Make way for monster jealousy

May 31, 2009 :: 2:28 PM

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michael, scott and peter :: r.e.m. @ great woods, mansfield, ma :: june 13, 2008

(Sorry for the older pix.  I’m doing my semi-annual hard drive clean up and found some oldies but goodies I’d forgotten about.  Eventually, I’ll get around to more recent pix.  Also, I refuse to call Great Woods by whatever name it’s known by now.  I’m old skool like that.)

I’ve been told that IBM has been very interested in my experiences with their Lotus Notes software. (Mostly because I’ve been so vocal. Me vocal? NEVER!)  I feel they have good reason as I appear to be the poster child of the new wave of potential customers - the singe license user, only interested in their product because of eProductivity.  I’ve been struggling with making the software do what I need it to do at home only to find out that it isn’t built for that unlike Outlook (or Entourage - the Mac version).  So, I’m at an impasse with using Lotus Notes and, by extension, my new favorite piece of software, eProductivity, at home.  I will continue to use the software at work because I love it so much.  (That’s where the title of this entry comes from - I’m so jealous that the software work does exactly what I need it to, beyond perfectly, at work, but not home. It’s so not fair! *whines and stomps like a five year old*)

I work as the office manager for a small family owned construction company.  My main bosses, Mom & Dad, are what I lovingly call “Crazy Makers” or “ADHD 1 & 2”.  I tend to be a Captain and Commander, although I feel that I am very far from being a black belt.  One day, I aspire to stay in the GTD mode for longer than a few months at a time. I tend to fade in and out of the system… of course, I tend to fall of the wagon when I most need the structure and discipline.  I think most of us do - it’s a part of human nature to give in to the chaos instead of trying to control it.  Chaos, to me, never feels like a manageable project.  There’s just too much fire fighting and running around like a chicken with its head cut off to find the structure and achieve that mind like water state.

Once I started this job, and was experiencing too many of those chaotic moments, I started to struggle with my system.  New jobs are bad enough, but new jobs with GTD as an integral part of the transition hadn’t been that problematic.  Inputs—> Inbox—> Process—>Happy Tam + *happy dance*.  It had been a pretty simple, pretty streamlined, pretty productive process.  I discovered quickly that if my life was simple, I could almost trust Outlook.  I never trusted it 100% but just enough so that I didn’t think about it too much.  Then, I took this job.  Everything I hadn’t liked about Outlook came flying to the surface once the chaos started- It seemed like too much work to get it into a state where I could truly feel that was a trusted system. As such, I really resisted trusting my lives (home and work) to it.  I stopped trusting my lists.  I started dropping the ball. I was a wreck.  I am NOT that employee and it was really starting to tick me off. 

Since I’ve begun using eProductivity at work, I’ve been really succeeding at keeping my mind like slightly ripply water.  It’s a huge step forward from the state I was in when I started there. (Think of tsunami/hurricane level waves - completely destructive.)  It’s important to me to have my calendar, contacts, and email all in one place as I feel that using different applications goes against the whole principle of stress-free productivity.  Lotus Notes does all that - as long as you only have one email address - which makes it the perfect Outlook replacement at work. Add the eProductivity piece and I am beyond productive. Even kinda, sorta, in those nasty chaotic periods. EVERYTHING goes into eProductivity at some point during my day and gets processed by the end of the week, if not that day. 

The funny thing is, I don’t do a true Weekly Review.  This kind of amuses me, because the Weekly Review Coach piece was one of my top reasons to use eProductivity.  I do what sort of amounts to a daily review as I move page by page through the myriad of notes I can produce during the course of a day. A normal conversation with Dad can cover 10 topics in about 2 minutes.  I’ve learned to adapt by keeping a HUGE stack of scrap paper close by and writing each unique thought on its own piece of paper, dated, timed and notated as to what job it belongs to. Never more than 1 thought on a sheet.  In one exhausting 45 minute phone call, I generated over 100 pieces of information. My paper inbox can go from zero to overflowing in the time it took you to read that last sentence.  It can get ugly and it’s gotten much worse now that they’re back from Florida and in the office more. (I work for snowbirds - ADHD snowbirds. It makes life interesting.) 

I trust eProductivity so much, it’s kind of disgusting.  I want to scream from the rooftops: “USING ePRODUCTIVITY KEEPS ME SANE. ZOMG! I LURVE IT SO MUCH!  I WANT TO MARRY ePRODUCTIVITY!!!!!111111”

As I said yesterday,  “I’m an emotional, cheese sandwich type blogger - you’re never going to find anything more than my take of the issue du jour.”  You’ll never really see an in-depth entry here about how I use the software because that’s just not my style… but I can tell you that I live in the “projects and actions” view.  I like to see my complete inventory and pick and choose what I do.  Most of the time it’s based on perceived time to complete and energy level because my bosses have the tendency to completely exhaust me.  I do spend a lot of my time on two minute next actions - like I’m supposed to, but I don’t really do it consciously. It’s based on the fact that it’s just easier to do them.  I tend not to do them when I process my inbox, choosing instead to wait until the time is right.  Then I kind of group them into contexts: process invoices, send faxes, respond to emails, etc.

However, I’ve never really been good with contexts.  My main issue tends to be that I hate phone calls.  I get so resistant to my “@calls” list that I won’t make them.  Instead, I choose to view them as 2 minute next actions that I process IMMEDIATELY.  As in, “OK, I’ll call Joe Client once we’re done here.” I write the note and instead of putting it in my inbox, I place it on the phone.  Then, once the conversation is done, I make the call.  In the case of multiple calls, I do have an “@calls” context list (or a rather large stack of notes that serves the same function), but because it’s not a LIST there’s no resistance. (Anyone out there want to take a whack at the mental process behind that? I’m curious to hear why that works…) 

At any rate, no matter how far from being “true” GTD my system is, I completely trust eProductivity at work. Sometimes, things just click and do exactly what they’re supposed to. 

Now, if we can just figure out how to get Lotus Notes to work like Outlook (multiple email address support), I’ll be beyond happy.  I’ll also take a version of eProductivity for Outlook / Entourage if that would be possible…either way, I just want to use eProductivity at home, and I can’t right now.  Hey, a girl can dream! *grin*


A public apology

May 30, 2009 :: 11:18 AM

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joe pereira :: icebreaker tourney, agganis arena, boston, ma :: october 11, 2009

I’m not normally one to go back and edit entries.  I’ve always held to the fact that what shows up here is what’s in my head when I sit down to write the entry. It may not always be right, and it may not always be fair, but it’s how I feel at that moment.  I’m an emotional, cheese sandwich type blogger - you’re never going to find anything more than my take of the issue du jour.


That said, I aired a major insecurity of mine and called someone something I shouldn’t have.  First impressions and all that—and I know that’s a terribly lame defense, but it’s what I’ve got. I still don’t know them as a person and I still feel threatened by them, but that’s my own issue.  And it’s not something that should be dealt with here. That’s definitely an internal conversation to be held offline, in my Moleskine, and it is something I will be working on since I don’t see them leaving my social circle anytime soon.

Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

(For those whose Latin is rusty, the translation is: My fault. My fault. My most grievous fault.  Unfortunately (?), I haven’t forgotten ANY of my high school Latin… I’m sure that it’s taking up brain space I need for something much more important (like BU hockey stats), but I feel that the language is beautiful and difficult and I love a good challenge.  But I digress.)

So, for what it’s worth, and I know it’s probably worth nothing, I’m sorry.

REALLY SORRY.


Hi, Connecticut! How’s the wife and kids?

May 29, 2009 :: 12:22 PM

A little traveling music as I gear up to head to Instrument’s CD release show in Danbury, CT.  (Tonight, Hot Topic, 7PM, Danbury Fair Mall.  Come on out and play with me, CT peeps!) Or just buy their EP from CD Baby!!!

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again,
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world be turnin’ our way
And our way
Is on the road again

Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world be turnin’ our way
And our way
Is on the road again

Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

—“On the road again” (Willie Nelson)


So much for that…

May 23, 2009 :: 1:16 PM

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my family :: snhu graduation, manchester, nh :: may 16, 2009

After investing too many hours, and enlisting help from teh interweb, my attempts to get the Lotus Notes / eProductivity combo rocking at home on my Mac has come to a completely unsatisfying end.

It’s not going to happen for me. Period. End of discussion.

Apparently, I’m asking too much from the software.

What I wanted was something I’d already been able to do back when I was using Entourage—have my contacts, calendar, tasks, and several email addresses all in the same place. I didn’t think it would be near impossible for Notes to pull in the several email addresses. It was the one thing from keeping me from migrating to Notes.  No matter how many tries, no matter how many screen grab filled tutorials I received, I just couldn’t get it done.  Then I found out why.

From an email I received from one of my helpers:
1. POP3 mail in Notes will deliver to a single Inbox unless multiple locations (profiles) are setup.
2. Mail rules will not work locally without some workaround.
3. Notes does not know about multiple senders.

The steps recommended to resolve these issues sound just as labor-intensive as my old iCal / OmniFocus / Apple Mail combo.  If I wanted that level of inefficiency, I’d have stayed with that and never looked for something more streamlined. The problem I have with a lot of the GTD software is that it’s all focused on task lists and sorting them into the appropriate contexts.  That’s awesome IF your life is only your task lists.  I love eProductivity because it isn’t a Microsoft program, and contains my contacts, calendar, tasks and Horizons of Focus in one place. Yes, I can hack OF to do the Horizons of Focus, but I’d have to keep everything else separate like they currently are.  This is ridiculous and unacceptable.

GTD is supposed to get rid of the “drag” and help you become more efficient / more productive.  You can’t do that if your system is slowing you down. 

I guess I shouldn’t trash OmniFocus - it’s not OmniGroup’s fault that it’s not as well integrated as I’d like it to be.  It wasn’t built for that and I knew that going in.  When I was using OmniFocus, I was in the process of earning my second undergrad.  It kept me focused, it kept me organized and it kept me productive. Not an easy feat when you’re taking classes, working a full time job and trying to have a life outside of work and school.  I completely credit the OmniFocus / GTD combo for my graduating with a 3.84.  I never expected to do that well, and it brought tears to my eyes when I heard, “Tamara Nelson, Summa Cum Laude” announced at Graduation. I was awarded a Gold Key and I was also initiated into the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society… that’s not too bad when you think about how hard those things are to accomplish when you’re NOT working a full time job.

I can’t tell you how much it upsets me that I can’t use eProductivity at home, but I CAN and WILL continue using it at work.  It’s the best software combo out there if you’re serious about using a hi-fi GTD system and have ONE email address you work with.  In the meantime, I’m just going to continue to flounder at home as I try to find a system that works for me in terms of how my home life has changed since I finished school.

*sigh*

 


The universe is much smarter than I am.

May 17, 2009 :: 2:18 PM

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apache :: da ‘brook :: april 23, 2009

About 20 years ago, I made friends with this boy.  And then I fell deeply, deeply, in love with him.

My dad loved him like a son and always thought we’d marry each other.  The word ‘soulmates’ had been tossed around more than once by Dad and he never understood why we never dated.  As dad put it, we had a lot to teach each other.

Well, we never did date, but he broke my heart to the point where I could never quite get it back together correctly. I instigated the heart break when I (rather viciously) threw him out of my life.  In retrospect, I know I overreacted in the worst possible way, but what was done was done.  It was, sadly, the proper reaction given how he had betrayed my trust and my state of mind at that particular time. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him again.  If I’d want to see him again or vice versa.  I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I thought I lost him forever and I would google for him from time to time.  I never had any luck finding him and every failure hurt just as much as saying goodbye on that terrible, terrible day. I relived that pain, once a month, for eleven years. Like clockwork.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am incapable of loving someone, anyone, like I love him. Not even my own husband.  It’s hard to describe the power / intensity of our friendship.  I’m sure some of you will understand, but I’m sure there are some of you sitting there, scratching your heads and thinking it’s some kind of disloyalty to my husband.  I didn’t “settle” for my husband in any way, shape, or form, but I can’t help that he doesn’t have whatever it is that I have with The Boy.  We don’t all marry our soulmates - life isn’t that perfect.

Imagine my surprise when I logged into Facebook a few days ago and saw him as a “suggestion”.

I reached out to him, and during several intense phone calls over the course of one day, I was made whole again. It culminated in this text message:

It’s good to have you back… you’ve been terribly missed.

I can’t explain how good it feels to have him back.

I know we still have much to learn from each other and I’m glad we get to pick up where we left off…

 

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