Monday, November 12, 2007

Narrowly escaping being stuck in my inbox

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned using OutTwit as a great way to simultaneously update status to both Twitter and Facebook from an application that's always open on my desk--Outlook.  But I saw danger coming as I started using it.  I should have mentioned the risks involved to you....but didn't.

image Here's the risk: spending more time in the "mail view" of Outlook than is necessary (view at right).  Here's the problem: email is not my just contains some of my work.  My work is on my to-do list, or next action list.  Looking at this view all the time prevents me from looking at my list of next actions.

image The most productive way to use Outlook is for this to be your default view.  In this view my calendar is displayed on the left (the "hard landscape" for you GTDers) while my list of next actions is on the right.  With this view I always know what is going to happen next or what I should be doing next.  I've configured Outlook to open in this view when it starts.

For many years the first view, the mail view, was my default view.  It's counter-productive.  By adding OutTwit to my mix, I was regularly going back to, or staying in, the mail view to check out the latest tweets.  Bad idea.  I got rid of NewsGator Inbox, a great program, for the same reason.  I wrote about that here.  So rather than using Twitter in Outlook, I've been using Snitter, a small Adobe AIR desktop client.  Moving Twitter outside my workflow keeps me from being distracted.

I find that I regularly have examine my whole set-up pretty ruthlessly.  I have to clean the cruft out of my system to keep on moving.  Have you looked at your "work-flow" recently and eliminated (or moved, in my case) the distractions that slow you down?

1 comment:

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