productivity tools from MS and Google

I’ve been enjoying all the benefits of having Outlook as my primary work email and calendar tool for the past year. After three years of dealing with the disaster that is Novell GroupWise, it’s lovely to finally have a tool that does what I need it to do.

However, for my personal stuff, I am a big fan of Gmail and other Google tools, so I was a little sad to give up my Google Calendar, among other things. All that has changed in the past week now that I’ve discovered the GCal/Outlook syncing program. Right now, I have it only going from Outlook to GCal, but that may change in the future.

Another awesome tool that I’ve implemented this week is the Google Calendar gadget available from Google Labs. This puts my upcoming appointments in the sidebar of Gmail, and pings little reminders if I have Gmail open. Outlook takes care of this at work, and I’m loving having this functionality in my my non-work hours without having to maintain two separate calendars.

The other Google Labs gadget that is made a surprising impact on my productivity and organization is the Remember The Milk task management tool. I’ve been using RTM to keep track of my review assignments, but I hadn’t found a need for it for other to-do things since I use the Tasks feature of Outlook for work stuff. However, when my emails to personal address with things I needed to remember to do began to pile up and clutter my inbox, I decided it was time to implement a real to-do list. With the Gmail integration, it’s now all in one place, just like with my work stuff in Outlook.

5 thoughts on “productivity tools from MS and Google”

  1. I like Remember the Milk, but my life isn’t complicated enough for me to actually need it. I recommend it to other people who actually have grown-up lives with things to do and stuff.

  2. The new Outlook 2007 is a serious system resource hog, in my experience, and I have problems running it comfortably alongside my development tools at work (Visual Studio 2008, primarily).

    In that respect, I’ve found that the Exchange 2008 Web Mail is a good alternative, but only if run under Internet Explorer 7 — note that the interface and capability differences between the web and the desktop client are minor.

    Of course, the Web Mail is running native in your web browser; and, naturally, that comes with its own potential down sides, though I’ve found the resource consumption is much lower overall.

    Now, all of this may be a moot concern for you if your employer has supplied you with the latest and greatest in recent computing technology.

    In full honesty, my work system leaves a lot to be desired, so that’s certainly had an impact on my impressions of the newer Outlook software. Users will more powerful PC equipment will absolutely hold Outlook in higher regard.

    I do appreciate the idea behind Outlook, only I wish it would be packaged into a more nimble and compact desktop software.

  3. My work computer is a one year old Lenovo laptop with Windows XP. I’m guessing that it came with sufficient storage and memory to handle any of the MS Office products. Regardless, I haven’t had any trouble with Outlook being a resource hog, and I haven’t notice my system being slow even with Outlook, Firefox, Excel, Access, and a several other programs running at the same time.

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