At the beginning of the school year, each administrator in our school system was issued a BlackBerry. I had been a Palm user for about 5 years, so I was looking forward to what I thought might be a learning curve. Yes, there are differences between how I organize with the BlackBerry versus what I did with my Palm.

Over the last several months, I have become keenly interested in 1) how many people I see on a day-to-day basis who are using a BlackBerry; 2) the growing number of questions I see posed about how to organize (especially tasks) with the BlackBerry; 3) the little I see written that specifically addresses how to use the task list effectively.

This post starts a series of outlining tricks, shortcuts, and strategy I have learned along the way. I will begin with the track wheel, or more specifically, how to get around using it. Using keyboard shortcuts instead of the track wheel eliminates many steps.

Let’s start with opening an e-mail message. You could click the track wheel, scroll the wheel to “Open,” and click the wheel. An easier way is to simply hit the “Enter” key.