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Old 04-04-2009, 06:37 PM
lazlo24 lazlo24 is online now
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Join Date: 12-10-2006
Posts: 23
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. (

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.


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