I’ve been using Agenda as a lightweight CMS for a while. I’ve tried other solutions but none really work for me: I don’t want another application or service to deal with, and my needs for a CMS fluctuate wildly depending on what big projects I’m working on, I don’t have a fixed pipeline, it’s more a question of keeping track of potentially useful conversations.
Now I’ve been doing this for a while (6 months? A year?), it’s a bit messy and I’m wondering how I could develop my work flow.
Essentially my system is:
- when prospecting I create a dated note for each meeting/call with a person, placed in a Project called People.
- In the note I include the name in the format @FirstLast, and tags like #prospect #journalist along with notes about the meeting, and any follow up actions.
- when I have follow up meetings, I create a new dated note for each meeting. Each time I include the person tag, though generally not the other tags unless their status changes or I learn more about them that’s relevant.
- if the conversation develops into a potential piece of work or collaboration, I create a new Project in a Category “prospective projects”. I’ll move relevant meeting notes out of People into this new Project. In due course this may turn into a piece of paid work and the Project moved to the category “active projects”.
At the same time I’ll be having meetings etc with other contacts and collaborators relating to a variety of existing projects. In all cases I use the person tag for every person mentioned in any note. (Subject to remembering complex spelling - tag browser please!)
Also, if I’m at a networking event etc, I create a note for the event and include tags for everyone I’ve spoken with)
This all means I can:
- search on a person tag to see all interactions
- keep an eye on related notes to see unexpected connections
- search on #lead etc to look for opportunities to follow up
There’s a couple of areas where this system is weak and I’d appreciate suggestions:
I may end up the a number a notes relating to one person, because I want a dated note for each meeting. But their status, lead, prospect etc, may change. This means a search on those tags will throw up out of date results. I could go back through old notes and edit the tags, or I could create a ‘master note’ for each person and keep that up to date. But both involve extra steps that I’m likely to let slip.
Also, I don’t have a consistent system for keeping in touch with contacts I want to maintain a relationship with. (Where I’m exploring something with a prospect it’s fine, I use tags #priority, #soon or specific due dates). But for keeping in touch with leads that may come alive again after a while, I can’t settle on a system that seems right.
I could use a specific due date /due(6 months). But I’d really like to be able to batch these follow ups when they come due. IE I don’t want them trickling onto my to do list every few days. I’d rather have a batch of follow ups to process so I can see plan a morning or whatever working on these.
I imagine a Boolean search on tags could help, but we don’t have that yet.
One way might be to only set due dates for this type of follow up on dates that are multiples of, say ten: due(10 Jan) or due(20 feb). This would create batches. This idea has only just come to me as I write this! I rather like it! Any other suggestions?