@Office: GTD At Work

I’m fortunate enough to be able to use a Mac at work, but that doesn’t free me from the requirements of Windows/Office/Exchange interoperability. That’s why when it comes to email I use Entourage. Mail.app doesn’t seem to work with the Exchange server, and I’m not even going to try using iCal with it yet. I suppose that means Entourage wins by default.

Still, Entourage has some redeeming qualities – notably Project Center. While Outlook users meticulously create folders for every single project they may have, Entourage lets users tag emails as part of a project (or even an email as belonging to multiple projects). This means no searching for that email where a project integrator summed up tasks – I already assigned it to the project.

But how do you implement GTD in Entourage?

What works for me is a version of the (very excellent) Un-Kinking Entourage at inik.net. Basically, put your contexts and processes in as Entourage categories. Then create views for your tasks (the MS term for smart folders) to filter them.

For instance, I have a category called @phone to indicate tasks that require a call. But since I can assign more than one category to a task, I’ve also created categories such as =Waiting For, =Defer, =Delegate and =Someday/Maybe. Those of you familiar with GTD know what these are for.

In my tasks pane I’ve created views for all of these plus another view called Next Action. This holds all the tasks that aren’t assigned GTD categories. They’re tasks I can get done now. As more information comes in regarding other tasks I can simply assign and unassign the previous categories.

For more information I heavily recommend Un-Kinking Entourage. Nik has detailed a very good process of GTD implementation with Quicksilver and Applescript. I know that the David Allen Company also has a PDF about using GTD and Entourage, but not having used it I can’t comment much on it.