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Digital Project Planning Material - Need Help

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  • Digital Project Planning Material - Need Help

    Hi,

    I'm using Excel to track / list all projects and next actions, but am struggling to find a good solution for maintaining project planning materials. Keeping track of ideas, plans, purpose, outcomes, mindmaps seems cumbesome and messy in Excel.

    Curious to hear how other folks are managing digital project planning materials.

  • #2
    Originally posted by new2gtd View Post
    Curious to hear how other folks are managing digital project planning materials.
    I'm on a mac so I dump everything in a DEVONTHink database with a folder for each project. I can put almost any type of file in there. FOr a few projects I have a huge bunch of digital files so I just use DT to index that particular folder in Finder so I have all my project support at least referenced in one place and searchable.

    I am very cloud adverse and refuse to use any cloud based system like Evernote, another good option if you don't mind the security risks,

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    • #3
      For work (Windows 7 laptop), I manage everything in MindManager (dashboard, next action list, projects, project plans, checklists, reference, etc) and then link to support material in the file system using links within MindManager. In the case of next actions, all my email next actions are in a folder in Outlook called Next Action and I link to that in MindManager in my next actions mindmap. My file system is basically just two folders Projects (active) and then Reference. So a a folder in Projects is the name of the project and it has the support files needed: PDFs, Excel, Word, etc. And that folder gets linked into MindManager on my projects mindmap for GTD tracking.

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      • #4
        I use Word for that. I have setup a blank project plan with headings based on the natural planning model, and use the document map feature to easily navigate through the document. I use one Word document per area of focus, and as well as all the projects I also have some key support information for the area of focus as well. We are upgrading Office versions this year, and so I'll have OneNote, which I'll consider using. What I like about OneNote is you can tag todo items, then search for the tags.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
          I am very cloud adverse and refuse to use any cloud based system like Evernote, another good option if you don't mind the security risks,
          I'm only experimenting with evernote at the moment, but if you are concerned about security risk but like the Evernote platform, you can set up local notebooks, which are stored on your computer rather than on the Evernote backend.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mattsykes View Post
            I'm only experimenting with evernote at the moment, but if you are concerned about security risk but like the Evernote platform, you can set up local notebooks, which are stored on your computer rather than on the Evernote backend.
            Actually I tried that for a few months. Didn't like the limitations on numbers of notebooks, inability to create folders and other restrictions of Evernote. Some of those restrictions have changed now but DEVONThink is so much more powerful and adaptable that once I finally grokked how to use it I love it. It has a steep learning curve though.

            Which leads me to the conclusion that for me at least, the more rich, powerful and adaptable a software package is the better I will eventually like it, once I get past the long time to learn it.

            Or put another way. I can almost decide whether a package is going ot be useful by how long it takes me to learn how to use it. Long time = good package short time = limited package I will quickly outgrow

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
              Actually I tried that for a few months. Didn't like the limitations on numbers of notebooks, inability to create folders and other restrictions of Evernote. Some of those restrictions have changed now but DEVONThink is so much more powerful and adaptable that once I finally grokked how to use it I love it. It has a steep learning curve though.

              Which leads me to the conclusion that for me at least, the more rich, powerful and adaptable a software package is the better I will eventually like it, once I get past the long time to learn it.

              Or put another way. I can almost decide whether a package is going ot be useful by how long it takes me to learn how to use it. Long time = good package short time = limited package I will quickly outgrow
              starting is very difficult for all but one week you learn then experienced for this field

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              • #8
                Thanks, everyone! This has been very helpful!

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                • #9
                  Evernote is a great tool

                  Originally posted by new2gtd View Post
                  Thanks, everyone! This has been very helpful!
                  Evernote is a very versatile tool. It stores everything, from notes, to documents, to photos, to video and audio, etc. and etc.

                  The free version has some limitations on the amount you can upload in a single month as well as the number of notebooks; the premium version gives you a lot more and has the benefit of SSL encryption on your synched notes.

                  You categorize by notes, stacks and tags; Stacks are just folders by another name (two or more notebooks can go into a single stack). Tags are a great way to organize your contexts. I tag my Next Actions (which go into a Notebook called Next Actions) with the context as the tag name, such as @calls, @home, etc; you can sort by tags, so you can easily see just your Next Actions tagged with calls.

                  You can email anything to Evernote, and just by using simple operators in your subject line can direct the email to the notebook you want with the tags you want.

                  There is lot on the web about using Evernote for GTD, and just check out the Evernote Blog as they just added Daniel Gold as a regular contributor. He is probably the best known advocate of using Evernote for GTD.

                  The great thing of course, is that you have a number of tools, so keep trying until you find yours.

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                  • #10
                    I use Word for that. I have setup a blank project plan with headings based on the natural planning model, and use the document map feature to easily navigate through the document. I use one Word document per area of focus, and as well as all the projects I also have some key support information for the area of focus as well. We are upgrading Office versions this year, and so I'll have OneNote, which I'll consider using. What I like about OneNote is you can tag todo items, then search for the tags.
                    Last edited by John Forrister; 01-24-2012, 08:37 AM. Reason: remove ad links

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                    • #11
                      Great thread btw.

                      I use a mac and am looking for some software to manage all the materials that my research phd is and will generate.

                      The only concern I have at the moment about using a specific piece of software rather than just using folders and files on my mac / dropbox is that if my mac were to break then I would be using a pc while it is being fixed and so I am worried that mac only software may limit my accessabilty.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by macgrl View Post
                        Great thread btw.

                        I use a mac and am looking for some software to manage all the materials that my research phd is and will generate.

                        The only concern I have at the moment about using a specific piece of software rather than just using folders and files on my mac / dropbox is that if my mac were to break then I would be using a pc while it is being fixed and so I am worried that mac only software may limit my accessabilty.
                        I use Evernote for clipped material, Zotero for journal articles, and Dropbox for files. They're all cross-platform, and multi-device. Ages ago, I've used Yojimbo and (less) DevonThink, and looked at Together and EagleFiler, but I never saw a benefit to compensate the cost of use. The limitations, primarily related to syncing across multiple machines, were a big factor.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by macgrl View Post
                          I use a mac and am looking for some software to manage all the materials that my research phd is and will generate.
                          Normally I'd say DEVONThnk but since it's Mac only I'd have to say it might not be the best.

                          OTOH I'll suggest something totally different that is crossplatform:

                          Scrivener

                          It's really meant for almost any writing project but has tons of tools to help you manage research materials. You can download a free trial and the price is cheap, $40 if it works.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for that. I will have a look at Scrivener

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