Categories | Best Practices of GTD | David Allen | Implementation | Software
Dean, an architect, wrote to David to ask for detail on using mindmaps in his GTD system. Here’s the whole thread:
I have enjoyed reading Getting Things Done and Making It All Work. I own an architecture firm in Michigan, and have been implementing your GTD system into my work and life plan. I am very close to a smooth-flowing GTD process; However, I have one obstacle to overcome, and I would greatly appreciate your recommendation…
I use MindManager 8 as an outstanding tool for identifying, clarifying and planning project strategies (drilling down to next action items). I use “map linker” to bring in next action items to a MindManager dashboard I created to encompass the GTD process. The map provides context categories, and subdivided categories to group my next action items (please refer to the attached MindManager dashboard map).
The problem that I am experiencing is defined as follows:
1. At what point in the GTD process, do you let go of MindManager maps, and transition to next action lists that can be carried with you?
2. How do you use MindManager as a tool, and to what extent?
3. Do you copy and paste your next action items from MindManager into your lists, or do you use MindManager to track your next action items? (If so, you may have a two step process to check off completed items in MindManager and in your next action lists).
4. Do you limit your use of MindManger for brainstorming ideas and project strategies, and then re-create next action items in your lists?
5. Do you find that MindManager can become too complex and overwhelming with so many maps and strategies to view (as I am experiencing)? If so, how do you simplify this process?
At what point can you expend too much effort into creating MindManager maps, and become ineffective in focusing energy into next action items?
Thank you in advance, and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to review my questions.
David Allen replied:
I don’t bother drilling down to next actions on my maps. Too much work to double-enter, and they move too fast anyway. I just do the map, figure next action, then go to my action lists (in Lotus Notes). I’ll sometimes put a shortcut in the notes section of a project on my list, to the mind-map.
I just use maps for capturing and developing projects and themes. Have lots of ActiveWord cues to pull them up fast to add things as required.
Dean’s response to David’s advice:
Last evening I started to use your method described below. As a result, I am more focused, and experiencing a load of stress off of my shoulders. I am now using MindManager to capture thoughts and ideas, list projects, and to develop toward identifying short term (weekly) outcome/result goals (or sub-projects) that would move each project forward. Then, I identify and enter each next action item into the appropriate Outlook task category, and sync to my iPhone. No more double-entering or complex (overwhelming) mind maps to sift through to find my next action items.
Thanks for your words of wisdom.
“Less is More”
FYI – We’re doing a Webinar for GTD Connect members about mindmapping on Nov 12th. Michael Deutch of MindJet will talk about 10 ways to get the most out of mindmapping. (Free trial members can join webinars too.)