know of David Allen by his book or seminars, I've had the good fortune to get to know David personally and be coached by him. I worked for David for many years and in that time, he has become a friend, mentor and colleague. I know his approach to personal productivity works and I can testify that he practices what he preaches about productivity.

At its core, his message is not a difficult one. It goes like this: 1) Get things off your mind, 2) Make a list of your outcomes and actions, 3) Organize these appropriately, 4) Review your lists, and 5) Make informed choices about what to do (or not do). Putting these things into practice and making them a habit takes some effort. (David and I even collaborated on cool software that makes this easy for users of IBM collaboration solutions.)

Like an iceberg, there's more below the surface and there's a lot of deep thinking that has gone into how to communicate the power that comes from these principles. Long before this approach became known around the world as his "Getting Things Done" (GTD) methodology David was teaching and refining the same model with clients. I've been listening to David's presentations on productivity and getting things done for 20 years (I even coproduced his first GTD cassette album which tells you how long ago that was). Yet, I never tire of hearing David speak. In fact, each time I listen I pick up something new that I can apply in my own life.

While the essence of GTD hasn't changed substantially, David's presentation continues to be refined with an emphasis on clarity, application and motivation. I'm continually amazed at the clarity that David brings to his message of what it takes to get things done and this TEDx presentation is no exception. Even if you are familiar with or practice the GTD approach, you'll be inspired by David's recent presentation at Claremont College.

GTD Meetup at The Master’s College

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
This morning I was invited to be a guest speaker at a GTD meetup at The Master's College in Santa Clarita. A group of professionals have been studying David Allen's book, Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity, for the past year and asked if I would be willing to host a GTD Q&A session.  
20120306 - GTDQandAatTMC.jpg

I shared a 5 minute overview of the GTD methodology then took questions. There were a lot of excellent questions about managing lists, what tools to use, and how to work across disparate systems.

The new Legacy Center is an impressive meeting venue. While I teach two classes on campus, I've not spent much time there. What a beautiful facility; it's hard not to feel scholarly.

I consider it a privilege to share what I have learned with a fine group of people dedicated to developing the next generation of students. I wish I had been taught the skills of high performance knowledge work when I was a young student. I'm delighted to help those who are investing in the lives of the next generation and I look forward to the next opportunity to do so.

Take the 14 day GTD Challenge and Get More Done

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

The folks over at GTD Times recently announced a 14-day GTD Challenge, designed to help folks take their productivity to a whole new level. The event is free and will be hosted in the GTD Connect community.

The free event kicks off Thursday, September 22 with the first of two webinars by Kelly Forrister and Meg Edwards - both are senior presenters with the David Allen Company. As a side note: I've worked with Kelly for close to 20 years and Meg was one of my personal GTD coaches (Thanks, Meg!) Even if you are experienced at getting things done, this is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen your skills.

I like the idea of the 14-day challenge. I think it's a great idea and anyone that participates is sure to benefit greatly. I've decided to offer a series of free webinars in tandem with the above 14-day GTD challenge to help people that use Lotus Notes apply what they are learning in Kelly and Meg's webinar to the Lotus Notes environment. I'll share how I use these tools and I'll provide the opportunity for people to ask questions. I'll have a drawing for a few software licenses to attendees and I'll even do a drawing for two free eProductivity Jumpstart coaching sessions as a thank you for people who help spread the news about the event. (See below)

You can learn more over on the Notes On Productivity Blog.

Would you help me tell others about this opportunity?
If you have a productivity community (GTD, or eProductivity, or anything else) please consider making a post and pointing folks to my Notes On Productivity Blog. I'll be using that site to post updates and then direct people to other resources as appropriate.



2011: Ringing in the New Year

Saturday, January 1st, 2011
A quiet day of reflection at my desk today...

2010 was a whirlwind of a year, with many challenges, opportunities, and blessings. If you received our 2010 Christmas letter, then you have a glimpse at what our year was like.

Looking back at 2010
  • A great kick-off at Lotusphere; IBM even spotlighted our product in the technical keynote! (Thanks, Ed Brill)
  • A new product launch and continued business development; looking forward to closing some larger deals in 2011
  • Thankful for our consulting clients and eProductivity customers around the world. I enjoy reading the emails and letters of thanks we get. Neat to know our product is changing people's lives at work and at home.
  • For my blog readers, thank you for sharing and for your emails and tweets of encouragement.
  • Many opportunities for music for the girls, including the a handbell festival, multiple bell choirs, vocal ensembles, choirs, and orchestra. All of this was rounded off by a week of performances at The Master's College "Come Christmas Sing" events followed by a weekend of Candlelight Christmas concerts at Church and topped off by a Hallelujah Chorus sing at the mall. (It was billed as a "Flash Mob" but when thousands showed up to participate it lost its "flash" status. It was just a mob. It was still a lot of fun.
  • I was able to attend two knowledge management conferences and speak at one. Exciting things happening there as I test and refine some of my materials and concepts for a future book.
  • I taught my best class ever (Technology for business decision-making) at The Master's College. I really enjoy serving in this capacity. It's a great college with a great mission.
  • I did not have much time to pursue hobbies this year, but I made progress moving some of these forward to do in 2011
  • I am in awe of the many ways that the Lord provided for our needs this year, many times even before we knew we had a need. I am thankful for the many friends and family who helped and encouraged us in 2010.
  • A great year of home schooling our four girls. I so enjoy seeing my children learning and growing. I also like flirting with their teacher (don't worry, my wife doesn't mind). ;-)
  • After 10 years of study, Amy & Wendy each earned an Awana Citation Award. I'm very proud of them.
  • Emily & Kelly were baptized this year; I enjoy seeing my children delight in the Lord. Kathy and I are praying for their friends and future spouses.
  • Amy & Wendy turned 18 this year. I'm very proud of them and thankful for the godly women they've become.
  • I still can't watch Steve Martin in Father of the Bride with out getting angry (or at least frustrated). Not sure that will ever change.
  • My love for my wife continues to grow as we celebrate our 50th anniversary for the 21st year. So cool to be married to my best friend.
  • I realize how blessed I am to have a loving wife and children, great team mentors and advisors, and the most talented bunch of people to serve with at work, and an encouraging group of friends and family.

Looking forward to 2011
  • One of my many goals this year is to become more active on my blog and social networks. I value the learning I get from these activities and I will plan to spend more time here. Thanks to everyone that takes the time to engage.
  • Amy & Wendy are wrapping up their senior year of high school and are looking forward to college. I'm still getting used to the idea. A big shift from our one room school house where we've learned and laughed together for the past 18 years.
  • Looking forward to big enterprise sales in 2011 as more business recover from the financial downturn of the past few years.
  • I have a few new projects and products I hope to make progress on in the productivity/personal knowledge management space.
  • I'm thinking about joining either our church orchestra or choir this year. (I'm not sure the orchestra will want a Tenor Kazoo  so it will probably be choir.)
  • I am still working my way through Janet Goldstein's Publishing Reset program for writers (Thanks, Jason for the tip!). I look forward to putting what I'm learning into practice and sharing with others through this blog.
  • I look forward to dating my wife and daughters more this year. They are each special to me and I am blessed to be surrounded by five lovely ladies.
  • I'm going to try to make 2011 a year of simplicity. I've shut down all but one server at home and I'm even simplifying the tech and apps I use at my desk. Of course, to achieve the level of simplicity I desire, I will probably have to venture into new levels of technological complexity to accomplish it. Go figure.
  • On the spiritual side, I'm excited to try a new approach to reading through the scriptures; I'll be using Prof Horner's Bible Reading System, a schedule of 10 parallel reading themes that promises a new perspective of God's Word. I have a new ESV translation of the Bible, a gift from Pastor Sumrall when I spoke in Manilla.
  • Finally, I'm looking forward to seeing how the Lord will work in my life and those of my family. Last year, we saw so many things (and those were just the ones we took the time to enumerate).
  • Finally, This year, I hope to be more quiet and observant as I seek to honor the Lord and serve him.
It's time to do a yearly review; clean up the old and organize myself for action 2011.  Tomorrow, I will begin to reorganize my office, computer, and files for the new year.

I'm looking forward to getting started!

With the recent discussions about Apps and how consumers want the freedom to find, evaluate, and purchase Apps for their Smartphones, I wonder how many users are able download and use a productivity application and how many have policies that prevent them from doing so.

If you found a productivity application for your mobile device that was proven to increase your performance, would you: a) be allowed to install it? b) encounter resistance (or refusal) from IT to allow you to install it? c) make a business case to management for why this App should be allowed?

Please take a moment to vote in one of the two quick polls below, then visit the Notes on Productivity blog to share your comments.

Update: The survey is now closed. View the results below


I'm not asking whether you think Smartphones connected to enterprise systems should be locked down or not - there are many valid arguments for both sides of that discussion. What I most want to know is what the current climate is like when it comes to productivity applications on mobile devices and what organizations are doing to encourage/permit or discourage/restrict users from downloading and using productivity applications on their mobile devices.

Update: I split the question into two separate polls because otherwise the results could be skewed in favor of the iPhone/Android as these devices are often unmanaged/uncontrolled in the enterprise.

Please continue this discussion on the Notes on Productivity blog.

IBMer Amanda Bauman of the  Lotus Technical Information and Education Community Blog recently shared her experience implementing GTD in Lotus Notes with eProductivity. It's a great post and worth reading. I'd like to share the comment I posted on her blog in response:

Hi Amanda, thanks for continuing to share your experience getting things done with Notes and eProductivity. As the creator of the software, I was tickled to read this:
"This made me think of using GTD and eProductivity as having a time machine. It gave me back hours if not days of time I might have spent getting a handle on all the things I had to do.  It also gave me confidence that I hadn't dropped the ball on anything, and who doesn't want to feel like that?."

Amanda, that pretty much sums up the 'Successful outcome" we had in mind when we set out to create the ultimate productivity solution for Lotus Software. You are not alone; we routinely hear from users that they are saving 30 minutes to an hour or more each day.

At the end of my comment, I reiterated an offer I have extended to other technology and productivity bloggers:
As far as getting a license key, my open blogger offer remains: all I ask is that you give eProductivity a try for a month and blog your experience in at least four posts on topics of your choosing. At the end of your evaluation, if you conclude that you would like to keep eProductivity, I'll send you a free activation key, no strings attached. If you decide that you would prefer to go back to your old way of working, you can simply remove eProductivity. In either case, all of your projects and actions will remain in place, so you won't lose anything. I do hope you will continue to share your experience along the way and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Reading your blog post and the feedback we receive weekly from customers is great validation. Thanks.
If you are a technology or productivity blogger and you'd like to evaluate and blog about your experience with eProductivity, let me know. If you end up agreeing with thousands of others that eProductivity is the ultimate productivity application for IBM Lotus software and you want to keep using the product, let me know and I'll send you a complementary license key. You have nothing to lose except the time you waste each day being less productive that you could be.
I've just finished a debriefing meeting with my team following this morning's "Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes" web event with David Allen.

We're still trying to wrap our head around the overwhelming response to this event. Clearly, there are a lot of people using Lotus Notes who want to be more productive at what they do.

We had over 900 pacesetters from over 400 organizations, asking over 500 questions, and a very high level of engagement in the discussion. That's even more activity than the very successful GTD web event for IBMers three weeks ago. Apparently, the #GTDLN Twitter feed was also quite active as well.

I was also surprised at the number of people that do not use Lotus Notes who attended in order to learn more about Lotus Notes.  In fact, a few people wrote to ask if we would spend more time on Lotus Notes itself. Glad to see that interest. (Perhaps IBM should consider scheduling some live events like this for people new to Lotus Notes?)

As often happens in a live event, we ran out of time and I apologize for that. I had to skip many slides and a live demo. I know we could never have answered every question that came in, but I would like to have more time for Q&A. I'll have to improve that for the next event.

There were many popular questions (I'm still processing) including:

"How can I watch a replay or get a copy of the slides?"

We're working out the details but be sure to subscribe to the newsletter as we will share links to the replay events and downloads there. Or, you can visit the eProductivity web site.

"I don't use Lotus Notes yet but I want to. How do I get started?"

Good question. There are many excellent Lotus Business Partners out there than can help. Many of our first-time Notes customers (people that purchase Lotus Notes just so they can run eProductivity) have reported great success with Phase2. They have a hosted Notes solution that seems to work well for our customers. (I will blog about this, soon.)

"Is there a version of eProductivty for Outlook?"

I wish I made $ every time sonone asked that question. Sorry. Currently, eProductivity is for IBM Lotus Notes only. Outlook users may want to look at the NetCentrics GTD Add-in for Outlook. I have no plans to make eProductivity for Outlook. I'm much more interested in bring eProductivity to mobile devices rand the Cloud.

"How can I try eProductivity for myself?"

Easy. go here to get started with a free demo (simply download, open, and go) or a free 21-day trial

"What's the special offer you made on the webinar?"

It's great deal. Sorry, that's for registered webinar attendees only. Consider signing up for the next webinar.

"When is the next webinar"

Tomorrow. See the upcoming webinar event schedule for details.

I want to give a big shout out to the tech team who had their hands full trying to handle the volume of incoming email, skypes, questions, and twitter feeds. Great job!

Looking at the incoming email, which is now filling up, it looks like it will be a few more hours before I can mark this event "completed."

Thank you to everyone who attended. I'll try to post more information once I have time to process the day's event.
Several weeks ago, I had a conversation about Lotus Notes and one of my takeaways was that I should explore doing more webinars to help people get more from Lotus Notes. Webinars were always a part of my agenda but had often been placed on the back-burner to projects like grad school, my speaking engagements at KMworld and Lotusphere, launching a new product release for Lotus Foundations and planning for the BlackBerry application. Several people encouraged me to move webinars from 'Someday/Maybe' to 'NOW' and they offered to help spread the word.

Because I wasn't sure how much interest there would be, I decided to look at my web logs and databases to look for potential groups of interest. Seeing that I have a large number of IBMers that follow my blogs and some who use eProductivity, I decided to make the first webinar a private webinar and, based on the interest coming from IBMers, I decided to make it specific to that audience. I then asked people I know to share this event with their coworkers so that we could see who might sign up. I told them that if there was sufficient interest in a webinar, I might invite David Allen to copresent with me. This would allow us to cover methodology as well as technology.

The response was overwhelming

As of today, we have well over 500 IBMers signed up and a growing list of people that have expressed interest in follow-on events. I'm still working on the agenda, but here's a quick overview as it stands now:

AGENDA: Getting Things Done with Lotus Notes

•Your Personal Productivity Equation
•Overview of the GTD® Methodology
•How to implement GTD in Vanilla Lotus Notes
•How to use eProductivity™ for IBM Lotus Notes
•What's in Eric and David's Productivity Toolkit
•Your Roadmap to Making It All Work
•Resources and Tools

IBM-only Event, April 8, 2010 10:00-11:30 AM PST        
Public Event, April 28, 2010 10:00-11:30 AM PST        

Continue Reading "Over 500 people have signed up for the Webinar this week" »

As I mentioned over on the Notes on Productivity blog, this last weekend I talked with David Allen on a variety of subjects around productivity and Lotus Notes.

David allowed me to record a portion of our conversation, and he has this great riff on Outlook and Lotus Notes that I want to share with you.

12-24-08_SantasEMailIcon.jpgCheck out the screen shots of how Santa uses Lotus Notes to get things done in time for Christmas. For the background on this story and an exclusive photo, you can read the full story.

Source: Notes On Productivity

Rock your work with Lotus

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Lotus doesn't know about this video.

[ YouTube Link ]

Lotus recently held a contest and asked people to create videos about how they're using Lotus products in creative ways. With everything I have going on at ICA and eProductivity, I made the choice to put "create Lotus Knows video" on the back burner. I knew this meant I would miss the deadline to enter the contest. That's OK.

Here's my video. It's a little rough around the edges, but it was fun to create. I certainly can't take credit alone for this video. I had help and encouragement from a talented group of people who helped me turn some of my unpolished ideas into the final video you see.  Hat tip to Brian, Tanny, Ryan, and Bruce.  (Yes, Michael, it was created on a Mac.)

It was a fun and creative exercise to put this together. I welcome your comments and feedback.
Ann Veneman, the head of the United Nations' children's fund, UNICEF, took time to answer questions for the media recently. Among the many important questions she chose to answer was one about the migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange:

Do you believe spending $5.8 million on email migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange is justified given UNICEF is funded entirely from voluntary contributions? What was the business case for your move from Lotus Notes to MS Exchange? How will it help UNICEF?

The vast majority of UNICEF's staff are scattered around the world in country offices, managing programmes that target the urgent needs of children. Global communications that are efficient and effective are essential to this work, and decisions about them are not taken lightly. UNICEF decided to migrate to Microsoft Exchange/Outlook after an assessment of its specific organisational needs and priorities. The assessment revealed that migration will deliver an email and communication environment that better meets these needs with considerable cost-savings, and the ultimate beneficiaries will be children in need. UNICEF is one of several UN agencies taking this step.

So, it looks like UNICEF and perhaps other UN organizations are trying to get greater value from the investment they have already made in their messaging and collaboration technology. Microsoft must have a very compelling value proposition for UNICEF to decide to invest close to six million dollars to rip and replace their existing infrastructure. I recently blogged my thoughts on how UNICEF can get greater value from their existing investment in Lotus Notes.

Reuters: UNICEF chief answers your questions, September 5, 2009

Until recently, the worst email inbox I've ever seen was a client that has 7,000 emails in his inbox. A few months ago, a customer shared that he had over 17,000 emails in his inbox. Ouch!  He went on to tell me that he went to a GTD seminar and felt convicted to go back and process his inbox to zero. He said it took over a month but that he had gotten to zero and planned to stay there.

ManDrowingInBox115.jpgIt's been over a month since I last did a full weekly review. I took a 6 weeks off of work to complete my Master's degree in Information and Knowledge Management and then two additional weeks to spend some time with my family.

During this time, I blogged only occasionally and I intentionally ignored most emails, doing only an occasional emergency scan of my inbox in order to delegate time-critical items to my team.

20090901-EricMackFullInbox4023Emails.jpgToday, I returned to the office to an overflowing inbox - over 4,000 emails and a small stack of paper to process.


At least it's all in one place, ready for me to process.

The good thing is that I know how to process my inbox quickly and I have excellent tools to do it. I guess it's time for me to start eating my own dog food again.

I wonder how long it will take before my friend Luis finds this blog entry in his RSS feed and try to get me to declare email bankruptcy or give up email altogether? (Sorry, Luis, it  ain't gonna happen. When used properly, e-mail is far too valuable and powerful as a communication tool to get rid of. And, I like to have everything in one place, ready to process.)

I think I now qualify to be the new eProductivity poster-child. Since I have a number of meetings coming up I can't take too much time off to process this all at once. I plan to set aside an extra hour or so each day to process my inbox to empty.

What's the worst email inbox you have ever seen?
As a child, I remember going door to door on Halloween with my UNICEF Box to collect money to help children around the world. I've been following with great interest this  Inner City Press news report of an apparent  whistleblower report claiming that UNICEF has apparently decided to migrate from Lotus Domino to Microsoft Exchange at a cost of approximately 6 million dollars. I must admit that I find this alarming when I do not see a financial or operational benefit to UNICEF for the cost of switching platforms, (I would say the same if they were an Exchange shop and were thinking of switching to Domino.)

There's been a lot of discussion in the Notes community about what people think is going on and the logic of the decision-making. An interesting summary also appears here. I won't try to second-guess the reasons -- I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Two things are clear to me:
1) I do not have any facts about the matter
2) There's probably more to this decision than is readily apparent.

How can UNICEF get greater value from their current investment in IBM Lotus Notes/Domino?

At the end of the day, migration decisions are about value. Someone, somewhere at UNICEF, must believe that the UNICEF will get greater value from migrating to a new platform than from staying with the present platform. In talking with some colleagues at ICA, we got to thinking about how  UNICEF might obtain greater value from their current infrastructure - value that would more than justify any investment.  Since UNICEF has already upgraded their Domino infrastructure to Notes 8, they already have in place a proven system to messaging, collaboration, and distributed applications. And, with version 8.51,  things are going to get even better. Domino 8 already offers the IT side of the house many features that will lower operating costs, save disk space and admin time, etc.. So what could UNICEF DO to get greater value from their current investment in Lotus Notes/Domino? To me, the answer is simple: equip their people with the skills and tools to use the power of Lotus Notes  (the system they already have in place) to help end users - the people on the front lines - to become more productive, to get more done with less, and to reclaim time spent each day.

People around the world are achieving extraordinary things using David Allen's “Getting Things Done®” (“GTD®”) methodology - it's a way of thinking about your work that clarifies the outcome and the steps to get there. It's the smartest investment I think of to help people become more productive. Best of all, GTD is a thought process - that means it can be implemented using any tools, from paper to web, to Lotus Notes, to Microsoft Outlook. And, there are thriving communities of GTD enthusiasts for each.

For people that use Lotus Notes, eProductivity™ is a proven application that makes implementing GTD in IBM Lotus Notes, easy. People around the world are reclaiming up to 30 minutes each day simply by using eProductivity and Lotus Notes to get things done. That's a half day a week of reclaimed productivity - per Lotus Notes user. What could you do with 1/2 a day of found time each week? Now, consider that you are UNICEF and you have 30,000 employees and that you have the potential to recover 30,000 half-days of time each week? What would that be worth?

The advantages I see are many: Small investment. No new servers to buy and license, and no rip-and-replace of the infrastructure. No admin training.

GTD can be implemented using the tools (e.g. Notes) that the end-users are already familiar with using the built-in features of the Notes Client that's already on the desktop. If they want to go further and deploy eProductivity, that's easy to do.

Thanks to the Lotus Notes template and replication architecture - unmatched by any other platform I'm aware of, applications like eProductivity can be deployed to 30 people or 30,000 people with a single command at the Domino Server console. Or, end-users can deploy it themselves. Either way, it's a quick process, thanks to the power of Notes & Domino.

I have no idea if the ideas in this post will ever get past the 8 readers of this blog, but I feel compelled to blog anyway. At a time when organizations are looking to cut costs to save money and are trying to do more with less, it is surprising to me that any organization would spend 6 million dollars to migrate to another platform unless they had a very compelling business-case for the switch - one that would assure them of extraordinary value. For organizations that use Notes (and for those that are contemplating migrating to something else) a small investment in people and process will go a very long way.
I took off the last few weeks to complete my graduate research and writing for my final project for my Master of Information and Knowledge Management degree. It feels great to mark that item as "Complete." Other than a few blog posts about the National KM Conference, I've been off-line. No email, No Internet. No Twitter.

A few people have asked how what my office setup looked like as I worked to complete this assignment:
This is my workstation. I use 3 monitors and optionally, two projectors to work.Here's my workstation set up for studying: 24" 1200x1900 Portrait monitor on the left, Hi Res 1680x1050 Laptop in the middle and a 30" 2560x1600 display for MindManager on the right. From time to time, I will also use the two projection screens in the background. All are controlled by my laptop.

Continue Reading "Graduate paper done, thanks to Notes/MindManager/Brain" »
"Jesus Saved my Soul. GTD Saved my future."

Now there's a blog opener that will get someone's attention. It's from a blog post, How GTD Rescued Me, by Scott Gould. Scott's sharing his experience implementing GTD and specific the impact it's having on his life and ministry.

I know that there are a significant number of people in ministry that have implemented the GTD methodology to help them cope with a constantly changing set of priorities. For these people ministry is all about getting things done.

David Allen lovingly refers to these folks as ClerGTD.

I talked with a pastor friend about this phenomenon and he explained that GTD is the approach that allows him to serve his congregation and stay on top of things when his priorities can suddenly change with a phone call (e.g. Mrs. Smith is in the hospital, etc.)

I'm delighted to see the positive impact that GTD is having in people's lives.

Neat stuff.

Welcome to the GTD community, Scott. I look forward to reading about your experiences getting things done in ministry!

Blog: Scott Gould
A few weeks ago, I announced two free drawings for GTD Productivity tools. Sponsored by ICA, ActiveWord Systems, and Gyronix, the drawings awarded prizes with a total value of over $2000.

People were invited to to download and explore eProductivity for Lotus Notes. Everyone that did, got their name entered in the drawing. Those that took the time to send in feedback, got their name entered a second time. No purchase was required.

On June 2, Kelly drew the names of the first six winners and on June 15 Emily drew the next six for a total of 12 lucky winners.

Visit the Inside.eProductivity blog to find out who won.

I've decided to give away licenses and subscriptions to some of my favorite GTD productivity software.

Inspired by this week's GTD with Lotus Notes podcast with GTD Coach, Kelly Forrister, I've decided to take a short break from showing people how to get more done with Lotus Notes and eProductivity to equip them with a way to get more done:

Here are ome of  the applications I'm giving away: Why am I doing this? This is an experiment to see if a drawing will be successful in encouraging people who have never experienced eProductiivty to visit the web site and try it.

In just over a week, I will hold a drawing for free GTD & productivity software. The drawing will be Monday, June 15, 2009. That's only 10-days away; so follow this link for to enter.

Help me spread the word. Do you blog or Tweet? Do you think this offer would be of interest to your friends? You know what to do. (Thanks!)

I wish you the best of luck in the drawing.


David Allen Company Coach and GTD Blogger Kelly Forrister posted a podcast today: Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes on the GTD Times blog.

This podcast kicks off her GTD Toolbox Tour which will highlight and review various tools to support the implementation of David Allen's Getting Things Done® (GTD®) methodology.

"In our recent podcast  on The Perfect GTD List Manager, we shared that one of the most common questions we get is, “Which tool should I use for my GTD lists?”  Specifically, you want to know which tools David Allen uses!  While the GTD approach is tool-agnostic, we have our personal favorites, as we know many of you do as well.  eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes is one of those, and is the tool David (and most of the staff at DavidCo) use to help manage our workflow."
In this podcast, Kelly and I talk about some of the design philosophy and underlying features and principles that make eProductivity the GTD tool that David Allen uses and recommends.

Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes

Listen carefully: there’s a free trial and on the podcast and an offer of $100 off to the first 50 people that respond by June 15.

Via GTD Times

Update: In addition to the $100 off special discount, I've decided to set up a free drawing for eProductivity, ActiveWords, and GyroQ - the three tools that I use to improve my productivity with Lotus Notes. See here for details.

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 this coming week" »

Managing GTD systems on two machines

Thursday, May 7th, 2009
Over on the GTD Times blog, Patrick asks how to manage GTD system across multiple machines. Peter Simoons says that eProductivity is the answer.

That's not quite true.

While Peter is a big fan of eProductivity and I appreciate the unsolicited promotion, the real credit goes to Lotus Notes and its ability to replicate information across Windows/Mac/Linux computers seamlessly.

I've just posted a comment that explains how David Allen uses Lotus Notes to create a single trusted system across all of his computers and mobile devices.

Read: Managing GTD systems on two machines and  David's Lotusphere greeting

Update: Apparently my comment son GTD Times have not been approved yet, so here's what I posted:

As David Allen’s technologist for 15 years, I can share that David uses Lotus Notes, from IBM, to solve this challenge and it works very well. with Lotus Notes, he can maintain his projects and actions in a single trusted system that replicates across ALL of his computers, including his Mac, PC, and mobile devices (e.g. Treo).

If David wants to work on his PC, he can pick up his ThinkPad and everything will be there. If he wants to play with his shiny new Mac Air, he can pick that up and all of his information will be there. And, if he’s on the run, he takes his Treo with him and his stuff is there.

In short, he simply picks up whichever tool he prefers and gets things done.

Lotus Notes makes it seamless.

In addition to Lotus Notes, David also uses and recommends eProductivity (, an optional tool that makes GTD in Lotus Notes easy. You can start with basic Lotus Notes and follow the GTD Implementation guide to create a very nice system.

Eric Mack
eProductivity Specialist

Sander Zwart is blogging about his experience implementing GTD in Lotus Notes.

It's exciting to read emails and blogs from people around the world that are finding ways to increase their personal productivity and effectiveness using IBM Lotus Notes.

In case you don't read Dutch, here's the English translation.
A simply awesome event. I can hardly wait for the next one.

GTD Summit web site

Are you an early or late chronotype?

Monday, April 6th, 2009

"If we really wanted a productive solution for life and business, we would let morning people work at their optimum time, and let night persons work when they are at their best. A novel thought, but maybe people would be happier and more productive?"

Dr. John Medina, Author Brain Rules.

I’m Tickled by the GTD Tickler File

Thursday, March 26th, 2009
I used a recent gift card from the GTD Summit to purchase the 43 Folders known as the David Allen Tickler file. Today, a I received a package from Ludmila at The David Allen Company store with my folders.
20090326_DavidAllenTickler43Folders 004.jpg
Inside the box is an instruction card and 43 heavy duty blue plastic folders with attractive labels: 12 folders for months and 31 folders for days. As I have come to expect, the quality is outstanding and the labels are laminated into the folder so they won't wear off. Unlike paper folders, they won't wear out, either.

I prefer to use the digital tickler file that's built-in to eProductivity, but for things that can't be digitized the David Allen Tickler files are ideal. Another benefit is that, like all David Allen gear, they are attractive. By attractive, I mean that I'm more inclined to use things that attract me to them. That's why I like certain tools, products, or services.

Continue Reading "I'm Tickled by the GTD Tickler File" »
Today was a great day at the GTD Summit. We are hanging out with some of the best and brightest people in the world - key thought leaders and leading innovators from around the world. The day was full of inspiring conversations. Some, however, were less than inspiring - at least until I got a new outlook on how to receive what I was hearing.

I've just  blogged about my experience over on the Notes On Productivity blog.

It was indeed a great day at the GTD Summit and I'm having a wonderful time. I've taken many photos of the event, but have had no time for blogging beyond this one post. However, IBMer Chris Blatnick is blogging the event so be sure to read it or follow the #GTDSummit Twitter Feed.
The GTD Summit is now under way. This is going to be an amazing conference!

Ryan Heathers is planning to guest blog at the Notes On Productivity site and Chris Blatnick will be blogging over at Interface Matters. In fact, Chris is assembling a list of GTD Summit peeps.  

I've decided to make a special offer to commemorate the event. In short, for every individual license of eProductivity purchased, I'll provide not one but two license keys.

Now you can increase your own productivity and help a colleague get things done at the same time.

Details here.
I can't wait for the upcoming GTD Summit. I found this video while doing some research on the speakers and panelists who will be there.

Free passes to GTD Summit with David Allen

Thursday, February 19th, 2009
This post is not for everyone, (there is a string attached), but if you want to attend the GTD summit and you use Lotus Notes, it may be of interest to you.

In short, to promote the public release of eProductivity, I've decided to purchase several passes to the GTD Summit and give them away to people that purchase eProductivity. With the special Lotusphere discounts, if you are planning to attend the Summit it is actually cheaper to purchase eProductivity for your team and get the free GTD Summit registration than it is to purchase a single pass to the Summit! (Details here.)

So, there it is: You can attend the GTD Summit and you and your team can use the same GTD implementation software that David Allen and his team use to get things done with Lotus Notes. I cannot think of a better value, especially in this economy. (Read my previous blog post about the GTD Summit.)

Please help me spread the word. Thanks.


P.S. Blogging has been very light these days. That's not for a lack of draft topics - I still have a bunch from Lotusphere. It's simply a matter of a lot to do this month. The public software launch, graduate studies, and teaching a course in Business Driven Technology have all kept me busy. I am Twittering a little (as part of my KM Research) so you can find me there. I'll be back to the blogging by the end of the month. Meanwhile, I would appreciate it if you would help me spread the word about eProductivity.
David Allen is apparently promoting IBM Lotus Notes... again.

I've been following IBMer Peter Simoons's Twitter Feed today as he attends David Allen's, Making It All Work Seminar, in Amsterdam.

Peter's a productivity champion at IBM and we've had many interesting conversations and email exchanges over the years about Lotus Notes, GTD, and how the two intersect. It's been fun to read Peter's take on the new Making It All Work Seminar. (David gave folks that attended Lotusphere 2009 a tiny preview of the MIAW seminar we copresented our Best Practices session: Maximizing personal productivity with IBM Lotus Notes. PDF)

Peter's recent Tweets are quite interesting:

I love this one: "David comparing Lotus Notes to Web 2.0: We had web 2.0 before the web existed." While that statement is probably not entirely accurate, I do love it when people show me something new and I get to say: "but I got that 10 years ago in Notes."

David Allen's been a long time user and champion of Notes. In fact, David was my first Lotus Notes customer - over 15 years ago. I'm amazed that IBM hasn't snagged him as their official spokesperson or asked him to be a key customer reference. If I had a dollar for every time he talked about Lotus Notes at a seminar, to a client, or even at a public conference,  like Office 2.0 (watch the video)... I think IBM missed a huge opportunity when David was at Lotusphere this year. Even though I've heard him speak countless times, I would have much preferred hearing David as the guest speaker. I'm not saying that because David's a friend; I think people would have left the opening session with something they could really put to use.  

Are you planning to attend the GTD Summit?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
This is a challenging economic time.

It's also a time of extraordinary opportunity.

We no longer live in a make-it-and-move-it society where productivity can be measured by parts produced, raw materials consumed or time spent. For knowledge work, we need a new productivity equation.

Over on the Notes On Productivity blog, I've posted some of my thoughts on the GTD Summit and why I think it's important to focus on the methodology of productivity.

If you do plan to attend the GTD summit, let me know! Hopefully, I will see you there!

What do Barack Obama and I have in common?

Sunday, February 1st, 2009
A full inbox.

I've only been back from Lotusphere a week and I'm still processing my emails and papers that accumulated in my absence. It seems that for every five I process, two new ones show up.

LotusNotesInboxWith603Unread.jpgFor me, this is a good problem to have, as most are inquiries following up about my Lotusphere presentation with with David or inquires as to how to purchase our software. Still, it can be a little overwhelming to begin the day with an in-box that looks like this.

But, you probably did not read this blog post to learn that; you are probably reading because of the title of this post. So, what do Eric Mack and Barack Obama have in common?

Continue Reading "What do Barack Obama and I have in common?" »
This evening, David Allen and I presented our best practices session at Lotusphere. It was a lot of fun to copresent with David as our presentation styles are so different. It reminded me of the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ads. (Can you guess who would be the PC?)

Last-minute slide review at the Swan hotel before our presentation
Last-minute slide review at the Swan hotel before our presentation

Continue Reading "Our Lotusphere best practices session is over!" »
One of the productivity exercises I try to go through at least once each new year is to clear the decks of my productivity workspace. What that means is I remove from my office everything that isn't supplies, reference material, or decoration. I dump it into boxes and move it into the next room. What  you see here is the result of that first step. this is my productivity cockpit, my flight deck for productive work....

My office, ready for productive work

Visit the Notes on Productivity blog for additional photos and a description of the process I use.

Time permitting, and if there's interest, I'll continue to blog about some of the steps I use to gain control and perspective as I prepare for the new year. Meanwhile...

Happy New Year everyone!

How Santa Gets Things Done in Time for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
Have you ever wondered how Santa maintains perspective and control over everything that has his attention? I mean, with all of the letters, a toy shop to supervise, flight plans and air travel restrictions to deal with ... and the weather! It's enough to drive any normal person crazy.

I always thought Santa must have a secret to staying productive. Apparently, he does.

Making It All Work, by David Allen

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
I just received an advanced review copy of David Allen's sure to be best-selling book, Making It All Work.
Making It All Work, the third book by GTD Creator, David Allen
This book provides a road map to help you figure out where you are in life and how to get where you want to be going.  The keys to this are Control and Perspective. Control means taking charge of your everyday commitments, while Perspective confidently knowing where to place these commitments on the horizons of your goals and aspirations. From the book jacket description, it sounds a lot like material from David's Managing Vision seminar, which I have always found helpful and inspiring. I look forward to reading it.

If you can't wait  for my thoughts, check out Thomas Duff' blog. He's probably finished reading his copy already and may have even posted a summary by the time you read this post. Either way, I'm sure we are in for a treat.
Here's an opportunity to get a preview of the next generation of David's popular GTD RoadMap training at no cost. In less than two weeks, David Allen will be speaking at UCLA and you're invited!

On December 13th the David Allen Company is presenting a special event, Q&A, and book signing with David Allen. This special program is also the kick off for David’s new book, Making it All Work as well as a new GTD marketing campaign for 2009. (David's goal is to reach a broader audience, which is why he's asked me to extend the invitation to everyone who reads my blog.) I'm sure this will be a treat. Schedule permitting, I plan to attend as well.

If you miss this opportunity, then you can catch David again in January at Lotusphere 2009 where he and I will be presenting a session on Maximizing Personal Productivity with Lotus Notes.


Registration begins at 9AM and the event runs from 9:30 to 12:30.  They will be filming this event and will invite people to share testimonials if they want. Plan to come dressed in business casual attire.

Registration is free, but you must sign up in advance as seats are limited.
I have a very special opportunity that involves my client, The David Allen Company. In short, I have been asked to nominate a few people to participate in a special program. There's no cost and the benefits are huge. You'll be asked to share and blog about your experience. I can nominate 3 people. If you are an established Notes blogger with a serious interest in personal productivity, I'd like to hear from you and see some of your personal productivity blog posts that you have written. You know where to find me.

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.

Personal Knowledge Management & Productivity

Thursday, September 11th, 2008
KMWorld is just two weeks away.  Last year, Steve Barth and I presented a workshop on Personal KM. Steve's moved on to other things, so this year I've invited a Paul Heisig, from Disney, to join me in presenting this workshop.

On Monday, September 22, (1:30 p.m - 4:30 p.m.) Paul and I will be presenting a workshop on Personal KM:
Personal Knowledge Management & Productivity
Paul Heisig - The Walt Disney Company
Eric Mack, eProductivity Specialist - ICA.COM
This workshop illustrates how personal knowledge management (PKM) can make a lasting impact on the enterprise. Workshop leaders take a look at how productive knowledge work evolves from individuals, teams, and organic communities to ultimately impact the entire organization. It offers an overview of potential entry points for the individual knowledge worker and explores the top challenges that companies and those individual employees face, including the variety of collaboration vehicles offered in the marketplace. Discussion and categorization of the emerging collaboration technologies includes how to apply them to the individual user to fit into the larger enterprise road map. The workshop discusses key success factors and lessons learned; insights from past industry project implementations; and takes a fresh look at the successful habits, tools, methodologies, strategies, and techniques of knowledge work in a Web and Enterprise 2.0 world.


If you're planning to attend the conference, let me know - it would be nice to meet you in person.

The Notes community is buzzing with proposals for sessions for Lotusphere 2009. The IdeaJam site is busy with ideas and people are voting to show their interest (or lack thereof) in various topics. I think that this is a great use of IdeaJam to serve the Notes community.

Last year, I proposed a session on Maximizing Personal Productivity with Lotus Notes, but with so many excellent developer and admin tracks last year, this topic was considered outside of the scope of interest for Lotusphere. (This conference has historically been more administrator and developer oriented.) Still, it seems to me that even developers and admins (and the people they serve) need to be productive.

With David Allen's recent comments about Lotus Notes, last week, I've decided to revisit the idea of presenting a session on personal knowledge management and productivity using Notes for next year's Lotusphere 2009 conference. This session would look at some of the best practices of information and knowledge organization as well as how to effectively manage projects and actions with Lotus Notes.

I'm not sure if Lotusphere is the proper venue for a session that is not specifically focused on admin/dev topics. If there are enough votes to make this interesting, I'll rework my proposal and perhaps even talk to David Allen to see if he would like to co-present this with me. Right now, I'm curious to see if there's sufficient interest to warrant further development of this session topic for Lotusphere 2009.

Cast your vote now and we'll soon find out!


Note: This session, if approved, would focus on best practices for using Lotus Notes that do not require any third party applications. The goal is to present best practices that can be applied right away with any version of Lotus Notes. I do plan to mention some of the add-on tools that people are using to increase their productivity with Notes (.e.g. OpenNTF Mail Experience or eProductivity) but the primary focus will be to show people how to get more done with what the version of Notes that they already have installed on their computer.
An expert on user interface design, Chris Blatnick, recently reviewed eProductivity and shares his thoughts on his experience from a design and usability perspective:
eProductivity is THE GTD solution for Lotus Notes.  It has a very simple and intuitive user interface, one that stays out of the way until you need it.  Since the GTD features are so finely integrated into the context of the work you do everyday, you immediately become more productive when using it.  eProductivity avoids flashy functionality and complicated routines and instead quietly empowers you to perform your daily tasks faster and more efficiently.  This is the hallmark of good software design, something the eProductivity team obviously knows a lot about.  For those that want to greatly improve their performance, I can highly recommend eProductivity for Lotus Notes.

Full post: Interface Matters:  On Total (e)Productivity In Lotus Notes
Question: When you identify important projects, do you clearly define the successful outcome?
Do you clearly describe, either in the project title or description what success, even "wild success" will look like?  If you are not doing this, you are missing out on perhaps the most powerful productivity tool available to help you accomplish your goals and dreams: your brain.  In fact, if you don't regularly do this, you're leaving your brain in park, when it could be driving you to accomplish wild success.

Visualizing the Successful Outcome

Many years ago, David Allen shared with me that one of the first things he did when planning his first book, the best-selling, Getting Things Done, was to write the Wall Street Journal review of his book, first. He wrote the book review as he would like it to appear in print, even before writing the first chapters of his book. For many years, I've written my projects in the past tense -- as if they were "done" and I found that helped me to "see" done as the objective. I thought that David's example of writing a formal review of his book project was very clever and a powerful visualization tool, so I made note of it.

My Personal Application
When I set out to develop my eProductivity software, I followed David's recommendation and decided to write my own review. I decided to summarize the product in two sentences, each from the perspective of a different audience. eProductivity is built on Lotus Notes, so I decided that the Notes community would provide one perspective. Since eProductivity embodies many of the principles that I learned from David's book, I decided that the GTD community should provide the other.

Continue Reading "Your Brain as a Success Coach for Getting Things Done" »
You're not using ActiveWords?!!  You don't know who Buzz is?!! You're in for a real treat!  Tech evangelist, Robert Scoble will interview my buddy, Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, on today at 10:00 AM PST.


Buzz is always an interesting guy to visit with. To refer to him the CEO of ActiveWords is too limiting. Buzz is perhaps the best networker in the tech world - he's certainly the most prolific. (There are probably only 2-3 degrees of separation between Buzz and anyone in the tech world you'd want to meet.) I've had the opportunity to work with Buzz on several occasions as we share a common passion for all things mind mapping, GTD, and productivity.

Buzz and I first began talking about adding ActiveWords support for Lotus Notes several years ago. We finally did it and, with ActiveWords and eProductivity, millions of Notes Users can finally control the most productive aspects of Lotus Notes, from anywhere - even when Notes isn't running! I wonder if he will demonstrate or talk about ActiveWords and Notes on the show? (Hint to Buzz)

Anyway, here's the link to the live broadcast. I believe the replay will be up shortly, too.

Update: Here is a link to a PDF of my ActiveWords Wordbase
The sign-ups for the eProductivity preview program continue to pour in. We decided to increase the # of preview kits we will offer to 200 so that everyone that completes the application will be able to participate.

It's been interesting to read the forms that people have filled out to learn who uses Windows (99%) and who uses Mac (< 1%) and which versions of Notes folks are using. (Lots of activity in Notes R6.x and R8.x) and what challenges people face trying to get things done in Lotus Notes. I'll have lots to share as times goes on.

Meanwhile, I'd like to offer a special thanks to the bloggers that have picked this up, and I encourage you to visit their blogs:

Michael Sampson:
eProductivity for Notes is About Ready To Go ... Eric Has a Special Offer

Chris Blatnick of Interface Matters:
eProductivity for Lotus Notes...Want To Be Way More Efficient?

Stephan Wissel:
Procrastinator Professional and (e)Productivity

Ben Poole:
Do you want to get things done?

Oliver Starr of GTD Times:
Eric Mack to Launch eProductivity: your chance to get a preview in this post

(If I have missed anyone, please let me know. If you are a GTD or Notes blogger, let me know and I'll add you to our pre-launch list.)

I am preparing the preview kits and will send them out in batches of 25 as the completed applications are received. I plan to send the first batch tomorrow morning.

Some folks wrote with questions, e.g. what versions of Notes?, will I get a free trial?, etc.. I refer you to the eProductivity Preview Invitation which has all of the details. (Be sure to scroll down the page as there is a lot to read.)

Thanks, I look forward to posting great news, soon.

My blogging's been pretty limited for the past six months -- I've been hard at work on the public launch of eProductivity™ for Lotus Notes®  

As you may know, we completed the eProductivity beta program in early January, 2008 and for the past six months we have been doing pilot programs with various companies around the world. Now, we are getting ready to share eProductivity with the public. (I know, it's been a long time.)


People in the pilot program tell us that they recover up to 30-minutes each day  in time spent processing their email or managing their projects and actions. They also love the Weekly Review Coach that we have built into eProductivity. I think it's the ultimate GTD® implementation tool for Lotus Notes; however, don't take my word for it. I'll leave that for you to decide. I’m about ready to push the GO button and formally launch the commercial version of eProductivity.

Before I do, I want to make sure that our end-user download and evaluation process is easy to understand. I’ve decided to invite the first 100 people that respond to participate in a 24-hour preview of eProductivity.

If this sounds interesting to you, read on…

Continue Reading "24-Hour Preview of eProductivity for Lotus Notes" »
Over on the Notes on Productivity blog, I asked Notes users two questions about what gets in the way, when implementing GTD in Lotus Notes.

If you currently use, have tried using, or are considering using Lotus Notes as your GTD implementation tool, I hope you will post your thoughts...

Productivity Countdown

Friday, May 23rd, 2008
eProductivity Countdown ClockI usually do OK tracking individual actions and small and medium sized projects. These are items for which I can easily envision the completed state - I know what "done" will look like and I know I will mark these complete in a few days or weeks. Sometimes, however, I have projects where the completion date is not days or weeks ahead but months or years ahead. I find those harder to keep in front of me. Even with regular review, I sometimes find it hard to keep a sense of time about a project that is off in the distant future.

As I prepare to launch eProductivity, a GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes, I need to keep one or two key milestones in sight at all times. Specifically, we have a few big milestones - things like "launch web site" or "Prepare for meeting with David" or "Deliver presentation to IBM" that we have been working on for many months or in the case of the product launch, several years.

Several months ago, I watched a NASA Shuttle mission video and I was inspired by their countdown clock and their mission elapsed clock. I decided that I needed my own countdown clock, so I decided to create one for myself.

eProductivity Countdown Clocks for my team - notice dancing Ian?Starting with a countdown clock mechanism that I purchased on-line, I created a custom clock face and built five eProductivity countdown clocks. I set each one to the date of a key milestone. I kept one clock for myself and I sent the other four to key people on my team. Now, I have a tangible reminder of the event and the time remaining to complete. I've had the clock on my desk for a few months now and it's been a fun reminder of an event that I am looking forward to. The key question "What's your next action?" keeps me focused on the little things that I need to accomplish to achieve my goal.

It's been a fun way to get things done.

Getting Nothing Done with Fire and Water

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
Several of us recently got together at David Allen's house for a casual get-together. For some of us, me at least, it was the first time to see David since he surfaced from writing his soon-to-be-bestseller GTD book #3, Making it all work.

David's been submerged in the details of the book writing for some time and, with the current draft off to the publisher, it was time to hang out.
David and I got a few minutes to geek out with the new Nokia E90 Executive Communicator and talk about Notes 8. (We kept the geek talk to a minimum.)  

Then, we visited with several of the David Allen Company team in David and Kathryn's way cool "outdoor living room".
Continue Reading "Getting Nothing Done with Fire and Water" »
I'm in Newport Beach today, attending the GTD Mastering Workflow Seminar. Although I've been to about a dozen GTD and MAP* seminars over the past 15 years, I continue to learn something new each and every time I attend.

20080502GTDMasteringWorkflow.jpgKelly Forrister is our presenter today, so I'm certain it will be a great day of learning and fun with a group of people committed to getting things done at work and play.  I've had the good fortune to work with Kelly at four different organizations over the past 15 years. She's as passionate as I am about productivity and she's also a geek and we share a mutual interest for high-tech gear to support our productive lifestyle. (If you haven't done so, check out Kelly's blog.) Oh, and did I mention that Kelly uses Lotus Notes? She and I have been using Lotus Notes productivity since the early R3/R4 days.

Continue Reading "GTD Mastering Workflow with Kelly Forrister" »

What makes a good GTD list manager?

Monday, April 28th, 2008
Friend and colleague, Kelly Forrister, recently posted her thoughts on what makes a good GTD list Manager.

I think Kelly's done a great job of defining the key requirements of a good GTD list manager. She proposes several key features to look for:
  • Sorting lists by context
  • Ability to assign a due date
  • Portable for on the go access
  • Easily accessible
  • More attractive to you than repelling
  • Doesn't force priority codes
  • Place to capture additional notes
  • Ability to search and sort in various ways.
  • Robust enough to handle all of your stuff.
The timing couldn't be better for me, as I'm in the process of doing a market analysis and writing copy for eProductivity for Lotus Notes, my own GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes.  I think Kelly's list serves as a good foundation of the core features that any sound GTD implementation tool, whether low-tech (e.g. paper) or high tech (e.g. Lotus Notes) should offer.

If you have not read Kelly's excellent blog post, I encourage you to read it: What makes a good GTD List Manager?

In addition to my own criteria, I plan to run vanilla Notes and eProductivity for Lotus Notes through Kelly criteria and see how they fare. Might make for an interesting discussion.  I'll blog my thoughts over on NotesOnProductivity.
GTD Times recently (and quietly) launched. I've been asked to be a guest contributor; I'll be in great company.

This is a GTD Community planned in part by my late friend Marc Orchant.  Marc and I had spoken about this project and I'm delighted to see it continue on, if nothing else as a tribute to a topic he was so passionate about. - GTD. GTD Times is now in the capable hands of his friend, Oliver Starr.

GTD Times promises to become the premier go to site for all things GTD, and I'm excited to be a part of the community.

I'll start contributing to GTD Times, shortly. (I'll still be blogging here,too.)

I'm honored to be a part of the GTD Times team.

You can read Oliver's welcome and introduction, here.

What’s new with eProductivity for Notes?

Thursday, April 24th, 2008
Things have been pretty quiet on the web front with eProductivity. The web site hasn't changed from the "coming soon" banner I put up last year and eProductivity guy still needs a haircut.

Behind the scenes, things remain busy as we work with clients that are currently getting things done with Lotus Notes and eProductivity using David Allen's GTD methodology.

At the end of last year, we completed the eProductivity beta program, and at the end of this month, we will wrap up a four-month eProductivity workgroup pilot program. We are now getting ready to turn on the web site so that the world can see what we've been up to. We still have some work to do on promotional materials, strategic partner relationships and training people to become future eProductivity coaches to support enterprise deployments.

I've decided to make eProductivity available both as purchased or subscription software so that users may choose the option that will serve them best. I'm going to need a bunch of people to test the new license activation system, if you'd like to help and (get a free preview of eProductivity at the same time), contact me.

Otherwise, if you have signed up for the this eProductivity Newsletter, you'll be invited to a sneak preview, soon.
I've just posted the final installment in my series about how to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes.

Today, I share some thoughts on the value of getting connected to people who have a similar interest in getting things done and the information to help you become a GTD blackbelt.

To learn more about my Knowledge Worker Productivity equation and to join an ongoing discussion about using GTD & Notes, visit the Notes on Productivity Blog.
I've just posted the next installment in my series about how to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes.

Today, I share some thoughts on the value I found in hiring a productivity coach to help you learn how to get things done.

To learn more about my Knowledge Worker Productivity equation and to join an ongoing discussion about using GTD & Notes, visit the Notes on Productivity Blog.
I've just posted the next installment in my series about how to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes.

Today, I share some thoughts on how to mobilize your Lotus Notes-based GTD implementation.

To learn more about my Knowledge Worker Productivity equation and to join an ongoing discussion about using GTD & Notes, visit the Notes on Productivity Blog.
I've just posted the next installment in my series about how to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes. In today's segment I talk about using Lotus Notes as a List Manager and Implementation tool for GTD.

To learn more about my Knowledge Worker Productivity equation and to join an ongoing discussion about using GTD & Notes, visit the Notes on Productivity Blog.

The eProductivity Equation: Methodology

Thursday, April 10th, 2008
I've just posted the next installment in my series about how to ramp up quickly with GTD. In today's segment I share about the most important aspect of the eProductivity equation and that is: methodology.

Here's the link to my post today about GTD as a productivity methodology.

To learn more about my Knowledge Worker Productivity equation and to join an ongoing discussion about the GTD methodology as an aspect of knowledge worker productivity visit the Notes on Productivity Blog.

The eProductivity Equation: KWP = M x T x K

Thursday, April 10th, 2008
I've just posted the first installment in my series about how to ramp up quickly with GTD and Lotus Notes.

To learn more about my Knowledge Worker Productivity equation and to join an ongoing discussion about using GTD & Notes, visit the Notes on Productivity Blog.
Last week, an executive at a large global consulting firm with over 100K Lotus Notes users called me to ask for help getting up to speed with GTD and Notes. He told me that he was feeling overwhelmed at work with a growing number of projects and responsibilities and in his pursuit of a solution he had found and read David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. He was also aware that while Lotus Notes is an excellent tool for messaging, collaboration, and information management, it wasn't supporting him in the way that he needed. He was calling to get eProductivity for Lotus Notes and some coaching to help him set up Notes to be more productive. After a fruitful conversation, and my promise to help him, he asked me, "How can I ramp up quickly with GTD & Lotus Notes?"  
Continue Reading ""How can I ramp up quickly with GTD & Lotus Notes?"" »
OverweightManPizzaAndBeer.jpgZig Ziglar tells a story of how for 40 years of his life he chose to be fat. That's right. You see, according to Ziglar, he never accidentally ate anything.

Last year, I realized that when it comes to the internet (among other things) I was choosing to be fat. I was consuming more Internet calories than I needed and it wasn't even the good stuff. Worse yet, like junk food, the Internet -- the very tool that had enabled my high-tech lifestyle -- was distracting me from getting things done.  So, at the beginning of 2008, I decided to reduce my daily internet intake in order to improve my productivity.

What I expected to be a one-month experiment turned into a 3-month adventure and I learned a lot along the way...

Continue reading...
I recently sent out a call for productivity-minded people that want to implement David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology in Lotus Notes. I invited them to join the eProductivity Workgroup Pilot program. eProductivity came out of beta a month ago and now I'm doing the research on enterprise deployments to learn how they are using and benefitting from eProductivity and how I can facilitate deployments.

This week, I delivered the first of several private webinars, this one for an eProductivity Workgroup Pilot at a large organization on the East Cast.  Most of the people on the call were technically savvy but many were new to the GTD methodology.

Using some slides from last year's eProductivity Conference, I began by presenting a brief overview of my eProductivity Equation and some of the GTD principles and concepts that I have found most helpful. Then, we took a tour of some of the key eProductivity features. Finally, we wrapped up with an extended time of Q&A. We did not cover all of eProductivity but we laid a foundation for future webinars.  

After the webinar, I asked my host if I could share the audio portion of the webinar with other eProductivity users; she graciously agreed.

You can download the webinar audio from my Notes On Productivity Blog

I'm working on the new web site for eProductivity (yes, it's about time) and I'll be back to blogging, soon.
I've received some interesting requests for eProductivity but none as original as the one I received this morning:
Re: eProductivity for Lotus Notes and GTD

Hello from Denmark :-)

I have told Santa that I would really really like to have a copy of eProductivity for Lotus Notes.

He said that I have been a good boy so I should contact you directly to request a preview....

I've had people contact me directly or via a friend to get into the eProductivity preview program, but this is the first request that I know of that solicited Santa's help.  A novel approach to be sure.

So, I responded:
Continue Reading "People are asking Santa for eProductivity for Lotus Notes" »
Can you find the hidden David Allen ZIP Pouch in this photo?Just before I left for the recent eProductivity conference in Manila, Liz Harward, Product Manager at The David Allen Company, sent me a cool gift: a David Allen Zip Pouch to take with me on my trip. (click on image)

20071127DavidAllenZIPPouchInManila2.JPGAt one point in the conference, I thought I had misplaced my ZIP Pouch, however, as I look over photos from the trip I realize that the DA zip pouch is nearly impossible to misplace.
Liz Harward and the amazing product team at The David Allen Company announced today that David Allen has recorded his book, Getting Things Done, on enhanced CD.

GTDAudioCD.jpgTen years ago, Greg Fisk and I produced David's pre-GTD Audio Cassette series, "Managing Actions and Projects." I still listen to it from time to time and I learn something new each time I do. I'm positive that listeners of this audiobook will learn something new each time they listen, too.

I'm an auditory learner; I retain more, and more easily, by hearing it than reading it.  If you're like me or know someone who is, this may be the perfect gift. Here's a wonderful opportunity to review a GTD classic , read by David himself. And, it's the full version, not an editor-abridged version.

It's available today from the David Allen Store.
Doug Ransom, had this to say in his posted comment to Michael Dolan's blog:
...I think it is near impossible to build a trusted system out of Lotus Notes, which is why my assistants print everything out. We just can't trust Lotus Notes as a bring-forward system. I often find myself writing down the important stuff to do today on a piece of paper because there is no way in Lotus Notes to capture "this must be done today if possible". It is just too cumbersome to effectively review the lists.
While I agree with Doug, that vanilla Lotus Notes Tasks can be cumbersome to use, Lotus Notes (or Outlook, or whatever product) is only a tool to support the work process. One of my clients, The David Allen Company, has a number of people that use Notes quite effectively to manage their projects and actions. For them, Notes is their trusted system. So, there must be more to this than just the tool....

Doug had a lot more to say and so do I. I have posted the rest of his comment along with my response, and an offer for Doug here, on my Notes on Productivity blog.

Do delegated actions for teams really work?

Monday, December 17th, 2007
GTD Blogging buddy, Michael Dolan, recently blogged about his experience coaching team of people that are using Lotus Notes as a trusted system for GTD. Michael's post is worth reading, because he talks about the importance of being the master of your own domain: knowing and controlling what crosses over the transom. Specifically, Michael addresses the issue of delegated tasks - not just in Notes but in general - and how touchy a subject it is.

I blogged about the topic of delegated tasks for group action management a few years ago, explaining that I felt that using delegated tasks incorrectly could create a situation in which the technology of productivity would likely clash with the methodology of productivity. It's proven to be a popular post and the question comes up often enough, so I'll share this quote and then link you back to my original post.
Delegated tasks create a situation in which the technology of productivity is likely to clash with the methodology of productivity.

The technology allows for tasks to be created and assigned to other individuals; however, without a sound methodology  and clear agreement on how these will be processed, (the action delegation protocol), it can quickly become a recipe for lost or missed actions, frustration, and incompletion.

03/01/2005  Delegated Actions for Group Action Management
12/12/2007 Master of one's own domain

I hope you will join the discussion, either here on my blog or better yet, over on Michael's blog.

Update: There's a comment on Michael's blog from a reader that asserts that "it is near impossible to build a trusted system out of Lotus Notes."  I could not have wished for a more wonderful blogging invitation - response coming soon!

Now, I can review my goals each time...

Sunday, December 16th, 2007
Eric's Goals Bracelet for 2008I recently received this thoughtful gift from a reader (fan?) of my blog who wanted to show his appreciation for my productivity posts with this custom gift.

It's a beautiful RoadID bracelet with laser etched goals for 2008. Looks like I have a big year ahead of me. At least he got the priorities right.

In any case, now, I can review my goals each time I wipe my nose on my sleeve. What a clever productivity tip. Why didn't I think of that?

I wonder who sent it?

GTD In the Trenches

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007
Michael Dolan, a colleague at the David Allen Company, is now blogging!  
MichaelDolan.jpgI first met Michael in October of 2001, when he worked at Clorox. He contacted me to inquire about eProductivity for Lotus Notes.

A few years later, Michael joined the staff at The David Allen Company where he is one of the GTD coaches for David Allen. Since then, Michael and I have traded ideas and discussed our passion for getting things done with technology.

I'm delighted to see that Michael's now blogging and I look forward to what I'm certain will be informative posts.

I encourage you to visit Michael's new blog, GTD In the Trenches.

Cool Gear: GTD® System folders & Zip Pouch

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
The day before I left for Manila, I received a care package from Liz Harward, product manager at The David Allen Company. Inside, was a bunch of goodies for me to evaluate. I'm particularly excited about the new GTD® System file folders and the GTD® Zip Pouch. With these, I have an even easier way to carry my mobile filing system with me.

Eric's new and cool GTD® System file folders and Zip PouchI've traveled with a home-made set of travel folders for years but I've never found the ideal carrier for the folders - something that would keep the papers from falling out and the folders from getting damaged. The GTD® Zip Pouch keeps everything together and has a little extra room - just enough for a pen or two, a highlighter, and a pad of post-its. The bright orange color is a bit, well, bright for my taste but it's growing on me. I know it will be impossible to misplace! (That's a good thing)

I really like that they went with a fabric mesh for the pouch because I carry two pouches and the mesh allows me to see what's inside without opening up the pouch. I hope that they will expand the product line with other colors of pouches.

Continue Reading "Cool Gear: GTD® System folders & Zip Pouch" »

GTD and Office 2.0

Friday, September 7th, 2007
Marc Orchant is moderating this afternoon's panel on GTD and Office 2.0 and the Office 2.0 Conference. Compared to other sessions, room is packed. I'm live-blogging, with the goal to have this live, including photo, before Marc steps away from the podium. (Just for Michael)


Marc asked for a show of hands: most of audience has read Getting Things Done, few have attended a GTD seminar.

Each presenter has a 2 minute demo window, then Marc will ask for questions from the audience...

First up: Robert Walker of Vitalist (

Web-based, opens to dashboard. Can pull in feeds. Has mobile version (e.g.

Second up; Mark Mader,

Results focused collaboration based on a spreadsheet model but with an emphasis on sharing - all in a browser.
Everything is a list. Implementation of hierarchies looks well done by allowing you to indent/outdent. Neat tool to show deltas between previous sessions. Seems to be more free-form spreadsheet than a structured task manager.
You can send the smart sheet, via PDF or Excel. once or repeatedly, over the web as a link. The Office 2.0 element is collaboration - the ability to invite others into the process to work with your lists.

Third Presenter: Michael Sliwinski, creator of Nozbe

Michael is CEO of Invites us to test Nozbe live on the web at  (One of the few presenters that mentions David Allen and concepts in the book.)  Also web-based. Includes time tracking. (Think GTD 2-in timer).  Good point: this is just a tool. get to work.

Last up: Tim Norton, Business planning based on GTD.

Tim is CEO of Plan HQ. Ties projects to goals. I like the names of sections: "What I've done this week" (Completed), "What I've got coming up" (Tickler) etc. Nice. Nice Backburner feature - will move things to Someday Maybe and sends an email alert to project participants.

2. minutes per presenter is not much time.

Marc invites Ismael to speak.

One book changed my life: GTD. What a great testimony! Book is a series of simple recipes. Ismael looked for a tool to help implement. Decided to do this inside of  Likes ability to attach tasks to leads, campaigns, etc. and see tasks by each. It took several thousand tasks to create Office 2.0 Conf. He uses delegated action management within Challenge: Salesforce was not designed with GTD in mind. Ismael has a goal to get to the moon, but he's looking for what the next action would be. (Ismael, "It's call Fred")

Marc does the wrap-up

Good Q&A session. Too fast to summarize, but I'll try, I may have to review audio.

1. How do you handle the necessity for people to narror down their focus to get things done, with the need to also see the big picture of what they are doing? (Ismael had a good point about the challenge of finding the next action for subprojects. I think the answer is to have a set of good questions.)

2. Is GTD Great only for personal productivity or can it also be used for teams/businesses? (Audience comment on lack of software suitable for implement GTD in a team.) Some of this boils down to process, not tool, e.g. how to make projects & actions visible. Brief discussion of Gyronix ResultsManager as a tool for Mapping - both ways - in the framework of MindManager.

Audience member complained about challenge of weekly review, needs reminder at task completion to prompt for next action. A valid complaint. eProductivity does that. Quick discussion about priorities and contexts. Marc did a nice job of explaining how the two relate. Context, time, priority. Good job, Marc.

3. Why web-based applications for Geting Things Done?
Michael: Accessibility, different devices, no need to sync.
other: option to plug GTD data into other applications, thougfh feed, RSS, gadgets, etc.
Other: huge population that will not follow GTD but will use tools to do the work for them. interesting.

I know what today’s next action is...

Saturday, August 11th, 2007
I've been so busy consulting with clients this week that I've had to do a number of emergency scans of my in-box, leaving all non-urgent emails to be processed some day...

Well, today is going to be some day:

20070811_PapersToProcess.jpg 20070811_1352UnreadE-MailsForEric.gif


Thankfully, I've got eProductivity for Lotus Notes and I'm experienced at Getting Things Done (Thank you David!); I know how to get back on track quickly.

I'll see you on the other side.

Are you fit and effective?

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
If so, you can stop reading now. For the rest of us - perhaps less fit or less effective - there's much that we can do to improve our performance.

As I thought about what I wanted to write in this post, I kept coming back to these words from inside the jacket of a book, called The Power of Full Engagement, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz:
We live in digital time. Our pace is rushed, rapid-fire, and relentless. Facing crushing workloads, we try to cram as much as possible into every day. We're wired up, but we're melting down. Time management is no longer a viable solution. ...managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as to health, happiness, and life balance.

The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. This fundamental insight has the power to revolutionize the way you live your life...

I'm ready for the kind of change that insight can bring...

Continue Reading "Are you fit and effective?" »

To kick off the 2007 summer staff meeting at The David Allen Company, David chartered a motorcoach to take us all to see the new J. Paul Getty museum. One of his clients works at the Getty and invited David and Co. for a private tour of the museum. That was fun in and of itself. Inside the lobby of the museum, I was delighted to see Tim Hawkinson's Uberorgan.

Tim Hawkinson's UberOrgan at the J. Paul Getty MuseumTim Hawkinson's UberOrgan at The J. Paul Getty MuseumPaul Garth beats the heat at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Unfortunately, the organ was out of service, so we did not make as much noise as the title of this post would imply. I did manage to find this video on YouTube to give you an idea of what we did not hear:

Continue Reading "GTD Summer Camp: Making noise at The Getty Museum" »
Having recently returned from the Enterprise 2.0 conference, where it seems everything was something 2.0, I've been thinking a lot about my own tool kit of methodologies and technologies that I use to stay productive accomplish results, personally and for my clients.

Click to see Eric's Brain on GTD 2.0

As I prepare for my upcoming presentation with Steve Barth at KM World: New Fundamentals of Knowledge Worker Productivity, I realize that while the current iteration of GTD has been a transformative tool for personal productivity for me, it doesn't go far enough for the way I work today...

The business world is a much different place from what it was just 15 years ago, when I was first introduced to GTD. The pace with which decisions are made and the information needed to make those decisions has increased to the point where we are expected to be connected at all times (omnipresent) and aware of all of the information (omniscient) that we need to know. Of course, that's not possible for us mere mortals. Nonetheless, the expectations remain.

Continue Reading "Do we need a GTD 2.0? If so, what would it look like?" »
Fellow productivity blogger, Dwayne Melancon, is blogging about how we need to declutter our lives, not only physically, but spiritually. Good points. Have a look.

Wonderful GEEC & GTD Dinner in Boston

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
Our second  GEEC (Global Experts in Electronic Collaboration) & GTD dinner was a success. A great time and some very interesting discussions. Tom Hagan of Actioneer joined us, too...


Thank you to all who attended.

Fellow GEEC, Michael Sampson, blogged the dinner from his Blackberry.
Who are the top people in society that matter most? Obviously, there are lots of opinions and numerous lists. One interesting list is the "Who Matters Now?" list put together by Business 2.0 Magazine. What's neat is that this list is created and voted on by the readership.

I'm pleased to see David Allen make the list for the second year in a row. David's a good friend and client; I've known him and served for the past 15 years and he's someone that I admire and respect. I remember hearing David share how he wanted to positively impact the lives of people all over the world and his plan to do it. It's been fun to participate in that process and to see his vision come true.

As far as the who matters now list, David's currently at #84 but the voting is not over, so you can cast your vote for David or anyone else that you feel matter most. It will be fun to see the outcome.
Michael Sampson and I will be in Boston next week, for the Enterprise 2.0 conference. While we are there, we'd like to meet up with fellow GEECs (Global Experts in Collaboration) but the invitation is open to GEEKS (If you have to ask...) and folks who love tech, GTD, and PKM (Personal Knowledge Management). We did this two years ago and it was great fun.

Time and place to be determined. Pay your own way.

GEEC Dinner in Boston on Wednesday June 20, 2007

PS. While we are in town, Michael and I hope to visit MIT, perhaps someone would like to arrange a tour?
Well, one of them, at least. Robert and I are looking for a full-time Director of IT for the David Allen Company. If you'd like to know more, read on...

Fifteen years ago, David Allen hired me as his technologist. A few years after we started working together, David gave me the title of "Chief Propellerhead" which continues today. (It fits.)  When I first started working with David, his company, The Productivity Development Group, was a small but growing productivity consulting firm. In the 15 years since, David Allen has become a household name in the world of personal productivity. Well deserved, too. I've enjoyed the privilege of working along side David for this time and I've had the unique opportunity to watch and learn how he gets things done and I've been privileged to have his coaching in my business and with my software development.


In the past two years, however, the company has grown to 40 people, which means that the IT responsibilities have also grown from something I could handle remotely, on a part-time consulting basis, to something that requires a full-time in-house Director of IT.

For the past several years, I've served David in a dual-role, as eProductivity specialist and Director of IT. Last year, we hired a wonderful support specialist, Lyz Dinh, to support me at the David Allen Company. She handles the day-to-day needs in Ojai and I handle the strategic work remotely from Pine Mountain Club. This has worked well... except that the company continues to grow...

After deciding that I did not want to become the full-time Director of IT for The David Allen Company, we decided to look outside of the company for a new person to fill this position, which is why I'm writing this post. We are looking for a full-time Director of IT to work in Ojai, California. This person will report directly to Robert Peake, our CTO.  

Continue Reading "Would you like to have my job at The David Allen Company?" »
Something wonderful happened in church today. The projector bulb burned out - on both projectors.


This meant we could not read the sermon notes on the screen.

Continue Reading "Don't let what you see distract you from your vision" »
If you're like me, you've probably paid the price, perhaps more than once, for a missed meeting, call, or appointment. If you've been into GTD for any length of time, you know how sacred the calendar is for mapping out the hard landscape. But what if that landscape suddenly shifts?

Are you aware that a new Daylight Savings Time (DST) law that went into effect on January 1, 2007 that will affect your personal or group calendar and any PDAs or smartphones that you use?

Beginning this year, the United States and parts of Canada will extend the period covered by Daylight Savings Time.  DST will begin the second Sunday of March (three weeks earlier than before) and continue until the first Sunday in November (one week later than before).  This document refers to the weeks that are affected by the change as “extended DST weeks”.

A very real possibility exists that some calendar entries, such as meetings and appointments that have been scheduled to occur during the extended DST weeks will appear one hour later and will need to be adjusted by one hour.

Continue Reading "How will the new DST laws affect your productivity?" »

The GTD Breakfast Club

Friday, February 16th, 2007

My daughter, Wendy, recently made a post in the GTD Connect forum about how our family is learning about GTD at the breakfast table. [If you're a GTD Connect subscriber, you can read the posts and respond there.] I thought I would take a moment to share my own thoughts and experience here, too.

Over the years, I've often ask my children to help me test new software and programs. I find that they approach software from a totally different perspective and I always learn new insights as a result of their efforts. (Even Microsoft found benefit in this approach; they distributed Amy & Wendy's podcast on OneNote Shared Sessions to the OneNote design team.) Anyway, back to the GTD breakfast club...

In December, I decided to ask my wife and children to test some prototype features for my productivity software for using Lotus Notes with the GTD methodology.  (Little things, like linking projects to actions, switching contexts, and a tickler to calendar system.) In order for them to be effective helpers, however, I knew that they would have to distinguish between the methodology and technology of the productivity equation. I decided that this would be a good time for me to set up more formal GTD instruction for my family.

Continue Reading "The GTD Breakfast Club " »
I'm delighted to see David Allen on the front page of CNN's technology section, this morning. I remember meeting with David and a group of advisors under the Oaks, in 1997. David share his vision to positively impact the world. I'm thrilled to be able to play a very small part in that and to have enjoyed a front row seat for what's proven to be an exciting adventure.
For those of you already familiar with David Allen and GTD, there's nothing new in this article. For those who read my blog who've not heard of either, you need to read it.

Congratulations, David!  I'm proud of you and delighted to be a part of your team.
Following on from David Allen's Mind Mapping Webinar, where David discussed various ways he uses MindManager as a brainstorming tool, I 'd like to share how I use GyroQ and MindManager maps to support my GTD process.

I first learned about Gyronix GyroQ early last year when my friend, and mind mapping expert, Nick Duffill (of Beyond Mind Mapping) called me to tell me about his latest project. I was intrigued with the idea of a memory-resident capture tool that I could use to collect my thoughts to a map where I could see them organize them easily. I couldn't wait to start working with the product.


GyroQ captures ideas and actions quickly, without breaking your concentration - a kind of "interrupt management" solution. This supports how I use the GTD methodology helping me stay focused, and separating the capture of ideas and interruptions from their processing. A MindManager map can be a great place to process and review, and decide on whether something should become an action. But opening up MindManager or Lotus Notes just to add something to a list is a risky strategy, as there is every chance that I will become involved in the map again and start re-thinking, as my brain will have had time to incubate things since my last visit.
Continue Reading "GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together" »

Getting Things Deleted Scobleized

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
[This post is intended for the many people who've read about the new two-minute rule for email that is racing around the blogosphere.]

12 days ago, I shared Robert Peake's secret to success with e-mail. What we both thought was a humorous IM chat (posted here) is now spreading around the blogosphere, thanks in part to getting Scobleized.

Since then, the number of people blogging about why (or why not) deleting emails that take longer than 2 minutes to process is a good idea continues to grow by the hour.

It looks like I touched a raw nerve here.

As Robert Scoble wrote in his Scobelizer comment thread: do realize it’s only a joke, right?
It’s what we all WISH we could do, but can’t.

Despite the fact that Robert and I and other have pointed out that this was a tongue-in-cheek post in the comment threads, many bloggers have not taken the time to read the comments and are blogging away with their thoughts and ideas on the merits or demerits of deleting any email that will take longer than 2 minutes to handle.

For the record, I am NOT advocating that anyone summarily delete emails that they think take longer than 2 minutes to process.  

Continue Reading "Getting Things Deleted Scobleized" »
If you use Lotus Notes and the GTD methodology, you'll be pleased to know that the long awaited GTD and Lotus Notes implementation guide is now available. My colleague, Kelly Forrister, and her team worked hard to assemble a valuable collection of tips and tricks for using the Lotus Notes Calendar, Email, Personal Journal, and To Do's more effectively.


David Allen and I began using Lotus Notes long before The David Allen Company first opened its doors. Over the years, I've not only learned for myself what works and what does not, I've had the privilege to watch other highly productive people use Lotus Notes effectively. I think Kelly's done a great job of collecting some this wisdom in one place.
Continue Reading "The GTD and Lotus Notes Implementation Guide is here!" »

A new two-minute rule for email

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
Yesterday, I spent 12 hours processing 117 emails in one client folder alone. This was the second pass at my in-box and these were the hard emails - the ones I had dragged there because I knew they would take more than 2 minutes to complete. I finally went to bed with an empty folder, in fact I deleted the folder. This morning, my SameTime IM window popped up with a message from my colleague, Robert Peake, the unwilling recipient of many of the emails I had sent the day earlier. Here's the transcript:
Continue Reading "A new two-minute rule for email" »

Productivity in Motion Update for 11/08/06

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
If you are interested in robotics, LEGOs, or want to see how kids use mindmaps and GTD to plan and prepare for a competition, our U.S. FIRST Robotics updated team blog site is now on-line. The girls have written over 50 blog entries detailing their experiences preparing for the upcoming robotics competitions.


I hope you'll visit their team web site and offer a few words of encouragement.

The competitions begin this week and continue for the next 4 weeks. To follow all of the excitement, you'll want to add these links to your RSS reader:

Continue Reading "Productivity in Motion Update for 11/08/06" »

KM, GTD on The Brain

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006
A fascinating day at the KMWorld Knowledge Management Conference! I came looking for tools for knowledge visualization and Personal Knowledge Management and I 'm not disappointed.


One of the tools that I've looked at off and on over the years is TheBrain by The Brain Technologies. Tonight, I had a fascinating conversation with CTO and Co-Founder, Harlan Hugh and Shelley Hayduk (VP Mktg & Sales). We discussed the genesis for TheBrain and how Harlan came to design the brain 15 years ago, based on the associative thought process of the brain. For those of you into mind mapping, TheBrain is not your traditional mind-mapping/diagramming tool - at least not in the sense of the Buzan model or MindJet's MindManager.

Continue Reading "KM, GTD on The Brain" »

GTD + Blackberry + Lotus Notes

Monday, October 16th, 2006
Here's a useful application for Blackberry users: S4BB recently released Next Action!, a replacement task application for the BlackBerry that claims to make it more GTD friendly.

The web site indicates that this new task application will maintain compatibility with existing desktop applications, such as Outlook and Lotus Notes. I've not had the opportunity to verify this yet, but this sounds like a promising solution for BlackBerry users that use Lotus Notes (with or without the eProductivity Template).

Presently, many of my clients use Lotus Notes and a Palm-based device (e.g. Treo 650/700p) for their task management due to its simple interface and categories that make it easy to implement GTD.

While I am not personally a BlackBerry user I understand that managing GTD-style categories with the BB can be a challenge. I'm curious to see if this product delivers on its promise.

If anyone has first hand experience with this product, please post a comment.

via: Michael Sampson

Teaching Your Kids GTD

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006
My daughter, Wendy, is the guest contributor today, with a post she recently wrote in response to a question in the GTD connect forum.
I think the best way to teach your kids GTD is to model it for them.  They need to see you doing it so that they can ask questions about it.  You could start your child off with mind mapping.  (One of the first processes that I learned)  Introduce this as a way to remember things, and teach this along side making lists.If your child is young you could have them draw pictures to represent things, then gradually substitute that for words.  

Continue Reading "Teaching Your Kids GTD" »

Productivity Equation: C - I + R = P

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
My colleague, Michael Sampson, recently posted his equation for productivity.

In his essay, he describes a productivity framework for a knowledge or information worker:
1. Having a clear picture of what I want to achieve (clarity).
2. Removing irritations and interruptions that break flow (interruptions).
3. Having a brain that is rested, energized and active (rested).

As an equation then: C - I + R = P

His entire essay is available on-line, here. A worthwhile read!

GeekTD: Why don’t people get Notes?

Thursday, August 24th, 2006
Last week, I got to enjoy a fun afternoon in the studio with David Allen, Robert Peake, and Merlin Mann (43 Folders). David invited us to Ojai to record an upcoming GeekTD podcast. David though it would be interesting to bring together a few geeks with varying approaches to productivity. Merlin talked about how he uses his Mac, Robert talked about the power of Mac and Open Source solutions, and I talked about Lotus Notes as a productivity tool for Getting Things Done. The discussion went all over the place and I have no idea what will end up in the finished version. David asked great questions and tried to keep order, which must have felt like herding cats.

20060818 - DAC GeekTD Recording Adventure with David in Ojai.jpg

David opened the session by stating how cool he thinks Lotus Notes is; he asked why, after 20 years, it seems that  many people who use Notes still don't get the power of Lotus Notes. David shared that he frequently goes into organizations that use Notes only to find that people (and their managers) have no idea what their system can do for them (e.g. that they can create their own databases, participate in discussions, use newsletter summary, agents, collaborate, etc.)

Continue Reading "GeekTD: Why don't people get Notes?" »
My post on GTD Connect touched off a storm of discussion about GTD Connect. Even David Allen jumped into the discussion! I think the implied question is "Is GTD Connect worth it?" This discussion continues here, on my blog and over in the GTD Yahoo group. I think that the contributors have clearly shared their point of view.  Rather than comment further, I encourage you to read my original post, along with all of the comments, including a David's response.

Early adopter, Michael Sampson, was among the first to sign up for GTD Connect. He had this to say...

Continue Reading "Is GTD Connect worth the monthly investment?" »
By now you've probably read that David has formally launched GTD Connect. The popular GTD forums, blogs, and even the David Allen Company web site are already buzzing with the news. I think that Bob Walsh has probably done the best job summarizing some of the key features of GTD Connect so far. Rather than repeat what he's written so well, I'll encourage you to go and read Bob's post. If you've already taken the bold step to sign up for GTD Connect, then be sure to watch the Introductory video tour by David. It's a great way to learn more about what GTD Connect has to offer!  


Since Bob's already blogged with an overview of GTD Connect, I'd like to talk about it from a different perspective - that of someone who's been behind the curtain, met the man, and watched this information evolve over the years into GTD Connect - the first step in David's vision of being able to share information and connect with others who have a passion for getting things done. I want to share why I'm excited about GTD Connect.

[Disclaimer: I'm writing this on my own and not as a representative of The David Allen Company. The opinions I share are my own. Hopefully you will find them valuable. If so, let me know. If not, I'd like to hear that, too.]

I'm an independent eProductivity Specialist, and for 14 years, I've worked for David Allen, as his personal technologist. In that time, he's become a great mentor and friend. He's also been amazingly transparent about his work and life. I've had the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at David's office, his home, and in his in-box. The guy practices what he preaches. He falls off the GTD system easily gets back on with the same ease. That's what I like about GTD. Even I can do it. David simply has a little more - OK a LOT more - experience than I do at getting things done. I've learned a lot from David. the education has been invaluable.

Continue Reading "Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD" »
Have you ever returned from vacation to find  1500 new emails waiting for you to process? Kelly Forrister's mentions this new e-mail vacation tax, in her post on obsessive-compulsive productivity.

I recently returned from an extended absence to several thousand emails. I'm now below the one hundred mark, but I'm fighting to get down to zero.
Here's one way to avoid the post-vacation E-Mail vacation tax:

Continue Reading "One way to avoid the post-vacation E-Mail tax" »
How do you keep your audience awake and attentive? Here's an extreme approach that one of my professors used to keep his students alert.
Continue Reading "Keep your audience attentive. An extreme tip." »

GTD and the Ironing Board

Friday, May 5th, 2006
Well, you would think being the wife of David Allen's "Technology Guru", Eric Mack, that I would have attended countless GTD seminars over the years.  Due to child care restraints, it just never happened for me.

In March, a dear aunt stepped forward to watch our children, and I headed with my husband to Santa Monica for David's RoadMap seminar.

The night before David's seminar, Eric told me about some of the questions that David would ask in the seminar.  He asked me..."If tomorrow's RoadMap seminar were a wild success, what would that look like?" He wanted to know what I could walk away with that would make my life easier/better/organized, etc..

Continue Reading "GTD and the Ironing Board" »

Now we all have to Get Things Done

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
My buddy, Marc Orchant, sent me a link to this  Getting Things Done article in the Financial Times, by Linton Chiswick. It's become commonplace to find articles about GTD in key publications, but this one's a treat. The article features interviews with David, Marc, and Merlin Mann.

Thanks, Marc.

Lower your standards; lower your stress.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
My friend, David Allen, says that you can lower your stress by lowering your standards. I may give this a try.

Last month, I was at a client's office (no, it was not David's office) and I happened to observe that there were post-it notes with passwords on the monitors. Some even had backup post-its with passwords in their desktop drawers. I suppose that these were in case the wind blew away the passwords on the monitor. It stressed me out.

I left the office quite stressed, even though everyone in the office was quite content with what was going on.

If I were to lower my standards by simply posting all of my passwords, here, on my blog, for the world to see, perhaps then I would not have any anxiety about what people do with their own passwords in their office.

Something to think about.

The GTD Prayer

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
Giles Turnbull has written a prayer to help him maintain his focus, keep his in-box at zero and live free from distractions.

Inspired by The Lord's Prayer, Gile's GTD adaptation of Jesus' lesson in prayer looks not to heaven but to an empty in-box for comfort ...

The GTD Prayer
Our lifehacks, which art in contexts,
In-box zero be thy aim.
Thy Kinkless done.
Thy Mind Sweep fun, in @work as it is in @honeydo.
Give us this day our next action.
And forgive us our open loops, as we forgive those who delete our email.
And lead us not into web surfing.
Deliver us from IM.
For thine is the Moleskine, the Project and the Due Date
For someday/maybe,

An interesting perspective.

Source: GTD prayer, via the Getting Things Done Forum on Yahoo
Yesterday, I enjoyed a special treat. My friend and colleague Jason Womack, invited me to sit in, as he presented a one day Getting Things Done seminar for one of his corporate clients, in Ventura, California. I've known Jason for many years, but this was my first time to really see him in action.

20060316 - Jason Womack in-house GTD seminar.JPG

I arrived at the client early and found a good seat at the back of the room.  Since I was a guest, and I was already familiar with the material. I ended up focusing on the presentation itself and watching how the audience responded.  I was amazed.  Jason delivered an awesome presentation; for eight hours, he kept an audience of close to 250 people focused and engaged. Jason's presentation and delivery skills made it evident to me that he has invested thousands of hours in perfecting his delivery.

I ended up taking five pages of notes, mostly on the presentation itself, and I was able to share these with Jason over dinner this evening.  I think the three things about Jason's presentation that stood out to me were:

Continue Reading "Well done, Jason. An outstanding GTD seminar!" »

Getting Things Done Under The Oaks

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006
In May of 1997, I joined a small group of advisors at David Allen's home, in Ojai, for a "Meeting under the Oaks." There, under the beautiful Oak trees in David and Kathryn's front yard, we reviewed the history of David's business and his ideas, dreams and business plan for the new company - "The David Allen Company." It was an inspiring meeting and I'm both delighted and honored to have been a part of this group and the growth of the organization.

One of the goals that David shared with us, was to write his first book. We discussed the challenges of trying to write a book while building a company; we agreed - some more vocally than others - that the book would be an essential strategic component to get the word out about David's work and to help people.

Continue Reading "Getting Things Done Under The Oaks" »

Top Ten Signs You’re a GTD Disciple

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
I routinely scan many of the GTD forums to get a pulse on the interests and applications of people who apply the GTD methodology to their projects and actions. It's not uncommon, at the end of the year, for various top ten lists to emerge. Here's one that made me laugh...

Top Ten Signs You're a GTD Disciple

10. While driving home from work, you have to pull over three times to jot it down and empty your mind.

9. You put your weekly review on a Someday/Maybe list. … NOT!

8. You go to McDonalds for lunch but – before ordering – you draw a mind map of what an ideal fast food meal would look and taste like.

7. You use a Brother P-Touch to label your kitchen drawers.

I think you get the point ...

Oh, there's this gem:

3. You know that the "two-minute rule" has nothing to do with the conclusion of football games.

You can find more signs and interesting discussion in the Yahoo Groups Getting Things Done Forum

Stepping back to jump forward

Monday, December 12th, 2005
Lotus Notes and GTD; productivity combination or curse? If you frequent the Getting Things Done forums you'll find many posts on this topic with differing both points of view.

As I have written before, I believe that the ideal solution for getting things done involves both the technology and the methodology of productivity. It does not matter if you use a napkin, pencil and paper or a powerful tool like Lotus Notes; if you don't have a logical method for organizing your projects and actions any system will become equally dysfunctional. Likewise, if you do have a good methodology in place for getting things done, then you may wish to consider any of a number of tools, including, pencil & paper, a napkin, or even Lotus Notes. I've used all three and I find that each offer key strengths. This blog post however, is about using my current favorite, Lotus Notes, as a tool to support the GTD methodology. (At the end of this post, I've included a link to some helpful information on using NOTES & GTD.)

Lotus Notes and GTD

For the past fours years, I've been using a custom template that I developed to support my use of Notes to manage my lists of projects and actions. Gradually, I've added to or improved upon many of the features of the standard Notes forms and views to make it easier for someone familiar with the GTD methodology to jump into using Lotus Notes as their information management tool. (Note that I did not say that the other way around. if you already use Notes and do not understand the GTD methodology, my template will not necessarily make you a better organized person, though it may help. If you are unfamiliar with GTD, I recommend that you consider this book.)

Given the nature and level of my work, I'm somewhat removed from the challenges that many people face trying to implement GTD in vanilla Notes. Migrating from Palm Desktop or Outlook or even a paper-based system like Time Design into Lotus Notes can be a frustrating experience both due to the new way that work is done and the need to create new habits. I spend so much of my day using my eProductivity template for Notes that I sometimes forget that Lotus Notes out of the box is not as intuitive as it could be for managing projects and actions with the GTD methodology. In short, I want to re-experience what it is like to move to and use vanilla Notes to manage projects and actions. I want to revisit what does not work, what's improved since I last did this and what still works well. I believe that the only way I can truly do this is to jump in with both feet.

Continue Reading "Stepping back to jump forward" »

So simple you can do it on the back of a napkin

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005
I frequently share with others how the clarity of David Allen's methodology for Getting Things Done has influenced my work as an eProductivity specialist. Given my role serving The David Allen Company, I have a unique inside perspective on how this productive team uses GTD. In short, it's real, and it works.

As I've written before, great technology is nothing without a sound methodology for getting things done.

A few days ago, I met Travis Robertson at a business management presentation. Travis shared some of his significant goals with me and he explained that he was finding it a challenge keeping a handle on his projects and actions. Naturally, I recommended GTD as an approach to consider for organizing his life. A few days later, I received this email:
Eric, I want to thank you for recommending Getting Things Done.  I picked up the book over the weekend and had an "Ah ha!" moment with it.  I've tried numerous methods that involved the purchase of someone's planners and products--all to no avail.  They always seemed like they were trying to make me fit their mold.  Getting Things Done really makes sense to me and I think it will change my life.  I'm not an organized person by nature, but I'm confident this is a system I can actually use.  You piqued my interest when you said, "It so simple, it can be done on the back of a napkin."
It’s easy to buy the latest and greatest in technology, but that does not guarantee a boost in productivity. Without a method for its effective use, the potential benefit of a new technology will be limited. Technology might even get in the way.

I'm glad to help, Travis. Best of success to you!

GTD Fortune Cookie

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005
Great advice for managing projects and actions:


It’s Empty, It’s Empty!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2004
"It's Empty, It's Empty, It's Empty! I never thought that would ever happen. Thanks!"

These excited words are from a client, who recently learned how to quickly and effectively process his overflowing e-mail Lotus Notes in-box to zero as a result of attending one of my presentations. Reading his email made my day -- and it reminded me of why I enjoy doing what I do at ICA.

The most valued thanks that I receive in my work is learning how something that I was able to do for a client has positively impacted their life and their business.

Today, Jason Womack inspired me to share summaries of a few comments that I have recently received:

Eric, I have changed my Notes Welcome Page to look like yours and turned off my "chime" when incoming mail arrives.  I am literally amazed at how much of what I NEEDED to get done was accomplished yesterday.  I handled every one of my new emails and have even cleaned up all the way back to Monday (which if you saw my in-box is pretty good).

The question that you asked that struck a chord with me was whether or not we really knew what projects we were working on, and what tasks we had to complete to move them along.

I have started to use the Notes To-dos to manage my projects. Now, everything I need is at my fingertips.

I have processed my in-box to empty, and I am now working from my To-do list. As I adapt to your methods (and customize them to my needs), I hope to reduce the stress in my life, and become more effective.

I was energized to think differently about how I use Lotus Notes.

It is so gratifying to hear from my clients, current and past, about how I have been able to help them increase their productivity and find the time to do the things that really matter to them.

It is a privilege to serve each and every one.