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Mind Mapping with GTD

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  • Mind Mapping with GTD

    Hi - this is my first post

    I'm new to using GTD in my quest to get really organised. I use a paper-based planner: "Universal Personal Organiser" (The Mind Mapper's diary) designed by Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Maps. It is an A4 folder. I am currently using David Allen's recommendations (for setting up a paper-based planner) to modify it for GTD use.

    I am also learning the art of goal-setting following Zig Ziglar's and Brian Tracy's recommendations, and trying to understand how the GTD process fits into the entire process of getting from HERE (itty bitty daily action steps) to THERE - the global total life end view (total life goals map).

    In my (diary) paper-based A4 folder (I DON'T use an electronic planning system yet) I Currently I have NAs, Projects/Goals and Waiting For 'lists': BUT I've done them as Mind Maps (eg the NAs' sub-categories have a branch for @Computer, another branch for @Telephone, etc).

    I hope to later get Mind Mapping software and the David Allen's Outlook Add-in program to use on both a desk top and (will buy later-) PDA, and have the three synthesised to work as 1 unit as much as possible.

    Anyone who uses mind maps (whether paper-based or on computer) ... any ideas or comments on using (especially) a paper planner GTD-style with mind maps for just about everything? I really think the potential from combining the benefits of Mind Mapping with GTD would be enormous.

    - Many thanks.

    Last edited by Robyn; 08-29-2005, 06:36 AM.

  • #2
    ResultManager, a MindManager add-in, is the core of my GTD system. It walks through my mind maps to find NAs, then presents them on a unified dashboard. I can either work from the dashboard directly or synchronize it with Outlook (and thence to my Palm). Expensive, but very powerful and highly recommended.

    Among other things, ResultManager lets me specify which branches of a map contain NAs, and which do not. I can brainstorm at length, pull the specific task items out of the resulting map, but still keep everything together without overwhelming my NA list with things that aren't actionable.



    • #3
      Thank you very much for your excellent advice Katherine - I'll definitely be wanting to know what sort of Mind Mapping software would be best and how I can get it working optimally with a PDA and any useful additional software down the track. At the moment I'm in the process of still thinking about what would be the best setup for a little later on...

      (I feel like a dwarf compared with you guys. I'm not yet very (but will get there!) up with all the computing in's and out's). I'm really just learning how to use the GTD system and am using mindmapping for it (in my simple paper A4 folder system) as much as possible, working top down from my goals-mindmaps (my vision/mission/roles...a la Mr Covey).
      Last edited by Robyn; 08-29-2005, 06:39 AM.


      • #4
        Robyn, I use MindManager X5 for my GTD projects. I used to use a notepad-type-product but really found that using MindManager X5 allowed me to think more creatively and get a better overall view of my Projects.

        Highly, highly recommended!


        • #5
          Regarding goals, there are means goals and ends goals. The means goals would be the projects that help you reach your ends goals. In other words, there is more than one way to do things, but the end result is the same. For me, the means goals are projects and next actions, and the ends goals are at the 30,000 ft level. When I realized that, I was able to take goals and integrate them into GTD.

          So, for example, I'm in direct sales so an ends goal would be to meet with X number of clients face-to-face this month. The means goals would be each client. For me, each client is handled as a project with an ongoing list of next actions. Not every client that I work with helps me reach an ends goal, but if I work with enough clients, I will reach my ends goals. The vision/outcome of each "project" would be for the client to help me reach one of my ends goal. It's like having lots of ideas to get a good idea or trying to come up with one good idea. There is safety in numbers.

          So basically, have lots of projects that will help you reach your goals rather than making your goals be your projects. Does that make sense?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Robyn
            I use a paper-based planner: "Universal Personal Organiser" (The Mind Mapper's diary) designed by Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Maps. It is an A4 folder. I am currently using David Allen's recommendations (for setting up a paper-based planner) to modify it for GTD use.
            As a big fan of MindMapping, I have to say I find it works VERY well with GTD. I didn't realize Tony Buzan made a paper planner! What is it like/how is it set up?


            • #7
              Another vote for ResultManager - I also have the GTD add in for Outlook, but ResultsManager gives me much more visibility into my overall workload.


              • #8
                I've found that Mind Mapping works better for some than for others. I've created a fair number of Mind Maps, and while they can be useful, I just don't find them nearly as useful as many others do.

                I've found them useful for the <strong>organizing</strong> stage of a project -- when I'm still defining what needs to be done.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sablouwho
                  As a big fan of MindMapping, I have to say I find it works VERY well with GTD. I didn't realize Tony Buzan made a paper planner! What is it like/how is it set up?
                  Sablouwho - apologies for such a late response.

                  In a nutshell, I personally think it's great. It is simply an A4 folder with yearly, monthly and daily planners, followed by 4 life divisions.

                  (The instruction manual makes the comment: "The UPO design reflects the application of the latest research into the cerebral cortex of the human brain. It transcends all previous diary systems based on linear modes of thinking and incorporates all the mental skills that you possess in both the left and right hemispheres of your brain...." - i.e. a 'whole brain' approach).

                  At the front of the folder is an ANNOPLANNER (year-by-day fold-out A3 calendar). Gives an overview of the major events of the year. Use colour codes in conjunction with the monthly and daily sheets for ease of cross-referencing, using images wherever possible.

                  This is followed by the most-used section which is marked by a clear perspex divider for ease of access and has (on the LHS) the MONTHLY PLAN, facing today's DAILY PLAN (on the RHS), as you will see from the pictures I've attached.

                  The DAILY PLANNER has a 24 hour clock to give you the perspective on the nature of your full day, allowing you to record the number of hours sleep. The daily planner allows you to note in Mind Maps and linear form, and to record in symbols, dimensions, key words, colours and images a virtual snapshot of an entire day - this can apply to forward planning or recorded events.

                  Following this are 4 major LIFE DIVISIONS. The recommendation is to place this year's goals for each of these divisions behind the corresponding divider (the following is from the UPO instruction manual):

                  1. HEALTH
                  (use for personal and family sporting activities; medical appointments; dietary needs; progress graphs and charts. Use this section to help you maintain and improve the various aspects of your physical and emotional health)

                  2. RELATIONSHIPS
                  (use for family and interpersonal relationships and events; social occasions; birthday and anniversary reminders; thoughts relating to family and friends; spiritual. You can also include Mind Maps for planning discussions).

                  3. CREATIVITY
                  (use for planning Mind Maps diagrams; layouts and artwork; creative writing; exploration; learning new topics; poetry and fun! This section is particularly appropriate for the development of your creative thinking skills).

                  4. FINANCE/WORK
                  (use for company and personal accounts; quotes and tenders; financial planning and reviews. Mind Map your financially-related telephone conversations, financial meetings and planning sessions).

                  Following these sections are A4 and A3 blank and lined pages.

                  At the very back of the folder is a YEAR BY MONTH A3 fold-out sheet which you can use for project or goal monitoring - colour code and symbolise activities that progress throughout the year.

                  Personally, I am so glad to have bought one of these, though it costs about 300 pounds. I've been using it for about 5 years, and am still finding that I'm still learning how to take advantage of all of its possibilities, especially now that I am learning more about goal-setting, time management practices and processes for planning and review. The concept is simple - it really is just an A4 folder with divisions as explained. The 4-ring binder idea is brilliant, I think, because you can:

                  a. file all papers from the UPO into A4 lever arch binders (the holes match),
                  b. store standard A4 paper
                  c. create your own personalised charts/sheets to fill-in (whatever) on your own computer and put them into your UPO.

                  So, you are not restricted by someone else's design to fill in - you can add any details you wish and modify and grow with them as you develop.

                  Hope this info gives you the perspective you wanted - please just ask if there's anything else you'd like to know.

                  PS. More info is in Tony Buzan's THE MIND MAP BOOK on p. 191-197.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Robyn; 09-14-2005, 03:40 AM.


                  • #10
                    for Sablouwho

                    - my answer for you is above


                    • #11
                      Using Add-in + ResultsMgr over the life of a task


                      For those of you who actively use tasks in both the Outlook Add-In and ResultsManager, which program do you use in each phase of a task's life (e.g., generating, putting into the system, tracking, reviewing)? What functions do you use in each program? Examples are always helpful.

                      For me ResultsManager is most useful for generating tasks and arraying them in a way that makes sense for reviews. However, I find it easier to enter a task in the Add-In.

                      I sense there's lots of potential here to tap into the strengths of each program, but I haven't gotten the hang of it.



                      • #12

                        Hi Robyn,

                        Could you tell me a bit more about the annoplans & how they are formatted as I can't find the UPO to purchase anymore.




                        • #13
                          Maps on a PDA

                          Originally posted by Robyn
                          I'll definitely be wanting to know what sort of Mind Mapping software would be best and how I can get it working optimally with a PDA
                          My set up is with Inspiration. It is primarily a school orientated app, but that's where I work! I have version 8 with the Mind Mapping set up. The Palm version though just does "webbing". Both have an outline view, too.

                          I must admit I am using an outliner more - both on the Palm and on computers (macs and PCs), preferring to Mind Map by hand.



                          • #14
                            I also like Inspiration software to brainstorm big projects. I always have trouble converting the ideas into next actions, though.



                            • #15
                              Horizons of Focus with MindManager

                              One great way to use MindMapping with GTD is to map out your horizons of focus. Here's an example that I put together to illustrate how you can start visualizing and prioritizing your actions so that you are working towards your short and long term priorities.

                              View Horizon's map image

                              I've attached a copy of my Horizons of Focus map template for anyone that would like to use it. If you're new to MindManager, you can try it out for free here: Try MindManager!.

                              Good luck mapping and getting things done!

                              Michael Deutch
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by MichaelDeutch; 10-21-2008, 08:53 AM. Reason: I couldn't figure out how to add an image on the site. If someone can show me,that would be great.