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  #1  
Old 04-04-2009, 05:37 PM
lazlo24 lazlo24 is online now
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URD example usage - (Still love this program)

Just over two years ago my professional life started to crumble.

At the time my job was Technical Manager for a Microsoft gold partner. I ran the department and was responsible for P&L as well as sales, design and project management. The work load was massive and I started to crack under the load. I knew there had to be a better way to manage the shear volume of emails, data, not drop balls, capture all of the details and not get caught up in the busy trap.

My quest commenced and I went through about 4 organisational programs/strategies to eventually settle on GTD as the best of breed. It was the only thing that did not blow up under extreme load. (www.davidco.com)

The next challenge was to find a digital organiser for all of the loose pieces of digital data plus to-dos, addresses, tasks, projects and all of the tiny details that keep the wheels on projects. 13 programs later I stumble across URD. Wow. I tried it, hit the 1000 item limit within a week and just paid my cash. Kinook. Total value software!!!! Two years later I cannot understand how people working in the knowledge work arena ( Thank you Peter Drucker) can cope without a solid organisational system and brilliant software.

The combination of that system and this program is beyond my understanding as I constantly find better ways to do and organise information. I live the system so I don't see it most of the time but from time to time I will switch into looking at how I have deployed URD and GTD and tweak it another notch. Some tweaks work, some I remove but that is the beauty of this program. The support from the forums and Kinook is always great.

One of the classic busy traps is living and responding to email. It is very easy to slip into just using Outlook as your to do list and losing the bigger picture. What's in my inbox? Oh, I will deal with that. Projects will die and goals will be lost. I took the GTD to the next level and wow what a difference URD made to my productivity. Let me explain...

My Outlook inbox is now empty. I empty it every hour then close Outlook to stop the distraction of new items. New items are fun but they tend to distract from the real work. Emails that take less than two minutes I answer straight away and then delete them. Simple. (People are surprised when they find I do not file email. I use XOBNI [google it] for Outlook searching). If there is a follow up task, like I am waiting for a response, I drag A COPY of the email into URD and flag it for when I need the response by. People are amazed that I never drop email threads with this simple trick. If the email is important, I drag A COPY (I don't like linked files as I live in URD and like the total portability of having ALL of my live information with me regardless of machine.) into URD and file it as required. If the email will take longer than two minutes to respond to, I drag a copy into URD into an appropriate project, create a task to match and set expected response priority or date/time to it. No more busy trap. Each email is planned. Anal you might say. Maybe, but I guarantee that my focus is where it should be, and my productivity is high. Yes, I might block out and 30 to 60 minutes and hit a stack of longer emails but that still is a choice rather than a forced reaction.

Another recent addition to my tool kit is a folder with all of the key people I deal with in it created as contacts. When I have a task that is dependent on someone, CONTROL SHIFT a link to the task. This way when that person is in front of me and I click them, I can knock off a stack of items rather than just the one in my mind. The great thing about this method is the task still lives in the project folder in context but is viewable at a person level.

URD also allows for the wondrous GTD weekly review. It holds my weekly review checklists and allows me to check on everything and not drop any balls or miss any details.

For newbies to URD I recommend thinking it as a digital repository for your brain. All of the little details that you donít want to forget but you donít want the effort to remember, dump them into URD. This way you can see all of the details and make informed decisions on the data without the mental strain of holding them in your mind. Your brain can be then used to think about things, not of them. When filing something into URD donít think about where you want to put it, think about where in the tree you would expect to find it when you try to find it later (after you have forgotten where you put it) and create that logical tree. That sentence does make sense and the filing tree does not have to mean anything to anyone else but you, so there is no wrong way to do things as long as it works for you. If you can find the information you need in a few mouse clicks each time, you have a system that works and that is all that matters.

One last thing is backup your data. My URD file is the named YYYYMMDD.URD. Every now and then I re-save it with today date. URD open the last opened file so this system works well as it gives me a history of archives.

Summary
GTD + URD + XOBNI

Enjoy
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:33 AM
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quant quant is online now
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lazlo24,

what do you do with Outlook Calendar?
I have to use it in my work for scheduling meetings etc, and it's a pain to keep it in sync with UR as meetings are canceled/rescheduled, I have to accept it again, update in the UR etc ...

Thanks
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:43 AM
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quant quant is online now
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Re: URD example usage - (Still love this program)

Quote:
Originally posted by lazlo24
One last thing is backup your data. My URD file is the named YYYYMMDD.URD. Every now and then I re-save it with today date. URD open the last opened file so this system works well as it gives me a history of archives.
every manual backup is bound to fail ... sooner or later. Just note your "Every now and then"

I suggest to use some software for that task, set it once and forget it ...
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:20 AM
lazlo24 lazlo24 is online now
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Calendar work

I follow a very strict GTD regime with my Calendar.

Nothing goes on my calendar unless it is something that will die unless I attend to it. This means meetings and critical time line items such as blocking out a chunk of time to deliver a critical document, or similar.

I do not sync URD to Outlook calendar or Outlook Contacts. Outlook does a great job with Calendars and contacts. I always look at the bests tools for the job rather than being a die hard fan of something.

I live in Outlook Calendar and sync that to my Google mail account (and ultimately my Google Phone) so I am never without my calendar.

I also keep all of my contacts in Outlook as well and sync them to Googlemail, I always have them on my Google phone. The contacts I made reference to in URD in my original post are just placeholder name tags for task assignments. If I want actual details of someone, I have them in Outlook or on my phone.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:52 AM
$bill $bill is online now
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I deviate from the GTD recommended use of the calendar. I dislike Tasks/Next Action items in my calendar so with UR- I set a Due Date which I use as a search criteria for what appears in my Next Action list. I don't forget it and don't have to look at it until the right time.

I am also stuck with Outlook but mostly as a bridge to other program/devices.
Calendar- I use gCal sync with Outlook, sync to iPhone.

Email - I use gmail and sync to Outlook so I can link to UR.

Contacts- UR sync to Outlook for sync to iPhone. I need a better solution to sync contacts with google contacts. Export/import via cvs file has been bumpy...I can't seem to get attributes to field name mapping exactly to meet googles (perhaps changing) specs. Last I looked it wasn't documented and all I found were similar complaints. Any suggestions?

GTD Task/project management/reference all done in UR and setup similarly to the GTD sample that comes with UR.

Backup- SyncbackSE for versioning, automatic/manual backup and to sync with my notebook. I also use syncback with Jungledisk to backup offsite on Amazon's S3 servers.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:38 AM
lazlo24 lazlo24 is online now
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URD example usage - Follow on

I don't see how NOT putting tasks into your calendar is a deviation from GTD.
GTD recommends that you DO NOT put soft landscape (tasks) in your calendar as it should be reserved for only unmovable items such as meeting and critical time blocks. I think we are on the same page here.

As for syncing Outlook to Google mail, there is free software available to do this and it works great. It is a bit CPU hungry (hitting outlook hard) when it runs but it works perfectly and I rely on it to keep my Google calendar and Contacts up to date.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2009, 10:11 AM
$bill $bill is online now
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Re: URD example usage - Follow on

Quote:
Originally posted by lazlo24
I don't see how NOT putting tasks into your calendar is a deviation from GTD.

As for syncing Outlook to Google mail, there is free software available to do this and it works great. It is a bit CPU hungry (hitting outlook hard) when it runs but it works perfectly and I rely on it to keep my Google calendar and Contacts up to date.
I didn't mean to be critical but to point out a feature of UR that for me is nicer than the Allen's recomendation in Making It All Work - "The calendar is the best place for three things--appointments, day-specific things to do, and information I need or want to be aware of on that day." I use gCal for the appointments and UR for the other two.

I am using the Google provided utility to sync Outlook with gmail and it doesn't sync contacts. Even exporting contacts from google to get their headers and reimporting the edited file doesn't reliably populate the correct fields. What software are you using to sync the contacts?

I was Outlook-free for a while but getting an Iphone forced me back to using Outlook to glue everything together....
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:51 PM
martym martym is online now
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Lazlo24,
Can you post a sample of what your URD looks like? One of the best ways I learn about what is possible with UR is to see how someone else has tweeked it.
I need a way to crawl out from my massive email and project load and any samples the you OR ANYONE OUT IN FORUM LAND might be willing to share would be most appreciated. I
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