Zero Inbox Without Hassle

3 min.

Summary

Often an ardent wish of most of the colleagues I know does not succeed. Many approaches lead to endless long to-do lists or parked mails in your inbox. With approaches like Getting-Things-Done (GTD) and other approaches, which are also applied to mail handling, additional software or other compromises are often involved. I have to say, I have my inboxes quite well under control and not the other way around. Some time ago I came across an approach by Luise Freese, which is very good but not completely suitable for my and probably many other colleagues. I need subfolders for my projects and don’t want to do several steps per mail. Therefore my suggestion is slightly modified and in my opinion simplified.

Objective of Zero Inbox

No mails in the inbox, grouping of tasks by context and the ability to find all mail immediately. Especially with the latter Outlook often plays tricks on me because the “Machine Learning” search results are not always correctly prioritized / sorted. Another reason why I still create folders in the project folder in Outlook.

Preperation

Create a _ReadMe and _ToDo folder below the inbox. The underscore is helpful, because then these folders are always on top, directly below the inbox. These folders can also be placed under “Favorites” (right-click, show in favorites).

Create categories in Outlook like @Phone @StandUpMeeting @Waiting.

Outlook-Categories

Next, expand the ribbon bar in Outlook:

Expand Ribbon Bar

Then we create so-called QuickSteps:

Set Up Quick Step

An example of one of the specified quicksteps:

Quick Step – Standup Meeting

In detail it is set as follows:

Quick Step StandUp Meeting Setting 1st Part.
Quick Step StandUp Meeting Setting 2nd Part.

The short text of the “standard reply mail” can be entered as follows:
“Hi, I would like to discuss / close this item in the next stand up meeting instead of having a further mail exchange.”

Another Quickstep can look like this:

Quick Step – To Do Next Week

with the “default mail text”: “Hello, Busy times these days. Just wanted to let you know that I already set a reminder for end of this week and will get back to you by then. If it is more urgent please chat with me on MS Teams.”

And then a Quickstep for completed tasks:

Quick Step – Closed Activities (Clear)

Finally, the following Quicksteps should be created in a modified form:

@Stand Up, @Wait, @Phone, News, Read, Do Today, Do Tomorrow, Do This Week, Do Next Week und Clear bzw. Close.

Have fun using it.

Barcamps without frustration

2 min.

Summary

If I was dissatisfied with Barcamps in the past, it was mostly because the session planning did not lead to full transparency for me. So I went to different sessions, which were a surprise for me regarding the format. I think it is important that it is very transparent for all participants, which format and which session has been planned. Sometimes the format develops differently during the session – that’s the great thing about barcamps – but the type of session makes it more secure to choose the “right” session.

How to make the session format transparent for everyone

That is why face2face barcamps should show these session types (and more) on every session card with abbreviations or even on a prepared card with checkbox option.

In the virtual barcamp this categorization should also be selectable on the virtual session card. For the 4th Barcamp “F├╝hrung im Projekt” 2020 this is how it will be:

Session-Card

with following categories:

  • Workshop = max. 10-minute presentation and subsequent joint elaboration, e.g. on the electronic Microsoft whiteboard or another jointly available electronic document stored in the Team SharePoint.
  • Problem definition = collegial consultation. I have a situation that I would like to reflect on and would like to receive input.
  • Impulse presentation = maximum 15 minutes of impulse presentation and then discussion.
  • Serious Game = Exercise / learning game with the aim of providing information and education. An authentic and credible, but also entertaining learning experience is the focus of interest.

The participants for the virtual Barcamp “Guided tour in the project” will use an online form before the Barcamp and also at the beginning of the Barcamp before the planning of the session to submit their session suggestions, which are then already categorized accordingly.
To ensure the documentation of the sessions, the integration of external tools (e.g. additional electronic whiteboards besides MS Whiteboard in the session) is not desired and not allowed due to data protection reasons.


Have fun at the next barcamp and choose the right sessions!