The Niche These are the basis of the Calendar. Schedule times and upcoming events with contacts and other Users at your company. Block out time when out of the office, on vacation, sales manager visits, etc. for everyone to see. Coordinate schedules and scheduling throughout the office by knowing availability and where Users are at a given time.
The Overlap In addition to scheduling the appointment, the appointment contains a free-form notes field where some Users will keep the details of the activity in the appointment as well (overlaps journal usage). Advantage:
keeps everything in one entry. Disadvantage: not as easy to search and filter on to get a list of entries for a particular contact or category.
The Niche The journal is for the most part a note at its heart. It contains several fields that enhance that note taking capability in a significant way, most notably the front-and-center time duration aspect of the journal. The journal is meant to facilitate the capture of a particular call on/from a contact, one particular note of importance, or any other single activity. Note our emphasis on a single activity -- it has sometimes been seen that users will go back to the same journal entry repeatedly and add to it for total unrelated events. In essence, using a journal like the notes field on a contact. Entries are really meant to be used in a journaling aspect -- one entry for each subject -- in this way entries can be later grouped by time, category, or subject; individual entries can be included or excluded to capture just what is of interest at the moment. Using only one journal for every note removes all of this capability.
The Overlap As the most free-form type of entry, it is easy to see where the Journal could be replaced by one of the other entries. The advantage of journals is that they are independent of the other types of entries -- they didn't have to be an appointment with, or a task to complete for the contact -- they are just what they are a note. Add to that the powerful time keeping and reporting aspects of the journals, and they are our recommended call reporting, phone call logging, activity capturing tool.
The Niche When you have an entry that you need to assign to someone else, let them know about it, or follow as in see when someone else has completed it, that it a Task. The Task entry lets you assign it to someone else while keeping a copy in your list as well, so that you can see when it is update, completed, and any notes the other user adds to it. Tasks display on the home screen and have reminders that show on both the Assigned By and Assigned To person's screens.
The Overlap Tasks have timers, like Journals, so that time spent completing an item can be tracked. Tasks with Due Dates will show in the Calendar for the day they are due.
Notes fields on Contacts
Each contact has its individual Notes field at the bottom. This is indeed intended to keep any pertinent and/or often referenced information readily at hand. What it can't do for you is any type of searching, sorting, or grouping for reports later on. There is sometime the temptation to keep a call note in the general notes section, but we really recommend that it get its own entry in the Activity list instead, so that next time the temptation comes again that notes field doesn't get filled up and disorganized.
To delve deeper into the anatomy and usage of each of the activity reporting entry types, take a read through the Contact Relationship Management User Manual or go to Training Classes, Lessons 3 - 5.