Blast that Task List

One word: OUCH.

1157-LongTaskList

“How many of those 2,000 tasks do you intend to complete?” I asked the staff member I had just stopped by to help with a TNT question. This was a few years back, TntConnect had just had a major upgrade, and this person was trying to figure out a new feature.

Although I was not there about tasks, their overwhelming task list caught my attention as something they might want to look at.

“Well, I only do the thank yous and I just ignore everything else.”

The overwhelming task list complicates life too because the most urgent tasks (like thank yous she was following up on) appear at the bottom of the list, while the oldest, still unfinished tasks, were the only ones that appeared on her screen.

In our perfect world, we always do all of the tasks we need to do, at just the right time, and our task list is always in the zen-spot of “Task List Zero”. That’s not my real life, of course. Some of my tasks I just put off because I don’t want to do them, such as the “Call to check on status of financial commitment” is a tough one for me.

But as this person indicated, their task list was long because they were not relying on TNT to manage their tasks. So the list was growing, but it wasn’t really a “task list” for them.

So two things:

  1. If you find TNT is creating tasks you simply will not check off or use, then turn off those notifications in Tools > Options > Automatic Actions. For example, you may want to keep the “Send thank you for extra gift” or “…special gift”, but turn off some of the other, more passive items.
  2. Do something about the task list. Blast it, I say.

You can easily delete ALL of the items in your task list by following these steps:

  1. Click once to “select” any task in the list (but not the checkbox).
    1157-Delete1
  2. Press Ctrl+A to Select All
    1157-Delete2
  3. Press the Delete key.
    1157-Delete4

You could also delete only one kind of task instead of the whole list. For example, let’s say you wanted to delete only the “Call to check on status of financial commitment” but leave the rest.

To do this:

  1. Click on the Description header to sort by description.
  2. Click once on the first one you want to delete.
  3. Scroll down to the last one.
  4. Press the Shift key, then click on the last one. Now you have one block of tasks selected, but not all of them.
  5. Press the Delete key.

The day I returned a gift

Well, I confess it wasn’t me who returned it. It was my ministry.

My partner inadvertently sent his donation check to his auto lender and the auto lender’s check to my ministry. And the funny thing is, both companies had the same initials. Since his handwriting was basically unreadable–except for the three capital letters–both recipients thought it was for their company.

But the auto lender took immediate action: “Thank you for the $25. Where is the other $400?”

The really sad thing about this is that I had not thanked the partner for the surprise extra gift of $400, because if I had thanked immediately (like I try to do now), this error may have been resolved more quickly. And I would have shined in the eyes of my partner because I took immediate action.

That was 1994, way before TNT. So I actually did not know about it until I received the paper printout in the mail several weeks after the gift. But even so, I should have called and thanked him as soon as I did know–that extra $400 was about half a month’s pay for me back then!

Point is: One of the major benefits of the Automatic Actions for New Gifts is that it allows me to respond to any unusual activity on the part of my partners.

When we respond promptly to anything unusual, whether it is an extra gift, a special gift, or even a decrease, it says, “I noticed! You matter to me!”

 

That old breakfast appointment

I was trying to find a specific comment from a note I wrote years ago. I knew the name of the partner, but I could not remember the exact appointment. Was it in 2005 or 2010?

That is to say, I KNOW I talked to Wile Coyote about “Acme Anvils”, but I just cannot remember when.

Fortunately, TntConnect makes it very easy to search through history–not just all history but even for one specific contact.

  1. In the Contact list, I selected the specific contact in question
  2. Select Lookup | This Contact to filter the list to just that one contact
  3. Go to the History View
  4. Check the box at the bottom Filter by Current Group
  5. Change the date range to All
  6. Type in the word I am looking for in the text filter

1. Select Wile Coyote

2018-06-11-FilterByText1

2. Select Lookup | This Contact

2018-06-11-FilterByText2

3 & 4. Go to the History View and check the box Filter by Current Group. Notice a blue bar appears that says, “Only items related to contacts in the current group are shown.” In this example, Wile Coyote has no History in the “Last Week”, so the list is blank.

2018-06-11-FilterByText3

5. Change the Date Range to All

2018-06-11-FilterByText5

6. Type the desired text in the Text filter. This searches any text in either the Description of the history OR in the actual notes of the logged history. In this case, the words “Acme” are in the notes.

2018-06-11-FilterByText6

Here is the actual history entry:

2018-06-11-FilterByText7

The fun thing about this blog post is that I actually did this just this morning before writing this post, which is what gave me the idea for this post. I had to re-create the details for this sample, but I truly did search through my entire database for one specific history event many years ago.

Being able to filter on one contact in the Contacts View (Lookup | This Contact) allows me to do two helpful things:

  1. Perform a mail merge on one specific contact only (such as to prepare a giving submission form for my organization, or for printing a Getting to Know You sheet)
  2. Use all of the six History filters. I cannot filter (much) on the History Tab for the contact, but when I view the contact’s history in the History View, I can filter by all six filters (date, type, current group, data changes, text-in-notes, etc.).