Your ability to juggle many tasks will take you far

Today at lunch, I had Chinese food and received the following fortune cookie message: Your ability to juggle many tasks will take you far.fortunecookie I certainly realize that fortune cookies are meant to have nice platitudes that appeal to almost everyone who might receive it, but this particular fortune reminded me that if I am good at juggling tasks, it is only due to my use of Chaos Intellect (and Time & Chaos before that).

Task management is a popular thing now. Everyday I see another announcement for a new task tracking website or app for my phone.  I have tried many of them, mostly to look for good ideas, but I’ve yet to use one that I thought could top Intellect or Time & Chaos?  Why?

The tasks in Intellect and Time & Chaos only show you today’s list.  I don’t need to worry about tomorrow yet, so future ones are hidden until the day comes for them to appear.  I don’t need to worry about completed items. I know they are stored safely and can be found easily, but they don’t need to distract me from today, either.  Instead, our task list is an immediate reminder of just the things I need to worry about right now (or at least, before the end of the day).

As I work through my list from top to bottom, if I don’t plan to do the first thing on my list, I try to decide when I do plan to do it, and I drag it to the calendar on the left to reschedule it.  When the day comes, this item will popup on my list again, but for now, it is out of the way and no longer a distraction from what I am juggling for today.

When I finish an item, if appropriate, I add some notes about what I did, then I mark it as done to keep a record of it. (Over the phone, I hear people telling me that they delete items when they are done, but since our programs only show you current tasks and don’t make you fight through a long list of completed items, I think you should never delete but keep it, mark it done, and keep a record of what you’ve done and when.)

At the end of the day, if I rush out the door without completing each of my tasks, there is a “safety net” feature in our programs that will roll over unfinished items to the next day. That way, you are still juggling the task without forgetting about it and dropping the ball.  Incomplete items show up along with all the new items scheduled for the new day and I can start marching through them again the way I did yesterday.

I admit, sometimes I do procrastinate. (No one reading this blog would do that, right?).  One bonus tip I can offer is to right-click on the task column headings in Intellect 4 or Time & Chaos 8 and turn on the “date” column.  That way, if you do happen to procrastinate, you can easily see which items have been sliding for a few days and are past due.

If you haven’t been using the Tasks area of Intellect or Time & Chaos to their full potential, hopefully this has given you some good ideas and will bring you good fortune, too.

Bill

Checking out Alternatives to Legal Billing

I occasionally like to compare our Legal Billing software with other, similar products available.  For the last couple of days I’ve been testing out a specific close competitor to Legal Billing.  Wow, I am shocked. Maybe I picked the wrong to one compare but this one is nerve racking.  It caused my to slam down my mouse more than once.  I am not techie or developer but if a program is not simple to work with I can’t spend money on it.

Legal Billing v7 is by far easier, faster and does what I need it to do. This other one I had to read each level, click here nothing happens, clients don’t show up, too many buttons, confusing.  I am done with that one.  If you want 100 buttons on your program great.  I don’t, I want it to work simple and straight forward.  I feel our Legal Billing software eliminates all of the confusion.  It cuts out things I really would never use.  I can get straight to important billing records I need to track.

(FYI: Cost for our nearest competitor is $300.00 per user with only 1 year of free tech support. Legal Billing 7 is $39.95 per user with no charge for tech support.)

It is your choice but I love my Legal Billing.

Debbie

Merge Fields for Drag and Drop Text

One of the “hidden” features in Intellect and Time & Chaos is the ability to customize the drag and drop text when creating a new Appointment or Task from a Contact.

While using the Classic view for instance, you can drag a Contact’s name to the Appointment or Task area and a new record will be created.  The same holds true for dragging a Contact to the Calendar or Task navigation buttons at the lower left of the program or for dragging a Contact to the left hand calendars for creating an Appointment specifically.When you create an Appointment or Task through this drag and drop process, the description will be automatically filled with some text based on a setting in Options such as “Meeting With” or “Call” followed by the Contact’s name.

If you click on Options at the top of our software and then go to the Calendar or Task section, you can then modify the text that creates this description.  The cool hidden feature here is the ability to add merge fields to this text.  In both the Calendar and Task area of Options, the “Default Drop Text” can contain special merge fields.

These fields must be formatted properly to make sense to the program.  Each field is essentially given a corresponding number.  For instance, the Primary Address Line 1 field is field number 8.  So if you changed the default drop text for Appointments to:

Meeting at «8» with

The Appointment description would automatically fill in with something like:

Meeting at 123 Main Street with John Smith
Options Screen Showing Default Drop TextNOTE: The type of brackets used are important.  You can copy and paste the brackets from this article to use in your merge fields to make sure the correct brackets are used.For reference, the fields and their corresponding numbers (in brackets) are given below.  Keep in mind, the Contact’s name is included automatically after the drop text.  If copying and pasting using the following information, you would only need to copy the number and brackets.

«1» Last Name
«2» Company Name
«3» Create Date
«4» Last Modified Date
«5» Group
«6» First Name
«7» Title

«8» Primary Address Line 1
«9» Primary Address Line 2
«10» Primary City
«11» Primary State
«12» Primary Zip
«13» Primary Country

«14» Secondary Address Line 1
«15» Secondary Address Line 2
«16» Secondary City
«17» Secondary State
«18» Secondary Zip
«19» Secondary Country

«20» Category
«21» Prefix
«22» Suffix
«23» Notes

«24» Custom Field 1
«25» Custom Field 2

«43» Custom Field 20

«44» Phone Label 1
«45» Phone Label 2

«63» Phone Label 20

«64» Phone Field 1
«65» Phone Field 2

«83» Phone Field 20

Windows 8 with Chaos

Are you thinking about a Windows 8 computer? The good news is our Chaos programs work great with Windows 8. The bad news is that there are two different products named Windows 8 which you could be purchasing and our software can only be installed on one of them.

Windows RT (some techies still call this “Metro”) runs specially designed apps available only through Microsoft’s Windows 8 App Store. This is what you see in the tv commericals with the “live tiles” and touchscreens.  However, there is no traditional mode on Windows RT devices to run normal Desktop Apps the full versions of Windows 8 can. Since Windows 8 RT cannot provide support for Desktop apps, you won’t be able to run any programs from your previous computers. Windows 8 RT will not be able to run Time & Chaos, Chaos Intellect, Chaos Free or Legal Billing as all of our apps are traditional Desktop Apps.

Windows 8 (or Windows 8 Pro) is the more traditional version of Windows. If you choose to upgrade an older computer, this is the version of Windows 8 you will be getting. Full Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro computers can run RT apps AND full desktop apps, too.  Without a touch screen, it can be a bit tricky to use, but there are mouse and keyboard controls so you can still get by anyway.  Most importantly, since Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro do have the desktop mode, you CAN install and use Time & Chaos, Intellect, Chaos Free and Legal Billing.

In summary, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro work great with our desktop programs.  Windows RT will not.

But wait, there’s one more thing!

There is one small lifeline for Windows RT users which is similar to what users of Apple iPhones and iPads can do or Android devices can do.  Windows RT does come with some built-in programs for Contacts and Calendars which can sync with corporate servers.  If you have an account with our ChaosHost.com service, you can add an account to your RT device to sync your contacts and calendar on the device with the data on ChaosHost. It’s not the same as using our normal software, but it does mean you can still use your data and make edits and changes which will get sent back to your Chaos program on your real computer.

Troubleshooting 101

Whenever we run into any issue, there are a number of basic steps we will almost always take.  The majority of problems we see can be corrected using one of the following procedures.

1. Reset Program Options.  Within Intellect or Time & Chaos, click on Help and Reset and choose Program Options.  Close and restart the program and see if the issue still exists.

2. Reset Dock Panels.  Similar to number 1, click on Help and Reset and choose Dock Panels.  This will reset the various areas within Intellect or Time & Chaos back to their defaults.

3. Reset Columns.  If you right click on any current column header such as the word Name at the top of the Contact area or Description are the top of the Appointment area, you can then choose Reset Columns from the context menu that appears.  Many display issues can be solved by resetting columns in a given area.

4. Repair Data.  As with any database program, it is possible data can become corrupted.  Our software contains powerful tools for attempting a repair process.  First make sure all of your data is safely backed up and that no one else has this database open across a network.  Then click on Help and DB Tools and repair the database in which you are seeing a problem.  Step through the rebuild, reindex, and compact processes one by one until each completes.

5. Keep windows up to date.  Yes we know updates install automatically, often there are optional updates that should be considered.  Hardware driver updates are usually in this category as are browser updates.  Intellect uses Internet Explorer to view and create HTML message.  IE does not need to be your default browser of course but does need to be kept up to date along with your other drivers and Windows itself.

6. Here in technical support, we will often use the Report screen to quickly find “odd” data.  If you click on the View menu and select Reports, you can then (at the top left of the Reports screen) choose the database in which you are having an issue.  If you then simply click the Go button on the left hand side, the Reports screen will find all existing records in that database.

You can then click any of the visible column headers to sort by that column.  A useful check is to sort by a given field such as Date in the Appointment area or Name in the Contact area and look for any oddities at the top or bottom of the list.  A date field filled in with something that is not a date or odd characters in a name field can be easily spotted using this technique.