Recently as part of my organizing drive to Get Things Done (GTD) I came across an outlook plug-in by Clear Context called IMS Pro that has increased my productivity with little effort. A few simple buttons can make anyone more productive.
Organizing Your Mailbox
The first purpose of IMS Pro seems to be to organize your mailbox, putting higher priorities first. This works great for people who have a large number of messages in their inbox- but for a GTD advocate who empties his inbox, it had little advantage. The software also adds some views to inboxes that also has little effect for me as I customize the display to suit my needs but for those who don’t want to tinker with outlook setting it can be a simple way to organize yourself.
Follow up and other task tools
For me the additional button bars itself makes the software worth it. There are buttons for following up, which automatically creates a follow up task when you are creating an email. It has button called tasks that works similarly for messages that you receive and want to quickly turn into a task. There are additional Defer and Delegate which GTD advocates will know about but basically allows you to quickly turn your email box into trackable task easily.
One of my favorite features is “related view”. You can click this button on a message or a task and it will find you the full flow of this task with all related conversations and todos a real time saver.
Some points of improvement
IMS Pro has many advantages but it’s not perfect. When following up it should give the ability change the task title after the message is sent and/or add the person’s name in the subject. This would tasks clearer than just the word “followup” which appears now.
IMS Pro should also offer better conversation management. Ideally it should track trashed and other conversations and new messages would be able to be dragged into an existing conversation.
Another big improvement would be the ability to tag a mail item or task with multiple topics (like gmail labels) this will enable full flexible access of emails.
Just Get It
Overall IMS Pro will help you become more productive starting today. With future version hopefully they will hopefully add features to make this an all encompassing email productivity tool. There is a 30-day trial, so test it out. Clear Context also offers a free “personal” version also which may have all the functionality you need- but that wouldn’t include the most of the really cool features