Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
A few readers asked me to show some screens of my approach in Outlook. (I haven't used images in my blog before, so this is a good post to give it a shot.)
My Outlook FoldersHere's what I see when in my Outlook folders.
Notice how I cluster my scannable action folders (Outcomes, To Dos and Daily Status) and my reference folders (Notes, Quick Stuff and Thoughts.) The reference folders are my Collection Pools. The folders are physically stored in my local Outlook.PST folder I named "Admin." I then dragged the folders up to "Favorite Folders" since I use them daily.
Scannable OutcomesI use Posts in Outlook for my Scannable Outcomes. This is what I see when I click my Outcomes folder:
Each post represents a key project. In each post, I list the outcomes and actions (like a mini queue.) I can scan each post very quickly using the Outlook preview pane.
My To DosI use Posts in Outlook. Here's a shot of leveraging the pre-view pane for my To Dos. This is what I see when I click my To Dos folder.
Keys to Results
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Thanks for sharing your advice on effective organizational techniques. In a previous post called "Prioritizing Scannable Outcomes" you talk about a "Queue" folder and using category priorities (P0, P1, P2, P99) to sort outcomes by priority. I'm not seeing that in your screenshots nor is there any mention of that approach in this posting. I haven't gone through all your related posts in detail so perhaps I'm missing some history. Do you still organize/sort outcomes by priority?
Steve - good catch! I originally sorted the Outcomes list by p0, p1, p2, p99. While it was helpful, I found that switching to key buckets helps me more. For example, my p0 category is now Life Frame. I only have a few buckets (Administration, Life Frame, Personal Dev, Personal Projects and work Projects), and each bucket has a limited set of outcomes, so it's fast scanning. Both approaches work, but I like the "buckets at a glance." It reminds me that I have to balance across these categories and put time in each area to be at my best.
Actually, I realized that you can apply more than one category to a post/outcome. Therefore, in addition to using descriptive buckets (e.g. Administration), I've also created priority category names that start with an underscore so they appear at the top of the sort order grouped together ahead of the descriptive category buckets (e.g. _P0, _P1, _P2, _P99). Now I apply both a priority category and a descriptive category to an outcome and I can drill down by either priority or description.