Implementing

DAVID ALLEN’S
using Microsoft
®

Workflow Processing
Outlook

DAVID ALLEN COMPANY

Solutions for the way you work and live

© The David Allen Company 2002 all rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, copied or distributed without express permission from the David Allen Company

Contents
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Introduction Page Parts of Outlook don't work the way Microsoft thought they might............................................................................ 2 Outlook has the ingredients for a personal management tool.................................................................................... 3 The principles that optimize the management of work.............................................................................................. 3 The need for simple lists........................................................................................................................................ 4 "Portabilizing" your lists.......................................................................................................................................... 4 Get very friendly with your keyboard.........................................................................................................................5 Setting up OUTLOOK Tasks as an Action-List Manager Page New definitions of "Category" and "Task"................................................................................................................ 7 Reconfigure your Task interface ............................................................................................................................. 7 The final structure ................................................................................................................................................10 Customize your Master Categories list ...................................................................................................................11 The best categories to start with ...........................................................................................................................12 Customizing your categories.................................................................................................................................. 17 Use the Task speed keys....................................................................................................................................... 17 Using the Find feature in Tasks.............................................................................................................................. 18 Expanding only the categories in play..................................................................................................................... 19 Set up the Calendar view with the same Category View of your Tasks...................................................................... 19 Using the Calendar Page Time-specific actions............................................................................................................................................ 21 Day-specific actions.............................................................................................................................................. 21 Day-specific information........................................................................................................................................ 22 The speed keys for inserting calendar items...........................................................................................................24 Putting the Calendar and Tasks together functionally...............................................................................................24 Organizing E-mail Page The fundamental success factor: operate from zero base........................................................................................ 25 How to get e-mail to empty....................................................................................................................................25 About the delegating functionality built into Outlook................................................................................................ 28 Speeding up e-mail addressing............................................................................................................................. 29 Utilizing the Notes Functionality for Useful Lists Page How it works as a list manager.............................................................................................................................. 30 Setup................................................................................................................................................................... 30 Some great categories and lists.............................................................................................................................31 Cutting and pasting...............................................................................................................................................32 Tips about Contacts Page Get control of your new inputs............................................................................................................................... 33 Creative use of the Find feature............................................................................................................................. 34 Miscellaneous Page The RIM pager...................................................................................................................................................... 35 If you are initially setting up synchronization to the Palm......................................................................................... 35 Conclusion

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DAVID ALLEN COMPANY

Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.davidco.com

The Tasks area was designed as an informal project manager. but maximum power in using Outlook lies in the understanding and implementation of our total approach.gettingthingsdone. This manual provides a tested basic set of formats and behaviors that have proven to work as a starting point for many people. 2001. This is a manual for setting up Outlook and using it effectively in that context. in contrast to the over-building of Tasks. Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.com. In other words. Less than 1% of all the Outlook users that we have coached have been using the Tasks or Notes functions in any systematic and effective way before they work with us. keeping track of tasks grouped by the project they're about. almost no functionality built into the Notes usage.com DAVID ALLEN COMPANY . and no two clients of ours wind up with exactly the same configurations and procedures in place. much like having a whiteboard on which to park your sticky notes. but only by understanding a very different way to think about "Tasks" and "Notes" than is evident by simply booting up the software or reading about it. The setup instructions work with Outlook 2000. This information will provide the greatest value if you have some familiarity with our workflow mastery model. The Notes function seems to have been designed as a simple little "idea collector" with its own area. a majority of whom work in an Outlook environment. 1 Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity. the way people actually work doesn't usually fit this model sufficiently to make it worth the effort to keep it appropriately populated with real items in real time. etc.1 The following recommendations come from thousands of hours of one-on-one coaching with professionals at all levels. Tasks and Notes can be employed to great benefit. However. hardback. Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity. The complete delineation of these high-performance methods of personal productivity can be found in David Allen's book.1 Introduction Workflow Processing page 2 Many people in our client organizations and seminars have expressed interest in optimizing Microsoft Outlook™ as their personal organizing system. Viking.davidco. But there was. Many of the suggestions herein will be intuitive and common sense to anyone. We suggest you try it out and then tweak the system to fit your own needs and preferences. New York. workflow management best practices. utilizing the David Allen & Co. Much room remains for experimentation and customization. Available from booksellers or at www. Parts of Outlook don't work the way Microsoft thought they might Two potentially powerful functions in Outlook-Tasks and Notes-are universally underutilized. it only works if your "inner geek" shows up with ample time to play around with all the connections and features. and if you have an older version there may be some slight differences in the location of dialog boxes. It also embodies a lot of complex features related to percentage complete. and delegating and tracking tasks to others. status.

"Set meeting with the team" needs to be further delineated as "Call Ana Maria to set meeting" on your Calls list. or "Talk to Jessie re: team meeting" on your Agendas for Assistant list. in order to generate the appropriate contents for your lists. And the flat little sticky Notes can be turbo-charged with some very useful reference material and checklists.com DAVID ALLEN COMPANY . Decide the next physical action If you don't determine the very next action needed on a task or project or an e-mail. it won't give you the payoff of a system. Don't leave anything in your head or in unprocessed stacks If your system contains only partial information. adding sophistication to your personal management. Introduction page 3 Outlook has the ingredients for a personal management tool Outlook has sufficient power and features built in already to enable the structuring of a very powerful and useful personal system.g. you won't know where to park the reminder. The principles that optimize the management of work In order to understand our specific recommendations for Outlook setup and usage and to maximize its potential in practice. The reminders of projects and actionable items must be cleaned up and refreshed at least every seven days. if your "Calls" list doesn't have every single call you need to make. your head will still have to keep remembering and reminding about the rest of them.2 2 See our Web site (www. Review and update the contents of the whole system regularly A system is only as trustworthy and beneficial as it is current.) 2. Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. The more the system can be kept up to date as you go along. Also there are some simple things to do to manage email and the calendar that enhance their functionality and tie the whole inventory of work tracking together into a seamless integrated system. (E. and complete. and Outlook cannot do them for you! They are basic disciplines in managing work flow that must become part of your ongoing work habits.davidco. and the decision-still-needed pressure will cause you to avoid engaging with your lists. If you don't engage in these behaviors. The trick is to know which ones to ignore and which to use. the more "alive" and supportive it will be to allow your mind to focus on the work at hand. The world will probably come at you faster than you can keep it totally processed and organized. don't fault the organizing software! The lists will be incomplete and not give you enough payoff of relaxed control to keep you motivated to maintain them. The overbuilt Task function can be simplified or as we say.) 3. but you can't let it slip too long before you catch up.g. 1. and how to customize that usage to fit with the best practices of workflow management. or "E-mail team for best meeting dates" on your At Computer list. These are fundamental to the success of the system. and trying to keep only some of them in Outlook will be too much work for the minimal benefit you'll gain.com) for The Weekly Review (in Gear. (E. consistent.1." to be a simple but powerful list manager.davidco. it's important to clarify some simple but powerful productivity behaviors. and as such can be quite effective in organizing reminders in a way that really works in real time. and you won't be motivated to maintain it. Tips and Tools). "dumbed down.

etc. some in your head. which limits the remote list-management capability you might want. It is just the kind of basic list manager required. and all the things you might want to pack whenever you take a trip. Whatever system you use very soon has to be on "automatic. etc. and these will map one to one to the To-Do lists on the Palm. In our experience coaching hundreds of Outlook users. When you configure Tasks as we suggest. though at this writing all your Tasks would meld into one list on the Blackberry. Any PDA can work. you're just using it. The Tasks section can be a terrific list manager for your actionable items and the Notes area can serve as a very functional catalog of checklists and reference material. a list of all the things you are waiting for to come back from other people.1." i. These can be "flat" lists . you will create lists as Categories. You may also want lists of your key objectives for the year.not tied or related to other things. There are two ways to make this work: 1. but for the more complex PDA's the list-management habits have to be more rigorously applied. Introduction page 4 The need for simple lists Once you have appropriately processed your "stuff. your favorite movies to rent. "Portabilizing" your lists Another key success factor to using Outlook for personal management is having an easy way to publish the lists into some portable format (and the behavior of actually doing that when needed). some at the office. things to talk with your spouse about when you're with them. and not trusting your head more than the tool." simple lists will store most of your reminders and reference information. It can also download to a RIM device.) It will need to contain a list of errands you need to run when you're out and about. a list of all the calls you need to make. And if you subliminally know that your lists may not be with you when you might use them (such as your Calls list available whenever you have free time and a phone).davidco. nor sorted by priority or urgency…just lists. some at home. Any personal organizer will function at a much higher level when it contains everything that might be needed for a reminder anywhere (vs. Similarly your lists in Notes will map to the Memo function on the Palm.com . Synchronize to a PDA You can set up Outlook to synchronize with the Palm or any WinCE/Pocket PC handheld device. and things to do at home when you have some time in that environment. and is not as over-built as the WinCE or Pocket PC devices. as long as you work it. some in your briefcase. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. You need a list of projects. the easiest tool for distributing your Outlook lists is the Palm. not thinking about how to use it.e. you won't be motivated to keep them populated and current.

Paste what's in the clipboard to the cursor location <Ctrl> p . It's hard to imagine the power of it until you've tasted it. When the techniques in this manual are just being used and no longer thought about consciously. they will foster and facilitate that thinking at an increasing rate and quality. Learn and use both the standard Windows and the Outlook-specific key combinations. They then hand-edit those lists as they move around.1. make the standard universal Windows speed-key combinations habitual. will make or break the usage of Outlook for action management. in meetings. telephone numbers. Get very friendly with your keyboard The ease of making entries ad hoc. and documents as attached notes to items on your lists will provide tremendous usefulness to your system. because of the additional visibility and note-adding capability of paper lists.3 If you aren't using them already. Subliminal resistance to your data entry process usually creates a barrier for using any digital tool as a total system. Introduction page 5 2. including their calendar. or traveling. The system should work almost as quickly as you think. the more you will be able to use Outlook as a highly leveraged personal productivity device.Switch between open Windows applications 3 Some of these will be listed later in the appropriate sections of this manual. The ability to cut and paste portions of e-mails. as things occur to you. The faster you are at the keyboard. Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. some people choose to print out appropriate action-reminder lists into hard copy. to carry with them when they leave their computer.Copy whatever is selected to clipboard <Ctrl> x . It is not just an arithmetic curve-it is at least geometric. better than a digital version. Using the speed key combinations (instead of the mouse) for the small number of regular commands for creating and storing new entries will make the process at least four times faster. at home. Print your lists into hard copy Instead of using a PDA. you will have entered a very different world of personal productivity.Print <Ctrl> z . and in some cases with some people.Cut whatever is selected to the clipboad <Ctrl> v .Undo Alt-Tab . And switching between open applications to follow through on your workflow thoughts as you have them makes you more productive. Standard Windows speed key combinations ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ <Ctrl> a . updating Outlook when they are back at their workstations. or it won't hold up to keep you current.com DAVID ALLEN COMPANY .Select the whole document <Ctrl> c . As your capture/process/think tool and behaviors come closer to matching the speed with which your mind can shift its focus and generate new ideas.davidco. This can work fine.

usually in combination with the Alt key.creates a new e-mail folder ■ <Ctrl+Shift> i . Go to View. Calendar." On the left side under "categories" select any one of those listed and a unique list of icons will appear with "commands" that you can add to the tool bar. we strongly suggest you install and practice with a good software typing tutor. the need to manipulate data with a keyboard will increase along with voicerecognition technology. it will be a long time (if ever!) that you will not need the keyboard.opens new Note ■ <Ctrl+Shift> m . and Calendar…so you can Alt-Tab between these applications instantly as your thinking moves between them. Toolbars. Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. and check Open in New Window. Customize. Tasks. How's your typing speed? We highly recommend that you get up to a typing speed of at least 50 words per minute.davidco. Select the "commands tab. much like the need to process paper has actually increased since the advent of computers. one at a time. drag the item to the toolbar. and Tasks.moves you to the e-mail inbox ■ <Ctrl+Shift> b .opens new e-mail message ■ <Ctrl+Shift> e . Using some combinations for navigating within Outlook itself will increase your productivity for action management: ■ <Ctrl+Shift> k .opens new Task ■ <Ctrl+Shift> n .4 Your keyboard is becoming at least as important as your phone as a communication device (with yourself as well as with others). No matter how fast voice-recognition is advancing in the digital world. 4 A great one is "Typing Master®. If you are not there yet. Our estimate is that. and opening various views. Some of the Outlook speed-key combinations we will suggest later in this document may not fit exactly with your version and toolbar views. Introduction page 6 Outlook-specific speed keys The speed keys for most menu functions within an application are the underlined letter. new Notes.1. highlight a command and left click. Your computer can be a strategic "think station" and especially so when there is little or no effort in getting a thought into it.com DAVID ALLEN COMPANY . Increasing your ease and speed with your inputting device may have more payoffs than you think. Experiment to find which ones match your setup.opens your address book Other navigation speed tips Create open windows for Email. Create command icons on your Outlook toolbar…as another option (to speed keys) so you can click on your toolbar for new Tasks." available from most any software supplier. Right-click on Inbox. To add. Then Alt-Tab will switch you from one to the other in a flash.

Current View. a list title) you will in effect put something on that list. Customize Current View). Use the Add and Remove buttons and the "drag-and-drop" mouse feature to set up the "Show these fields…" list box as follows: DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.2 Action List Manager Setting up Outlook Tasks as an page 7 Using the TASKS function as an action-list manager works extremely well. right click on the selected list. (This will be much clearer when you actually try it out. and the "New Task" dialog will be the place to enter anything that goes on any of those lists. (Caution: we recommend you don't try to do both-that is. then select all the categories. Change the Fields in the view Click Customize Current View (View. 2. 3. right click on the selected list.) New definitions of "Category" and "Task" Using our method. etc. select "Categories. and either (a)Print them out in hard copy and toss into your in-basket for later reprocessing into your new system (recommended). A hybrid configuration would be very difficult to manage. if you configure the View appropriately and use Task entries and Categories differently than was originally intended. Clean up the TASK section Get rid of any miscellaneous entries currently in TASKS. The first thing to do is look for any entries that you may have. then select "Delete. then select all categories. use them for action reminder lists and the informal project management tool it was initially designed for. In other words. i. That will bring up the View Summary dialog with various buttons on the left. You can do this by either deleting or removing categories from the tasks in each of your existing categories. these entries will show up in a single section called "Categories: (none)" which can function as an in-basket and should remind you to rethink what's still in there and distribute the results appropriately.davidco. You will not want to build a new configuration with old "stuff" still resident in your Tasks. Click on the Fields button to bring up the Show Fields dialog. By Category.e. you must redefine "Category" as list title and "Task" as list item. "Calls".).e. take these steps: 1. the Categories will represent the various lists (such as "Projects". Click View. "At Home". Change to View by Categories Go to the Task section of Outlook. By attaching it to a Category (i.) Reconfigure your Task interface In order to configure the Task section appropriately for this." and uncheck all the checked boxes. but keep them uncategorized.com . with no Category assigned to them. You can do this by collapsing the list down to only categories. Current View. Later."or (b)Leave the entries you have in there.

Restore your View by Category.davidco. Action List Manager page 8 1. Double-click the entry and change the Status from "Completed" to "In Progress. Notes 4.com . Click Customize Current View (View. Customize Current View)." and the item will disappear off your list. You can then order the fields as shown here by clicking and dragging the fields up or down in the list box. You will need to remove the fields you do not want by selecting them in the right box and clicking Remove. That will bring up the View Summary dialog with various buttons on the left. Due Date These are the fields you want to wind up with (in order). Complete 2." That will return the item to your initial action list. Filter the View The Filter feature will set up the Task window to allow you to check off something as "done.5 5 If you need to retrieve an item you’ve clicked as Done. You can add any of these fields you don't already have in your view by selecting them from the list on the left and clicking Add. Current View. to be displayed in another view called Completed items. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. return to View/Current View/Completed Tasks.2. 4. Click on the Filter button. Subject 3.

by due date. (Feel free to change this sorting formula later as desired. The most useful might be to list them alphabetically. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Keeping the View Summary dialog open. Click on the Field button on the left side in the middle of the box. Equals. click on the Sort button. 5. and No.com . insert Due Date. Ensure that Ascending is checked. Then OK out. Action List Manager page 9 ■ ■ ■ Then click on the Advanced tab.davidco. click the arrow and insert Subject. We recommend starting out listing them alphabetically. Click Complete (5th one down the list in Outlook 2000). Then OK back to the View Summary dialog. Then OK back to the View Summary dialog box. or by priority (we have coached clients who have. found it more functional one way than the other). which you want to keep.2.) DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. In the second box (Then by). as you gain more familiarity with the system. The third box can be left as (none). Then click the Add to List button. for various reasons. Ensure that Ascending is checked. The default Condition and Value will automatically be filled in with Complete. In the first box (Sort items by). Sort the items automatically You have the option of sorting your lists in Tasks in several ways. and only changing that if one of the other options makes more sense for how you use it. Click Frequently-used fields. and accept the criteria with Yes in the alert box.

move the column edges in the Fields bar at the top so that the Due Date is about one inch from the right edge. if relevant. (That is a default setting for Outlook. and the left edge of the “Due Date” column to the right to create the appropriate widths. Action List Manager page 10 6.2. The Notes field will let you know whether there are additional comments attached to the item. 7. and the item will disappear off the list. click on the Other Settings button. the separate items on the list will have these components and characteristics: ■ ■ ■ ■ The box on the left can be checked off when the item is completed. In the Tasks view. The Subject will contain the list item. If not. Ensure that you can edit within the fields Keeping the View Summary box open. Tweak the size of the fields in the Tasks view Ensure that the "Tasks" view is still selected on the Menu Bar. (If there are.) Then OK back to the View Summary box and OK out to the Outlook main window. (Click and drag on the edges of the columns: Specifically. drag the left edge of the "Notes" column to the left. Ensure that "Allow in-cell editing" is checked. you will know to open up the Task for more details. then change the size of the Notes and Due Date fields.) The final structure If you have followed these instructions.com . and the Notes field is about three inches wide.davidco.) The Due Date field will show you that information. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. no need to bother.

com . 3. Add the categories you want to use. Microsoft gives you many default categories that you will not need or use. then use the Delete button to remove the category. In the Master Category List. (Type in the new category title in the text box at the top of the dialog. New. Caution: Avoid clicking the "Reset" button on the Master Category List editing box. Action List Manager page 11 Customize your Master Categories list You want to merely click on a Category in your master list when you enter a new Task to send it to the appropriate list. Here's how to customize that list so it's most functional: 1. New Task or using the key combination Cntl+Shift K. click to select an unused category. Click the Master Category List button in the lower right of the Categories dialog. Do not delete any of the categories that are functional for you elsewhere. 4. Bring up a new Task dialog by selecting File. and click the Add button.2.) These are the Categories we suggest you set up initially: @Agendas @Anywhere @Calls @Computer @Errands @Home @Office @Waiting For Projects Someday/Maybe Note: Be sure to include the "@" symbol in the first 8 category names above.davidco. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. 5. so don't hesitate to dump them all. Use of this symbol is explained in the "best categories" below. Caution: If you are using Categories in any other part of Outlook (such as Contacts) they will show up in this Master list. 2. Click the Categories button in the lower right of the Task dialog. To remove a sequence of categories. hold down the Shift button when selecting. It will revert everything to the default categories that Outlook starts with.

Does it require a phone? A computer? Do you have to be at home to do it? Do you need to be "out and about" doing errands? Our recommended categories are the most common contexts. coaches. etc. the monthly board meeting. use the Notes box underneath the Subject for collecting the separate agenda items to go over with them the next time you meet in person or on the phone. direct reports. It places them at the top of the Master Category list and signifies they are the real physical action reminders that you can work from whenever you have discretionary time. The best practice for organizing these reminders is to sort them by the critical context (i.davidco. your assistant. and perhaps to place on an agenda beforehand. you will recognize that the categories above represent the lists we recommend for managing actionable items. @Agendas This category lists the separate people you will be communicating with in real time (face to face or on the phone) and meetings coming toward you. the categories) needed for the action. consultants. Using the Task dialog. you need to keep track of it as a reminder for yourself to view and assess for follow-up action. create a separate Task for each person you interact with regularly (boss. you must decide the next action required. for which you are collecting things to talk about when you are there. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. spouse. your spouse. In the Task Tab. assistant. at the appropriate time. We recommend the lists of next actions begin with the "@" symbol. and have proven to be the most functional for thousands who have implemented our system. If you don't do or delegate the action.) with his or her name in the "Subject" line.e. Action List Manager page 12 The best categories to start with If you are familiar with our methodology. along with some best practices: The action lists To move things forward. Here is a brief description of them.2. You could easily have fifteen or twenty people and meetings that you are tracking this way--your direct reports. etc. your boss. the weekly staff meeting.com .

i. In other words. and each meeting coming toward you that you are likely to have some agendas for. it might make sense to create another category for just that person's agenda items. you will undermine the simplicity of the user interface of your action lists in Tasks. You will need to select and delete these items in the Notes field when they are no longer current. categorized as @Susan. A current Agenda is very handy to implement on your PDA and keep with you at all times. Assign each to the @Agendas category.e. Be careful.com . If you have one very key person in your world. and this Outlook feature provides a perfect "parking lot" for your agenda items until they are communicated. consider creating an @Susan category.) DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. (This will be much easier to grasp by actually going ahead and setting some of them up right now . create separate Tasks for each person you know you might have some things to go over with. in case you intersect with these people or think of something to talk to them about ad hoc. Then think of some of those topics and things to cover. It is also easy to print out a single list if you want to walk into the meeting with hard copy for note taking. and not be able to synch to the Palm. just like @Calls or @Computer. and agenda notes underneath) to keep it functional. One or two key contact people would work. Action List Manager page 13 Many times the next action on a project is to talk to someone when you are with them. because if you start to create more than one or two people as categories. and much of your job consists of back and forth communications with her. but group the rest under the @Agendas category (with a person as a Task. though.2. Then you can enter items to talk with her about as separate Tasks. if your boss is Susan. which limits you to fifteen categories. and insert them underneath the appropriate person or meeting in the Notes section.davidco. with whom you are constantly in touch about many different things.

Create a code for the time zone of the person to call. it is sometimes nice to just crank through all the computer stuff you need to deal with. you synch to your PDA. If you want to get even more specific. @Calls-Company. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.davidco. data to review. it throws those to the top of the list automatically. Web sites to visit. and a few find it useful to sort them to make them easier to scan on the run. Even if you only have a computer in the office. @Calls-Personal. @Computer If the action requires the computer. If you arrange the proper protocols with them. e. when you are in "computer mode". already on your lists along with all the others.g. so all your calls to Asia or Europe are grouped together for reaching during those unique hours. with a single log-on. if they can be made from any phone. E-mails to send. take the time to type or cut and paste the phone number on the Subject line as well. You could also create an "@incoming calls" category. and the list of calls with relevant number and data are ready and waiting. and put your hottest calls to make and return as High. If your Tasks are being sorted alphabetically. Some professionals have literally dozens of calls on this list at any one time. documents to edit or draft. Action List Manager page 14 @Anywhere An action that can be accomplished without any restriction about where it's done would go on this list. ■ ■ ■ The @Calls list(s) can be effectively utilized with support staff that has access to your Tasks on the computer. If you are highly mobile. place it here. @Calls Place reminders of calls you need to make in this category. start the hottest ones with "@@".com . spreadsheets to develop. This list then comes into play whenever you are at your computer(s) with any discretionary time. it's still convenient to have this list separate from your @Office list of things to do. Start the Subject of the most important/urgent calls with a prefix like "@". Create more than one Category of calls. to reserve the decision-making about what to do about them for yourself. That puts them at the top of the group of @Calls. because you wouldn't need to look at this list when the server is down.2. Typical examples would be "Draft ideas re: corporate culture change" (if you like doing that by hand with pen and paper instead of at the computer) or "Review the Richardson proposal" if you are keeping it in your briefcase. @Calls-Clients. they can leave phone messages for you to return into your version of Outlook. Having the number already on your @Call list on your PDA makes it a lot easier to make the call when you are moving around than having to look each one of them up. Here are some options: ■ Sort all your Tasks by Priorities. etc. Also.

Purge your files. @Errands This holds reminders of things that you need to do when you are "out and about"-stop by the bank. and look something up in the corporate library would be be examples of the kind of items you would want to have on this list. Gather tax receipts. It could be calls that you have to make from your desk because of the materials you need for the call. you might consider having two errands lists-one for things you could do anywhere. and one for errands that have to be run where you live. and when you get to a good connection at a hotel or in your office. if you have to be at home to make the call.davidco. If you are a regular road warrior. It could be something you've ordered that hasn't come yet. you can work through the @Computer-Web list while you are able. whether or not you were wired in. something you've handed off to your assistant for which you're waiting on a response. scan some documents. This is handy because on a plane you don't have to keep rethinking which things you can and can't do on your laptop from your @Computer list. repair the cabinet door. This list should be reviewed as necessary (at least in the Weekly Review). projects. and the @Computer-Web list would have everything that required a good connection. Action List Manager page 15 If you carry a laptop and are frequently in situations where you can work on the computer but aren't connected to your server or the Web. buy something at a store. If you are likely to think of more than one thing to do or get at one of those locations (like the hardware store). The regular @Computer list would hold anything you could do. or something your boss is supposed to be finding out before you can move forward on a key project. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. etc. @Waiting For This list keeps track of all the actions. or just check the status. etc. in any city. (Of course this only works if you have this list with you when you're actually at home!) @Office These are the next actions that require you being at your office. review information stored in your office. make "Hardware store" the task Subject and put your running list of things to get/do there in the Notes field below. you might consider creating a separate @Computer-Web category.2. light a fire. @Home This list is for next actions that have to be done in your home environment. It would also hold reminders of calls that you have to make.com . take something to the tailor. and deliverables that you want to happen but which are someone else's responsibility. clean up the tool shed. triggering appropriate actions on your part to follow up.

com ." and "Replace tires on the van" would be examples. generating the next kick-start actions to be listed on your @action lists. This should be reviewed in detail at least weekly. you will want to review the outstanding items on their plate to ensure a proper updating conversation. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. before things become over due. when you want to know how long the ball's been in their court. This is critical information for later. but it needs a somewhat different and more elevated focus. You create and maintain it the same way that you have created your other "@" lists." "Hire VP Marketing. Action List Manager page 16 Some tips for your "Waiting For's": ■ Start the Subject line with the name or initials of the person or party who's got the action. Include the date of the handoff in the Subject line. When you have meetings with your direct reports.2. "Implement new performance review process. Then (if you are sorting alphabetically) it will group all the Waiting For's from one source together on the list. Projects This category should hold the list of the normally 30 to 100 active commitments you could have on your plate at any point in time that require more than one action to complete. ■ A working example of the "@Waiting For" category is illustrated below.davidco.

However. and review. Some people find they don't need an @Computer and @Office as separate lists. and check the selected category by hitting the SPACE bar6 <Enter> . When you have done a thorough inventory of all your projects. So. etc.com DAVID ALLEN COMPANY .davidco. Customizing your categories The categories we have suggested should serve as a starting point. Action List Manager page 17 The Notes section attached to each project is a perfect place to jot "back of the envelope" thoughts about the project.saves new or changed Task properties.Clicks the "OK" button <Alt> s . and provides the cornerstone for managing your day-to-day operational life. hit "P" and the space bar and it will click the Projects category). This Projects list is the most important list to establish. Use the Task speed keys ■ ■ ■ <Cntl+Shift> k . Using it to regularly generate all your next actions to populate your @action lists relieves the pressure of incessantly thinking about what you need to be thinking about.puts the Task dialog away (saving and closing Task information) ■ ■ 6 It is possible even to eliminate this mouse click if you type the first letter of the Category and hit the space bar (e. and executive support staff often can use a category "Meetings to Schedule". to await action until you have a more appropriate window. if you are using the "@" symbol for your action lists.opens New Task dialog (from anywhere in Outlook) <Alt> g .opens Master Category list dialog (for categorizing Task) when you are working in the Task dialog <Alt> s . if they only have a computer at work. It is the lynchpin of the Weekly Review. Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www." "Learn Italian" would be examples.2. it won’t work for them. maintain." "Get an MBA. some of them might need to be shuttled to this category. Some executives find a Projects-Delegated category useful as a high-level "waiting for" list.g.to open a new Task dialog Type in the content of the item on the Subject line in the Task tab <Alt> g . here is the series of keystroke combinations to get used to. but with no commitment to move on it at present. simple bulleted-list components.to bring up the Categories dialog when in the Task dialog Use the down arrow key (or click with your mouse) to highlight the desired category. Someday/Maybe These are the things you might want to do at some point in the future. for entering new items in your lists: ■ ■ ■ ■ <Ctrl+Shift> k . "Take a watercolor class. then closes the Task dialog And any button that appears with a bold label in a dialog box may be activated with the <Enter> key.

2. If you have the discipline to code your entries with a unique abbreviation for the project they refer to. It would be totally dysfunctional in the Palm and cumbersome at best in a WinCE PDA. For instance.davidco. makes it difficult to remember if you have entered a phone call you need to make or a project you remember you have. and within a few seconds it could be on your @Calls list and synched to your PDA. Action List Manager page 18 This series will work anywhere within Outlook. you can then search for that code and it will instantly display all of them in one screen. not the project they relate to. using the <Alt> i speed keys. what people want to see is a project plan to feel like there is an overview of the project's progress somewhere. your 2002 budget could be "b2. so you could be in the middle of reading e-mails and suddenly remember you need to call Robin. if you implement this methodology completely. In fact." which you could enter in any action or agenda item about that. It also offers an informal means of tying together all the actions you may have anywhere in your Tasks related to a single topic or project. without hindering your workflow.com . The major conceptual problem people have with our workflow methodology is that next actions are arranged by the context required for the action. That would give you the best of both worlds (actions grouped by their project and by their context). if that were a consistent behavior (doubtful because of the extra work) you would have an outrageous and unwieldy number of categories in Tasks (one for each project plus the context lists). DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. Using the Find feature in Tasks It is helpful to be able to find items within your Tasks rapidly. and many people want to feel comfortable that they have some way to find everything related to one project easily. If you really think you need some digital tie between actions and their projects. which. at least initially. Searching all your tasks in a flash with <Alt> i and whatever key word you want to find makes this very easy. ensuring that you have actions on all the active parts of your projects. try the "coding and Find" procedure described under the Find Feature heading above. The Weekly Review is what ties the whole thing together.they just need to get decided and put somewhere that gets them done. The next actions are usually more detailed and move much faster than what's on a plan . you will likely have at least 100-200 actions and projects. Then <Alt> i + "b2" + <Enter> would get them all at a glance. First. since you can tie an entry to more than one category. But in reality. In Outlook you could categorize "Call Joe re: budget meeting" as both @Call and Budget.

you can hide that list until you need to catch up with a review again.com .the "hard landscape" -. you need only be reminded of clear things to do when they can possibly be done. if your schedule shows a block of time between 2:30 and 4:00. The calendar shows what has to get done during the day . instead of seeing rather amorphous blobs of "things to do" with unspecified actions. For instance. you would then only need to see @Anywhere. @Errands.2. Set up the Calendar View with the same Category View of your Tasks Many people find it very functional to create the same Task view of their actions and projects. and @Office. Action List Manager page 19 Expanding only the categories in play One of the greatest things about organizing your lists in the way we recommend is that you only need to see or review certain lists at certain times. @Computer. expand only @Anywhere. This makes life much simpler when you are in the thick of your operational day. @Agendas would only open up when you knew you were going to interface with one of the people on that list. though you may have 50+ "Projects". and @Calls. if you have done a thorough review of them recently enough and tracked the next actions on each one. at 2:30 you would first review your "day-specific" actions at the top of the day's calendar.only the action steps about it. This provides a very effective work screen and think station. because you can't really do anything else on your lists there." DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. If you go out for lunch and have a cell phone with you.) If you are in your office. visible next to their calendar for the day.davidco. @Calls.whereas the Tasks provide an overview of all the other things to pick from when the calendar leaves any open time. and once those were handled. (You can't do a project . For instance. Then. you could review your @Calls and @Computer list for things that need doing "as soon as you have time to get to them.

it doesn't automatically restructure this Task portion of your Calendar view when you change the Task setup).2.com .Current View . Structure the view of this Calendar ■ View . Then proceed setting the Fields.Click "All Tasks" 2. you will expand or contract the box to include more or less months in view above. Structure the Task view ■ Right-click the TaskPad bar. Click "Customize Current View". By clicking and dragging the left border of the Tasks. and Sort as you would with the initial Task setup we've recommended. ■ Filter..e. Action List Manager page 20 To set up this Calendar view you must include a Task view setup that duplicates what you previously did in Tasks (i. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.TaskPad View .Click Day/Week/Month ■ View .davidco. 1.

) DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. and save. but not at a specific time. Just click on the date bar at the top of the page and fill in the subject line with the action required. We have worked with very senior professionals whose days are so filled with these intensely short-turnaround actions required." (Any time Monday would be fine. you should try to complete these before anything else. (Some executive assistants have found it very useful to put their boss's name as one of those items. but you can't stop doing what you're doing at the moment. and it allows for a much more controlled overview of the game while all the action is going on.) And many times you will be working on something in the morning. day-specific actions. It will show up as a discrete grayed bar at the top. they often wind up with ten to twenty of these "got-to's" at the top of their daily calendar. the day page will represent the "hard landscape" for your day and will provide a trusted foundation at a glance for momentto-moment orientation about "what's next?" Time-specific actions Appointments are a straightforward matter. with a running attached note with all the agendas they have to cover with him or her before they escape the office at the end of the day. Just get used to it. I'll call you sometime Monday about that. No mystery here. as soon as you have any open window at all. So. But with these appropriately filled out. Something that you have to finish and submit or mail by the end of the day 3. and get a request or have something show up that must be fulfilled before the sun goes down. The good news is that they have it all in one place. but it can't hold over until Tuesday. It is rare to find someone who fully utilizes the latter two functions to their advantage. These need to be tracked in a place that you will notice as soon as you have any time when you're not scheduled. A call you have to make before you leave for the day 2.davidco. An agenda you must cover with someone before they leave the office You will undoubtedly make commitments like this: "José.) These reminders should represent to you the same kind of commitment as your appointments. or (worse) filing it in psychic RAM. Examples would be: 1. do this: Make it an "all-day event" at the top of your daily calendar page (see window shot on next page). Day-specific actions Often there will be things that need to happen sometime during the day.com . (Unfortunately they are the same color gray as the date bar at the top. adding it to the pile of Post-it's on your desk or screen.3 Calendar Using The page 21 The best practices we recommend with the Outlook calendar include using it for three kinds of items: time-specific actions. Instead of stapling a note to your forehead. and day-specific information.

not necessarily something to do.com .davidco. there are many times there is truly no need to review any other lists or options of actions . for those who use it). it would be right there on the calendar." It will also be quite reassuring to you to be able to trust that if something would die if it weren't done. and you can then make it a day-specific item on your calendar by clicking the All-day event box and inserting the proper date. It will then show up in the top bars for that designated day. or attached as a note to the appointment it may refer to.3. If the appointments and day-specific actions can be trusted to be the complete picture. This should also be inserted as an "event" bar at the top of the page (sharing space with the day-specific actions). Using the Calendar page 22 Sometimes an action item on one of your Task lists will age to the point where it must now be done on. a specific day coming up on your calendar. Day-specific information The third type of entry that should make it onto your calendar is information that you want to know or be reminded of that day .the day is more than filled with those elements of the "hard landscape. A useful feature in Outlook is to click and drag that task over the Calendar button in the Folder List navigator (or the Calendar icon in the Outlook Shortcuts menu bar. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. or by.

Using the Calendar page 23 There are hundreds of types of things that fall into this category. office moves. Key events of interest happening that day: ■ ■ ■ ■ things that might disrupt the work environment (server shut-downs. "tickler" information.com . bosses. etc. etc.davidco. cultural or social events. Some of the most common of these are: Attachments to time-specific actions ■ ■ ■ ■ locations of and directions to meetings reminders of things to take to meetings reservation #'s phone #'s at meeting locations Event-bar items: (see window at right) 1.) Things you're not committed to. extracurricu lar activities. but which you might want to participate in (TV specials. heads of state visits. such as: ■ tickets or paper needed by that date critical advance notice of deadlines ("two days until budget due") ■ DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. etc. assis tants and staff-vacations.) External events to be aware of (marathons. "drop dead" dates and red flags for due items. elections. organization events.) 2. such as a prospective client who asked you to call back "after next week" 3. etc.3.) Activities of other significant people of interest to you (spouses.

davidco.3.com .check the got-to-do’s and info specific to the day 1st .new item <Alt> y .removes reminder (otherwise it will flag it just after midnight) page 24 2nd . Using the Calendar The speed keys for inserting calendar items: <Ctrl-Shift> a .all day event <Alt> r .check the hard timeline edges 3rd .new item for the calendar And for day-specific actions and information on the top bars: <Ctrl-Shift> a . DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.check what else might be done from the as-soon-aspossible lists Putting the Calendar and Tasks together functionally The combination of this kind of workstation/screen view with the speed key facility to insert items almost as fast as they occur to you creates an elegant way to stay focused amidst the intensity of your daily operations.

your quickest way to purge is to sort by the From field (click the From column header). or stage a reminder of what you need to do with it in an action-reminder kind of system.com . project. You can often then dump a bunch from the same source at one time. workflow principles. too). That is its purpose-to give you a simple storage system for e-mail you need to keep for archive purposes. and use it! (<Ctrl> d works fast. It’s not a matter of how many you get but rather your comfort zone with how many unprocessed e-mails you will tolerate before you have to do something about them. you must be able to see reminders of those actions quickly and completely. so if they can't move on or finish dealing with the e-mail right then. organize by theme. within two weeks you would probably have exactly the same number you currently have. With the Inbox selected. remember also to click on the Deleted Items in the Folders List navigator. because of its volume and incessancy. person. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.7 The problem is that most people do not have a system for managing their emails beyond the in-basket area. That doesn't mean that the in-basket in e-mail is kept at zero-just that it gets there on some regular basis (at least once a week). It requires the least amount of psychic effort to operate from a zero base than from a thousand base. 1. The fundamental success factor: operate from zero base The master key for managing e-mail is the hardest habit for many to change-working from a regularly empty in-basket. they will leave it in "in" as the safest place. (In your weekly review. (Your IT folks will love you for it. Get rid of the e-mails that you have no use for after reading them. along with all the rest. respond to it in the moment. file it as reference. and go up to the "X" icon on the Tool Bar to delete them all from Outlook).davidco. You delete it.4 E-MAIL Organizing page 25 For most people Outlook e-mail represents the weakest link in their personal organization system. it can be controlled and integrated into the whole workflow practice. topic. File Get over your allergy (if you have one) to making reference files in your navigator bar.) If you have more than 500 e-mails. use the Cntl+Shift+A combination to select all deleted messages. 2. however. and it will shrink your in-basket a ton. or however it makes the most sense to you. 7 If the Good Fairy showed up and disappeared all the e-mails in your in-basket. This is tough enough for the most organized. hand it off to someone else to handle. In order to evaluate the actions embedded in your e-mail against all the other actions you need to take. Delete Please learn where your <DEL> key is. but almost impossible to do with more than a screen full of e-mails lying amorphously in "in." How to get e-mail to empty You process e-mail in the same way you do any other item in an in-basket. By applying the David Allen & Co.

Right-click and drag over your Task button in the navigator and move the e-mail into your Tasks. Organizing E-Mail page 26 Use <Ctrl>-Shift e to make a new folder fast. Defer The e-mails that will take you longer than two minutes to dispatch can be handled in one of three ways: 1.com 8 . Do The two-minute rule that we teach is magic. (Think of yourself as being made of Teflon. We recommend also that (if you care about a result from the handoff) you track it. it'll take you longer than that to store it.Store in a folder called @Action in the Folder List navigator files. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.Write yourself a Task to handle the e-mail. when everything is processed. With few exceptions. 2. 3. You should obviously delete whatever you can. including the e-mails you still have to respond to that take longer than two minutes. do your quick ones. Delegate If someone else needs to take the action about an e-mail. when it comes to two-minute-or-less actions!) 4. they want to go celebrate and don’t want to look at the @Action or @Computer reminder lists at all! You have to be adult enough. and an easy way to do that is to cc: or bcc: yourself when you send a delegating e-mail. open it up and read it again than it will be to handle it on the front end. and establish a system for managing the e-mails that require longer-than-two-minute action and those that represent something you are waiting on to come back from others. you need to delete a bunch. and store the e-mail in a folder called @Action Support. If you do the above. but if you're going to respond to it at all and it takes less than two minutes. hand it off to them.davidco. That will give you a copy immediately back into your own inbasket. 5. you'll wind up with an empty in-basket in e-mail. categorized as @Computer. that should be done right away. categorized as @Computer.4. The problem is that most people get so excited at having nothing in IN. Ideally. which you can then track in a Waiting For folder or as an @Waiting For in your Tasks. any e-mail that can be responded to in less than two minutes should be dispatched the first time you see it. file a bunch. to then examine all the options of your work at hand. unless it is going to take significantly longer than two minutes to forward it. 3. which is an event few people have ever experienced!8 In summary.

when you decide to work on it you can launch the e-mailing function from within the attachment to the Task without having to return to the in-box to do it. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen & Co. The @ sign makes these folders stand out as different from your reference files and sorts them at the top of the folder list. and drag the e-mails into the appropriate folder. out of mind" syndrome can be a killer-you must review contents of the @Action and @Waiting For folders as often as any of your other reminders to operate within the most productive framework for your time. If you do this. Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen & Co. 2. The advantage of this method is that it is the quickest way to organize them.com . the Subject of the e-mail shows up as the Subject of the task.Right-click and drag the e-mails over into the Task lists. And the "out of sight.Create @Action and @Waiting For folders in your Inbox navigator view. sorted together. Organizing E-Mail page 27 There are three ways you can manage the latter two important categories: 1. The disadvantage is that it adds an additional set of reminders of things to do to review against all your actions at hand.4. If you bring over the e-mail as an attachment (a nice option). categorizing them in your Tasks as @Computer for the actionable ones and @Waiting For for the others.davidco. so we recommend that you edit or preface the Subject line to reflect the action required. 2001 www.

emails from your boss saying to hold off on something until she got back to you). Organizing E-Mail page 28 The advantage of this is that it puts all your next action reminders in one coordinated set of lists (Tasks) instead of spread into two different functional places in Outlook. e-mails with your order number from a Web purchase.4. and then you'd have extra systems anyway (e.Store the actionable e-mails in an @Action Support folder in your emails. The advantage is an even more integrated and cohesive action reminder system in Tasks. and want the text of the email to download to the Palm. but we have almost never seen anyone work it effectively as a consistent operational function. there's no need for one that's extra work and doesn't fit much of what you need to manage. there are many things outside that system you need to track as Waiting For's as well. We have coached hundreds of professionals who have used each of these three systems quite successfully. If you have a good Waiting For tracking system anyway. you must select the "Copy with text" option. Write the action required as a Task for you in @Computer and write the Waiting-For item as an @Waiting For in Tasks.g. they all require effort!). and yet many times you are giving them something for which you would like a response. The disadvantage is the extra time it might take to type in the reminder as a Subject in the Task. even if it were a working system. If you are synching to the Palm. You also wouldn't think of "tasking" your boss or a peer through the delegation system. Pure attachments will not transfer over. but all are much more effective than being continually plagued by the gnawing sense there are actionable things embedded in dozens if not hundreds of emails lurking in IN.e. There are too many moving parts and unnecessary details embedded in the technology. e-mails.com . DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. 3. to others). and your Waiting-For's in an @Waiting For Support folder. About the delegating functionality built into Outlook… Outlook has some built-in delegating and tracking capability (to hand off tasks. etc. The disadvantage is the extra step it takes to get them over there.davidco. Also. plus the need to return to your in-basket area to get the original e-mail if you need it for a discussion thread or reference. None of these is perfect (i.

Organizing E-Mail page 29 Speeding up e-mail addressing For people you e-mail regularly. To create a new Group. and name the group a simple letter code. click Tools.davidco.com . including yourself (when cc:ing yourself on delegating e-mail). it saves a lot of time to create an e-mail Group for that single individual. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. It is much easier than trying to type in their name and hunting through the address book to insert it. Address Book.4. New.

At first glance the Notes function in Outlook is merely a simple bulletin board for miscellaneous mental Postit's™. and the Notes will be the list items. all the details you can enter on the note below the first line (up to 32k). Once you create a note (<Ctrl-Shift> n). when you want to categorize it. This will bring up the Master Categories list. then release). you could have a Category called "Travel". By Category. and each Note could represent a different city you frequent. Remove all the fields but Subject (easiest is to click and drag the field title upwards until you see a black X.davidco. The first line you type in the Note will show up as the listing under the category. people to see there. For instance. and organizing an array of reference lists and checklists that can be accessed as needed. similar to the Task section-not the Notes attached to the bottom of Tasks and Appointments. Then your categories in Notes will serve as your list headings. If the category is not there yet. either click on the small icon in the upper left of the Note and click Categories or hit <Alt-SPACE> i. and click the X in the upper right corner or <Alt-SPACE> c to save and close it.com . similar to Tasks. with restaurants. etc. set it up with View. using it to create and manage effectively a limitless number of potentially useful (and fun) lists makes it extremely valuable for personal organizing. and as such gets very little use from most people (a real Post-it™ is a lot more practical). things to do. populating. However. click Master Category List and add it. Then click the appropriate category. Setup In the Notes function. The best practice here is to use Notes as an arena for collecting. Current View. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. How it works as a list manager Notes can be categorized and viewed by category (in Outlook 98 and later).5 Useful Lists Uitlizing the Notes Functionality for page 30 This refers to the Outlook Notes section.

and particularly useful and fun when it is synchronized to a Palm ("Notes" on a PC map to "Memos" on a Palm) or other PDA.com . Useful Lists page 31 Some great categories and lists This functionality is so totally open-ended and in one sense so simple. here are some possible categories to play with: ■ Checklists ■ Clients ■ Dates ■ Focus Areas ■ Ideas??? ■ Inspirations ■ Lists ■ Might buy… ■ Next time in… ■ Travel ■ Vacation Ideas You will only be limited by your own imagination. the possibilities are infinite.davidco.5. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. To get started. wherever and whenever. Have you ever… ■ wondered whose birthdays were coming up soon? ■ had a hare-brained idea you didn't know what to do with? ■ wanted a place to capture and refer to the list of the speed keys you've been reading about in this document? ■ wanted to remember the great restaurant you ate at in Santiago? ■ needed to remember all the things to check before you leave on a trip? ■ read something inspirational you wanted to keep and re-read every once in a while? ■ wondered where to put a suggestion about something to do the next time you visited a country? ■ needed to remember everything you need to handle when you put on a special kind of event? ■ wanted to keep track of all the articles or essays you might want to write? ■ wanted to have a list of clients and prospects to review occasionally? ■ wanted a place to keep track of the possible gifts to give special people in your life? ■ needed all the travel data for a trip in one place? All easily managed in Outlook Notes. so you have access to all that information.

5. and insert it as a Note for ready reference. on the Web. Using that in conjunction with Notes provides a tremendous productivity boost.can be instantly accessible to you ubiquitously. For instance. copy it (<Ctrl> c). select it (<Ctrl> a). in an internal document you see .com . and instantly that list is available on your PDA. Watch for the opportunities.in e-mails. All in a few seconds. and save it. you could go to our Web site. categorize the Note in "Checklists". Hit your "synchronize" button. create a new Note in Outlook (<Ctrl-Shift> n). Not that you necessarily want David's checklist…! But anything like that . edit and add your own triggers. paste it (<Ctrl> v). Useful Lists page 32 Cutting and pasting One of the great advantages of your digital world of information is how easily you can grab potentially useful bits of data from one place and park it in another. find David Allen's personal "travel checklist".davidco. We'd highly recommend that you copy our Weekly Review checklist. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www.

6 Contacts Get control of your new inputs Tips about page 33 The Contact manager in Outlook provides straightforward functionality. It doesn't seem important enough to go through the drill of inputting it into the system.com). 96-102 in Getting Things Done or the article "General Reference Filing" in Tips. you still have to make this decision. and some obviously to be tossed. What to do? A good solution is to utilize your reference system. fine. but you at least can find them easily if you wanted to. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. If you tend to collect business cards and not immediately input the ones you want to save into your system. and Tools on our Web site (www. see pp.davidco. take all the business cards you collected at the XYZ Conference and staple them to a piece of paper and file in an "XYZ Conference" file. Decide which contacts go into Outlook as soon as you pick up the note or business card from your in-basket or read the e-mail. from anywhere in Outlook.com . The <Tab> key moves you from field to field. For instance. <Ctrl-Shift> c creates a new Contact form. But many people have a problem here because they often collect contact information that sits somewhere in between. and literally file that not-so-important contact information into paper or digital folders. Get good at keying in new entries Many people stack up cards because they are at least subliminally intimidated by the labor required for entering data. Or just create a "Contact info . In your annual purge of your files. you can toss them all if they've become out of date. If you can delegate the process.archive" file or box and park them in there. But the people who always have the least problem with their contact manager are those who can enter data rapidly and easily into the system. but it still is not irrelevant enough to throw away. there are a couple of useful practices to be aware of. 9 A good general reference filing system is critical for personal management. dispatching the rest.davidco. For details on our suggested best practices. they typically become an unattractive and somewhat dysfunctional pile of cardboard that drains your energy. Though there is nothing particularly mysterious about it. Whether or not you have an assistant who can input into Outlook for you. There are two behaviors that alleviate this problem: 1. Some are obviously to be entered.9 2.

davidco. or anything else you creatively decide to code in their record. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. business potential. Find people by hobbies. Tips About Contacts page 34 Creative use of the Find feature A simple yet very powerful procedure within Contacts is using <Alt> i to find key words that you can embed in the notes attached to the people listed. if you know that a client of yours loves basketball.com . If you develop the habit of inserting such key words.6. you will have a very powerful but informal and easy-to-use relational database kind of functionality. interests. search for "basketball" in your Contacts and instantly see the four people to whom you might consider spreading the wealth. For instance. If you wind up with some good tickets to a hot basketball game. put the word "basketball" in their notes.

they often opt for continuing to manage two devices-their Blackberry for e-mail and a Palm for everything else. There are settings that sometimes need to be changed in the software to ensure that your categories map back and forth from Palm and Outlook.com . so your calls will all be together on the list.davidco. Currently. If you have problems. E.7 Miscellaneous If you are sold on only using the RIM pager… Workflow Processing page 35 Many are enthralled with the virtual e-mail capabilities of the Blackberry. Once people catch the value of discrete categories of their actions and projects. but it sorts them alphabetically. The best way we have seen to have the Blackberry synch to Outlook and still keep discrete categories is to apply the extra step of typing in some consistent cue to the category as the beginning word on the Subject line of your Tasks. Your PC must have two serial outputs to synch to both of them. which can be very useful. DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. check with your local IT support.g. They also don't want to carry a second PDA (like the Palm). If you are initially setting up synchronization to the Palm You must have third-party software to enable Outlook to synchronize to the Palm. the two most popular are Intellisynch and Pocket Mirror. or contact tech support for the software vendor. start all your calls with "Call…" The Blackberry will meld all your Tasks into one huge list. however.

We invite your comments.com Fax-805-646-7695 DAVID ALLEN COMPANY Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing Using Microsoft® Outlook ©David Allen Company 2002 www. contact us at: The David Allen Company 1674 McNell Road Ojai.8 Conclusion Workflow Processing page 36 We hope this instruction manual has been useful.com info@davidco.com . CA 93023 805-646-8432 www. and products. For more information about the David Allen Company services and tools.davidco. This material is intended as an adjunct to our core education of workflow mastery developed over many years-not a substitute. suggestions. individual coaching. and additions. Its successful utilization requires the awareness and utilization of the best-practice knowledge work behaviors that we present in our seminars.davidco.

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