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OneNote or Mind Manager, and GTD

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  • OneNote or Mind Manager, and GTD

    David Allen and I met for several hours yesterday to discuss technology. Among the things that we discussed was OneNote and Mind Manager and how these tools can be utilized by those using the GTD methodology. I spoke of their value as capture/creative tools and I mentioned some of the recent discussion on this topic by Michael and Marc.

    I would like to talk with anyone who is actively using either of these tools routinely for more than just the capture aspect (i.e. is actively using these for Process/Organize/Review phases) or who feels that they have achieved a high level of integration between these products and whatever they are using for action management.

    If you are that person, I'd like to speak with you about what you are doing. Drop me a line. (emack@ica.com)

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • #2
    Eric

    I noticed quite a few views on this post but no replies so far. I would really like to see how others are using these tools. And in the hope of sparking some discussion here, I thought I would share what I have done so far.

    For the past couple of months, I have been working on seriously building the GTD methodology into my working system (after having dabbled at it for 18 months). It was a bigger task than I thought to close all my open loops. I am not there yet, but getting closer each day. I am by no means a GTD expert, but I am learning all the time as to how to improve my implementation and tweak it to suit my specific needs.

    I also use Mind Manager and love using Mind Maps as an organizational tool particularly in planning, brainstorming, doing mental dumps etc. I haven't yet been faithful in doing a weekly review every week, but when I do so, I use the Mind Mapping software as part of this to dump out action items and then cluster them.

    I am also a big fan of Tony Robbins RPM system which I find is useful for higher level (20,000 ft plus) thinking. I find it useful at times to identify my open projects, open action items and then group them into higher level categories. That way I can identify if I am spending time doing what I should be doing as well as focusing on addressing incoming tasks.

    I like Mindmaps for planning projects and also identify multiple action items associated with a particular task.

    Just a few days ago I downloaded the 60 day trial version of One Note. So I have not got any experience of using this within the GTD methodology yet. I would love to see other people's insights into this.

    What I have not done yet is really integrated Mind Maps and One Note into any consistent methodology.

    I am currently using Excel as a way of tracking my next actions by context - the reason for this is simply that I can port this to my Ipaq really easily and I can switch between contexts as separate sheets. I have found this works for me. Then if I want to add some additional comments, notes, criteria e.g. a deadline etc, I can do this easily in other columns.

    Hopefully more will post on their experience in this thread.

    Paul

    Comment


    • #3
      OK... I'll take the bait

      Eric and I had a great chat this afternoon. He's every bit as animated on the phone as his writing (and video if you've checked his blog) would suggest..

      We spent a good part of time discussing OneNote and MindManager and how I use both as part of my workflow. I've posted here a few times about how I use MindManager as a visualization and brainstorming tool for projects. We then got into a discussion about the merits of the forthcoming ResultManager add-in for MindManager and how, for more advanced and disciplined GTD practioners, it has great potential to help you easily visualize your next actions and project scope in a new and unique way.

      As far as OneNote is concerned, I confirmed that it currrently is a capture tool but I shared my thoughts that the soon-to-released SP1 will make it more of an integrated piece of an Outlook-centered workflow with its hooks to that program and other Office apps. I use OneNote for note-taking, first-draft composition, web capture, and occasionally as an audio recorder as it syncs your written notes with the audio it's capturing.

      It'll be interesting to see what the community reaction to OneNote SP1 is.

      Comment


      • #4
        A monthly weekly review is better than no weekly review

        Originally posted by Paul@Pittsburgh
        ... I haven't yet been faithful in doing a weekly review every week, but when I do so, I use the Mind Mapping software as part of this to dump out action items and then cluster them.
        Paul, I hear you about the challenge of making the weekly review habitual. I confess that when life happens, I sometimes slip and do mine monthly. (Sorry Meg ) When I do my Weekly Review I find a mind map a great tool to dump ideas quickly. Usually, use my digital Whiteboard or paper and colored pens for this purpose. Lately, I have been working at using Mind Manager to do the same to eliminate double dumping.

        The more often I review and process my open loops, the better I feel. I routinely get out of control; the neat thing about the Weekly Review is that the process is clear and I know what I need to do to recover to clean, calm, and balanced in a few hours. The reason that I started this thread (I guess we can call it that now), is that I was interested to see how (or if) anyone is using these visual tools to do their processing and organizing.

        I had a great conversation with Marc Orchant earlier this afternoon. He outlined for me some of what he does and how he uses Mind Manager and Results Manager for more than just capturing.

        I expect that he and others will jump in to the conversation soon.

        Thanks for sharing!

        Eric

        Comment


        • #5
          Beat you to it Eric

          Heh

          Hey, for those of you who have not seen the list of new features coming in OneNote SP1, here's a link to a post at Chris Pratley's blog. He's a product manager for the app. There's a lot of good stuff coming.

          http://weblogs.asp.net/chris_pratley/

          Comment


          • #6
            While we're on the subject of MindManager, can anyone tell me what the key features are which differentiate X5 from X5 Pro? I have X5, but have seen mentions in this forum regarding the Pro version.

            I understand Pro has certain features to integrate with Outlook. Although I use Outlook on my home and notebook computers for personal e-mail, our office is still stuck on Groupwise (although I finally got budget approval -- I'm chairman of our firm's technology committee -- for our firm to convert to Outlook and Exchange Server, which looks like it will happen this fall). Is that the key/main difference between X5 and X5 Pro?

            And will MindManager X5 or X5 Pro sync with Palm OS5? I see the X5 mobile version seems to only support Pocket PC. I also see there is a MindManager 2002 mobile version that syncs with OS5 -- will X5 or X5 Pro sync with the MindManager 2002 Palm version?

            I'm following this thread on OneNote and MindManager with great interest, 'cause I own both, and have fiddled around with both, though not yet in my implementation of GTD. I've done some mindmapping of my "roles" or "focus areas," and did some mindmapping to prepare my annual compensation memo -- partners have to do a memo each fiscal year to our management committee in connection with their compensation-setting process, Very helpful to brainstorm that way -- we'll see how it affects the results

            Randy Stokes
            randystokes@cox.net

            Comment


            • #7
              Mindmaps (input from another field)

              Getting things done is for a big part about keeping it simple and lightweight.

              In programming, there is a movement called "agile programming". Yes, keeping things simple and lightweight. One of the questions there is whether you really need all those big and heavy diagrams. They can be very handy when discussing a design, drawn on a whiteboard. But do you really want to keep them around all the time? Having to update them? Keeping it in sync with the rest of the system? Why not use it just for discussion/brainstorming and erasing it afterwards?

              Mindmaps are a great tool for doing your thinkwork on a whiteboard. But perhaps the best thing you can do is to erase it afterwards, after you've sorted out your thinking.

              I've kept some of my mindmaps, but I happily obliterated most of them. The reason why I post this is that all that discussion on big mindmap tools got me a bit worried. It sounds so heavyweight.

              Anyway, mindmapping is handy!

              Reinout

              Comment


              • #8
                Mindmaps can be agile

                Reinout:

                I work at an XP (eXtreme Programming) oriented company that has embraced agile methods completely (we even use the story/iteration model for web site development). And we use mind maps all the time to develop product stories, as well as other project visualizations.

                I have to say that the developers are a lot more responsive to a big mind map hanging on the wall than a gannt chart, so I guesss it's all relative. Compared to Project, MindManager is an agile tool.

                I think the big difference between just using PV lists and tools like this is the need to collaborate and communicate, rather than just keeping yourself on task and focused.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by randystokes
                  While we're on the subject of MindManager, can anyone tell me what the key features are which differentiate X5 from X5 Pro? I have X5, but have seen mentions in this forum regarding the Pro version.

                  I understand Pro has certain features to integrate with Outlook. Although I use Outlook on my home and notebook computers for personal e-mail, our office is still stuck on Groupwise (although I finally got budget approval -- I'm chairman of our firm's technology committee -- for our firm to convert to Outlook and Exchange Server, which looks like it will happen this fall). Is that the key/main difference between X5 and X5 Pro?

                  And will MindManager X5 or X5 Pro sync with Palm OS5? I see the X5 mobile version seems to only support Pocket PC. I also see there is a MindManager 2002 mobile version that syncs with OS5 -- will X5 or X5 Pro sync with the MindManager 2002 Palm version?

                  I'm following this thread on OneNote and MindManager with great interest, 'cause I own both, and have fiddled around with both, though not yet in my implementation of GTD. I've done some mindmapping of my "roles" or "focus areas," and did some mindmapping to prepare my annual compensation memo -- partners have to do a memo each fiscal year to our management committee in connection with their compensation-setting process, Very helpful to brainstorm that way -- we'll see how it affects the results

                  Randy Stokes
                  randystokes@cox.net
                  Randy:

                  Here's a link to a feature comparison chart:

                  http://www.mindjet.com/pdf_eng/MindM...ison_Chart.pdf

                  The big difference between standard and Pro is the Outlook and MS Project integration.

                  Sadly, Mindjet has disontinued its Palm development and there will be no easy way to integrate X5 maps to the old Palm SW. Having used the mobile version on both Palm and now Pocket PC, it's not a terribly useful tool to be honest. The handheld's screen is just too small to be functional. So it ends up being a lightweight reference application where I occasionally will add a branch or edit an existing one.

                  The other way I use it is to quickly capture the branches of a new idea when I'm mobile. I focus on raw capture, not organization. I leave that for when I get back to the Tablet PC and have synced.

                  HTH,
                  Marc

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: OK... I'll take the bait

                    Originally posted by mochant

                    As far as OneNote is concerned, I confirmed that it currrently is a capture tool but I shared my thoughts that the soon-to-released SP1 will make it more of an integrated piece of an Outlook-centered workflow with its hooks to that program and other Office apps. I use OneNote for note-taking, first-draft composition, web capture, and occasionally as an audio recorder as it syncs your written notes with the audio it's capturing.

                    It'll be interesting to see what the community reaction to OneNote SP1 is.
                    I've been trying to figure out exactly where MS is going with this tool for a few weeks. Certainly its meant to be used exactly as you are doing. I have a feeling that OneNote may eventually become a front end to what we would refer to as our "reference files". That is, the things that you add to a OneNote page are stored in the file system underneath so what you end up with in the end is an easy, searchable way to find and manipulate the data. Certainly, it has been extrmely handy for capturing data and the side note feature has basically become an inbox for me.

                    One big hole for me in MS Office has been the lack of an outliner. This was a hole which, frankly, I never expected to be filled because I suspected the big market wasn't there for one. There were always rumors but that's all I ever saw. But I think we may have gotten out outliner in OneNote. Probably MS is trying to make it profitable by combining it with the aspects of the program which fit the description above (i.e. collection and storage frontend). So in addition to the way that you are using the program, I've also been using it for light weight project management in combination with Outlook. Links to Outlook items can be embedded into a OneNote project page as a series of next actions. Other "subpages" contain relevant correspondence, documents, etc... In short, I'm doing most of the things with it in combination with Outlook that I used to do with Ecco. When I want to work on a project or look for specific informaiton related to it, this acts as the free-form outliner which gives me the best chance of finding the information quickly.

                    For those who are actually thinking about trying it out, there are a few relevant things to note. 1) The progam seems to be extremely young and lacks some of the things you may have come to expect in a MS Office program. There's no OLE, yet. There's also no Visual Basic scripting, yet. The integration with Outlook isn't anywhere near as good as it needs to be, yet. As you would imagine, this will require some work from the Outlook people and their priorities are a bit different from those of the OneNote people. 2) No palm pilot interface. A version of the program for pocket PC is planned and should be available soon but there's no way on earth MS will develop anything for a competing system. So some freelance developer will have to put something together which mean there will be no outlines on you Palm for years, yet. 3) The interface isn't as intuitive as I'd like. Some of this comes with the fact that they've tried to make it flexible but the fact is that there may be some initial confusion which will require people to stick with it.

                    All-in-all, I'm pretty happy to see this program and I've been using it. It should be fun to see where they take it.

                    Tom S.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is no one willing to brave the coolness of pocket thinker 1.2.1? Comments:
                      $20
                      Great outlook integration
                      Chock full of features
                      Super-responsive help desk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I Googled for Pocket Thinker and don't find any links. Where can I find it?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here it is

                          http://www.pocketthinker.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by furashgf
                            Interesting. Does the Palm integration require Bonsai or is the Bonsai integration just an extra feature for those who use it?

                            Tom S.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's just a feature.

                              Comment

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