Mind Mapping & The Action Machine, Part 2

by JL Beeken on 8-14-2011

The Action MachineOnly as far back as June, I was worried that mind maps are not the best place for my to-do lists. When actually they’re the perfect place for my to-do lists. I just had too many of them.

It was before I consolidated my 41 mind maps into other things: Research Toolbox, Software and Webstream. Before I dragged and dropped everything else into OneNote.

I’m down to one other mind map called To-Do.

It was over a year ago when I came up with the idea of consolidating all my computer files into 12 main folders to be able to see more clearly and get a grip.

Fourteen months later and it’s still working. This is the longest any general organizational system has lasted for me.

Back to the FreePlane mind mapping thing. My memory is a little fuzzy but I think what wasn’t working was having my to-do’s mixed in with my general notes which made the whole thing craaazy. General notes have been moved to OneNote. That’s just stuff that has to go somewhere. It also follows the same category system.

Having dispensed with the rest, as noted above, it’s simply a to-do mind map sorted by my 12 (well, 11) categories. The 12th is the Inbox. The gate-keeper.

So, here’s how it works. Every evening, or every morning, as I plan the upcoming day, I open the To-Do map, expand all the nodes using the Expand button:

FreePlane

(which I’m not going to do here for privacy reasons), choose what I’m going to work on, copy it to the clipboard,

FreePlane mind mapping

choose an amount of time, and paste it into The Action Machine.

The Action Machine

The Action Machine has 12 clocks so that’s plenty. If I’m being reasonable I’ll limit the total for the day to something less than 56 hours and 14 brick wall ancestors.

The Action Machine

What I love about The Action Machine is that it makes me conscious of time and focused.

And what I love about mind mapping is that it’s so versatile for any kind of brain-storming and re-arranging; much simpler than linear outlines. I also like to see all my to-do’s in one place where I can choose afresh everyday what’s most important to me.

Both of them are pinned to my taskbar. It’s an unbeatable combination. Try it.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bart Brenner (GeneaPopPop) 8-14-2011 at 7:38 PM

Wow! I like what you have done with Freeplane. I have previously used FreeMind. I have been looking for a effective tool / place for my Research Toolbox. I had never thought of using mind-mapping software. Your “Genealogy Research” mind map is a great idea… one that I will likely emulate. I am impressed with your integration of Freeplane, OneNote, The Action Machine, etc. I’s not quite ready to do all that, but I am going to read and read you blogs on this topic. Good work… Thanks!

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