OCON and Tasks

 Posted by on 20 July 2007 at 11:03 am  Uncategorized
Jul 202007

I’m too overloaded with work to blog on OCON, but I did want to mention a very favorable news article about it by Jay Ambrose of the Scripps Howard News Service.

Then again, maybe I’m not so busy after all. I managed to delete the entirety of my very large and carefully constructed collection of tasks in Entourage while testing some other task management software, namely iGTD. I failed to turn off Enourage’s sync with iCal, so when iGTD deleted all my tasks in iCal instead of importing them in its attempted sync, I lost all my tasks in Entourage too. Lovely, no?

I wasn’t too worried though, since I had a recent backup. Or at least I thought I did. Much to my dismay, the relevant iCal and Entouage files were simply missing from my backup drive. (I’m not sure whether the backup program or the drive failed. A common parent folder was empty.) Perhaps worst of all, none of the task programs that I tested worked as well as Entourage. Daylite seemed quite good, but its inability to create recurring tasks makes it wholly unusable for me. I also liked iGTD (despite the disaster it created) except for its awkward and inadequate handling of recurring tasks. So I deleted all my tasks for nothing!

I’ll be able to reconstruct my tasks on Entourage from my old task list on Outlook reasonably well. That’s particularly helpful for tasks with significant dates and/or recurrence cycles, such as deworming the horses. (I’ve got tons of those kinds of tasks.) I’m not going to re-import them again, as that would involve just as much editing work as entering them manually.

So now I must simply hope that Microsoft fixes the few annoying elements of Entourage’s task management — such as the inability to edit due dates in the list view — with the forthcoming update of Office. Oddly enough, apart from a few such annoyances, Entourage (i.e. the Mac version of Outlook) does work better as a GTD tool than even Outlook 2007. It’s “Projects” feature is fabulous, not just for its integrated views of all the tasks, e-mail, contacts, files, and appointments associated given project, but also for its easy implementation of both “Project” and the “Action Context” labels for any given task. That takes some work (or the GTD add-on) to implement in Outlook (including 2007). Plus, Entourage doesn’t stick you with a space-hogging gaggle of useless undeletable views like Outlook does. Entourage also has five priority levels, rather than Outlook’s paltry three. That makes it possible for me to mark tasks as equivalent to “sometime in the next week or two” or “sometime next year, if not later” without arbitrarily setting some particular date. It’s quite handy.

Well, enough of that. I might have only ten tasks in Entourage right now, but one of them is my required daily hours on my dissertation! So back to work I go!

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