MYN Blackberry Exchange Solution

Feb 14, 2011

Here is a Blackberry (BB) App for creating your MYN Tasks List that will synchronize with your Exchange server. The App is called ToDoMatrix. It’s a bit pricey, but you can download a free trial using Blackberry App World, and then config it per instructions below to see if you like it.

[Nov 2013 Update: as of this writing, it does not appear that this ToDoMatrix app has been updated for Blackberry 10. It only appears to work on the older devices. Contact the ToDoMatrix folks for more info]

[Mar 4, 2014 Update: a new app for BlackBerry 10 has come out that works with MYN, but it only works with Toodledo, not Exchange. See this article]

I’ve been mentioning ToDoMatrix (TDM) as a possible Blackberry solution for years, but I never bothered to write up config instructions. Well, here they are.

TDM is a very rich and full-featured task app. It may take a bit to understand the full app, but you can get by with using only a few features. We’re mainly going to be using the Dimensions view in TDM (the 4th icon in the menu at the top of the TDM main view), and viewing tasks in the Priority folders there. So you’ll use the High, Medium, and Low priority folders in that section to see the three MYN urgency zones. 

Connecting BlackBerry with Outlook Exchange Tasks

TDM connects to the tasks stored in the native Tasks app already on your BB; most BB-Exchange interfaces already sync tasks, so that side of things is probably set for you. To confirm that, go look at the native Tasks app on your BB (in the Applications folder on most newer BBs) and see if your Outlook tasks are already there; if so, you are eligible to use ToDoMatrix. If you do not see your Outlook tasks there, work with your IT department or your BlackBerry provider to establish syncing with Exchange. Once you do, and the BlackBerry tasks app has Outlook’s tasks in it, come back to this article.

One note: the Blackberry does not support start dates in it’s native tasks database, it only uses due dates. That’s workable for us since Outlook normally sets the due date to equal the start date; so MYN principles will still work. However, since BB tasks have no start dates, if you enter a task on your BB, when it syncs back to your MYN configured Outlook tasks list, it comes in with a start date = none. You need to then add the start date in Outlook. Just keep this in mind.

Getting ToDoMatrix

Install a trial by getting ToDoMatrix directly onto your BlackBerry through its App World. Just search for ToDoMatrix. You’ll see two versions. Professional, the one I use, is $60. But it looks like the less-expensive Essentials version ($29) will work as well. See a comparison here.

After installing ToDoMatrix, you need to connect its task database to the BlackBerry task database. You do that by activating the TAS module in TDM. With TDM open, press the Blackberry menu button and select TAS, then follow instructions there to turn it on. The TAS module is fully documented in section 50 of the TDM online manual.

Configuring ToDoMatrix for MYN

Finally, assuming you are connected to your Outlook tasks and have activated TAS so you can see your Outlook tasks in TDM, below are the TDM configuration steps to match MYN principles.

Here are the MYN configuration steps (you only need to do this once).

  1. Go to the Dimensions view (it’s the far right choice of the four squares on the main screen)
  2. Open the Priority dimension
  3. In the Dimensions tree, under Priority select the High Priority
  4. Click the Blackberry menu button
  5. From the long scrolling list, choose Manage Filters
  6. Select the Manage Filters button (second of 3)
  7. Click the Add a Filter button
  8. Type the following Filter name: Active Tasks. Give it an Abbreviation: (say AC)
  9. Select Criteria 1
  10. Choose Field: Due date
  11. Choose Third item: Due Today and Past Due
  12. Press BB menu button and choose save.
  13. You will now reuse that filter on Normal and Low Priority; here’s how.
  14. In the Dimensions tree, under Priority, select the Normal Priority
  15. Click the Blackberry menu button
  16. From the long scrolling list, choose Manage Filters
  17. Select the Select a Filter button (first of 3)
  18. Choose your Active Tasks filter in the list of buttons.
  19. Repeat steps 14-18 for the Low Priority dimension.
  20. Then open any of those views and use the Sort button to sort these on Due, Farthest

This now matches the MYN settings within each priority folder.

Good luck! And let me know how it goes.

Michael

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12 Responses to MYN Blackberry Exchange Solution

  1. Hi,
    The newsletter I received today contained the following comment:
    “MYN Blackberry Outlook Exchange Solution
    Here is a Blackberry App for creating your MYN Tasks List that will synchronize with your Outlook Exchange server. The App is called ToDoMatrix. It’s a bit pricey, but you can download a free trial using Blackberry App World, and then config it per instructions in this article to see if you like it. While it’s not as good an MYN solution as say the iPhone or Android solutions, it’s a very powerful and mature task app that delivers a ton of features.”
    I have a Motorola Droid 2 and have been VERY disappointed to find that tasks do not sync to my phone from my Outlook Exchange. I have not found a good solution and would appreciate if you could address this if you can find one.
    Thank you.

  2. admin says:

    Allyson, look at our post about Touchdown:
    http://masteryourworkday.com/if-you-use-outlook-exchange-and-android-then-try-touchdown-app
    I think you’ll like it.
    Michael

  3. Mark in Tx says:

    I didnt have any luck getting this app to work on the TDM Essential version. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out apps too.

  4. David in Sydney says:

    Michael

    I have largely adopted MYN through both editions of your fine books, using Outlook. The crucial insight for me is using the Start Date and ignoring Due Dates.

    On your recommendation I tried this app on my BlackBerry and was extremely disappointed to find that it seems to have the same “defect” that your books identified that Outlook has in default mode which is to focus exclusively on Due Dates.

    I played around with it for a while but couldn’t overcome that problem and I have since removed it but it has left residue notes in all of my 1000+ Outlook Tasks, which is also disappointing.

    Did I miss something?

    • admin says:

      David, thanks for your note. In the article above you’ll see the text:

      “the Blackberry does not support start dates in it’s native tasks database, it only uses due dates. That’s workable for us since Outlook normally sets the due date to equal the start date; so MYN principles will still work.”

      So, yes, you might have missed that.

      But ToDoMatrix is the only choice BB users have for MYN and it’s not unusable, it’s just not up to the standards of an iPhone or Android or Windows Mobile 6 app that does use start dates.

      No Blackberry app that synchronizes with Exchange will support start dates since the sync always comes through the native BB task database, and that database does not even have a start date field. So if you want to use MYN on Blackberry and sync with Exchange, you’ll need to accept that.

      Just remember to set the start date back in Outlook on any task you create on your BB. Doing that, you can use the due date field in ToDoMatrix as if it were a start date field, and all should go reasonably well. And that’s better than having no MYN usable app at all on your BB.

      Hope that explains things.

      Michael

  5. Dennis Rak says:

    Greetings, Michael, I now have a BB Bold 9700 exclusively for my own personal use (I learned the hard way from a recently layoff that I should not have been using my business mobile for personal use, as it contained personal email messages and Outlook data when it was confiscated at my termination meeting). I have been happily using the TWC system on my personal PC running Outlook 2007 for the past couple of years. Will the ToDoMatrix software work with my BB and TWC for managing Outlook Tasks, though I do not operate this device in a server environment? I am aware of the start/due date caveat. Thanks very much, Dennis

  6. admin says:

    Dennis,
    You probably realize by now that I am a big fan of using Exchange with Outlook. That’s because it creates a server platform (called cloud these days) for your tasks so you can access them in a variety of ways using different devices, and they are all always in sync. Otherwise you have to be at or near your computer to sync tasks which does not work great with travel away from your computer—to me such travel seems a major reason for mobile computing. GoDaddy has cheap Exchange accounts you can subscribe to as an individual, by the way.

    However, if you are at or near your computer a lot, and okay with a local sync of your mobile device, ToDoMatrix also does have a local sync mode. I have not tried it so cannot speak to it. Also, it may bypass the BB database and so it may give you more options since it is not limited by that database (maybe even a start date?)

    If you try it and like it, leave a comment here!

    Thanks, Michael

  7. I’d have to check with you here. Which is not something I often do! I enjoy reading a put up that may make people think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to remark!

  8. Gary Jackson says:

    I am looking for a way to use Blackberry Remember with your system but I’m struggling. Can you research how to implement the MYN system with BlackBerry 10? Maybe contacting BlackBerry to change Remember may help?

    Thanks.
    Gary

    • Michael Linenberger says:

      Hi Gary,
      Unfortunately, we know of no way to configure Remember for MYN. And I wish we had some pull with BB to have them change it, but alas, we don’t. And they seem pretty worried about other problems right now. Sorry. Michael

      • Gary Jackson says:

        It seems like they want Enterprise users to be very happy so I don’t buy they have more problems than to improve their functionality with their apps. I’ve reached out to their developers and software head Vivek Barwaj. In the meantime do you think this may help? Viira. Toodledoo will install but I can’t use it on the work side of Balance just personal. Viira will work on the Work side so it’ll sync with Exchange. http://blog.kartamobile.com/category/blackberry/blackberry10/

        • Michael Linenberger says:

          Gary, it’s rare to find task software that has the features needed to support MYN. Here’s what’s needed:
          • Group (or top level sort) on Priority
          • Second level sort on Start Date descending (older start dates at bottom)
          • Hide all tasks with future start dates
          • Hide completed tasks
          We took a quick look at Viira and it appears to present one long next action list in its tasks view. Don’t see ways to group on priority or reverse sort on dates, etc. But give it a shot, maybe you’ll find the settings.
          And while I think it would be great if BB would modify their Remember software to match MYN, our MYN users represent such a small % of their users (less than 0.1 percent I am sure), BB has much bigger fish to fry to stay in business. But let me know how your request goes, one can hope.
          Michael

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