Setting Contexts

More on Mail Integration w/Actiontastic

Posted in Actiontastic, GTD, Mail Act-On, MailTags, Online Productivity by jquig99 on March 28, 2007

A little more about how I work with Mail.app and Actiontastic

Once I download my email I quickly go through and, using MailTags, quickly tag my email by Project and Keywords. I can then assign the email as a ToDo or an Event. If it’s a ToDo, I assign it to the @Inbox calendar (which syncs to iCal on the first Actiontastic sync).

MailTags - 2.0b8(Beta)

After I’ve tagged each email, I use Mail Act-On to sort them quickly into folders (using rules that I’ve set up) with 2 keystrokes each.

Mail Act-On

Once finished, I sync with Actiontastic, which puts anything that’s in the @Inbox calendar into the Inbox. The URL of each message is part of the message so that it can be recalled if needed.

For more information, click this link.

My GTD System (March 2007) – Daily Process

I decided that it was time that I actually put down my current GTD system, with all of the individual tools/applications that I’m currently using (on my MacBook Pro). This includes my daily, weekly and monthly routine. I labeled this with the current month because I am always tweaking my process and looking to test and apply better tools to help me be more productive.

Collection:
My primary tool for the collection process is a 12-month Daily 2007 Moleskine diary. I had used a general lined Moleskine notebook for the last year and wasn’t sure that the Diary would have enough room. What it has done is keep me focused in what I write – I don’t use it to keep my schedule, just my notes, thoughts and actions.

Everything is then put into Actiontastic. I’ve posted about this application before, and I have really adopted it as my GTD application of choice. As soon as I get to work, I open Actiontastic and put everything into the Inbox function from my Moleskine.

I use (mostly) Actiontastic’s integration with Quicksilver to get things into the Inbox. I’ll go into how I use Quicksilver (my favorite Mac app) in a separate post, but I use the Quicksilver=>Actiontastic Inbox throughout the day.

I then open Mail.app and using Mail Act-On, MailTags and an Applescript (“toiCalInbox” set up to run as part of my Mail Act-On rules) included with the Actiontastic download. In Mail.app I also have folders set up for review (@Action, @Hold, @Respond, @Wait On, @Someday). Once I sort things into my folders, I run my “toiCalInbox” script which sends actionable email to iCal, then I hit the sync button on Actiontastic which brings it all into the Inbox. Sounds like a long process – in actuality only a few minutes.
Inbox

Processing:
Once everything I need is in the Inbox – and while I do send things throughout the day, I only process first thing in the morning, after lunch and before I leave for the day (this is flexible as needed) – I hit the Process Inbox button (looks like a “Play” button). In Actiontastic I’ve set up my Projects and my Contexts (@calls, @emails, @errands, @mac, @meetings, @shopping, @waiting for, @web, @work) which also sync to iCal. Each item is processed to the appropriate Project and Context, which sets up the Next Actions and ToDos (as well as what’s Done). The new “Anti-Drawer” feature sets up the Start, Due dates (which also has a Paused flag), URL (messages, etc) and Notes.

Inbox processing

Once I’ve processed my Inbox (again – this happens in minutes!), I hit the sync button so that everything is brought back to iCal (each context is a separate calendar). Which is great to then sync to my Blackberry 7100g (via Mark/Space’s new Missing Sync for Blackberry). I’m then free to actually work without having to really focusing on process. As each item gets done, I can tick it off and then during my Inbox processing times throughout the day everything continues to sync so that it’s all up to date.

Projects

Contexts

I’m adding the screenshots that I’ve posted before to illustrate the process. In my next post, I’ll focus on my weekly and monthly review process and the different applications that I use for those purposes.

MailTags – 2.0b8(Beta)

Posted in Apple, GTD, Mail Act-On, MailTags, Software by jquig99 on March 9, 2007

I received this update on my VersionTracker feed about an hour ago. MailTags (by Indev) works with Apple’s Mail.app to add metadata (comments, due dates, projects and priority) to messages for classification and easy searching (with Mail’s built in Search or your Mac’s Spotlight). I’ve been using MailTags in conjunction with Indev’s Mail Act-On (which builds Mail rules sorting through simple keystrokes) for about a year and it really has changed the way I’m able to work throughout my day. In a typical day, I receive over 150 email. These 2 applications allow me to quickly sort through my Inbox in minutes, and get it back to zero.

New Features:
> IMAP tagging and indexing of IMAP messages
> Coordinate your metadata in your workgroup
> Create multiple iCal Events and To Dos

MailTags also plays nice with Actiontastic – which I will illustrate with some screenshots later today.

MailTags will cost $29.95 once it’s officially released (During the beta – $25). Scott Morrison (the developer) is extremely responsive and works very quickly on updates and upgrades. I’ve been quite impressed in any email exchange I’ve had with him and I encourage anyone who uses this software to buy (or in Mail Act-On’s case – Donate!)