This really is Part 4 but I don't expect many remember Part 3, posted in February 2007, or Parts 1 & 2 from, umm, August 2004!
First a Review: What were MindManaging your day 1-3 about?
They cover how I track projects and activities with a combination of MindManager and Outlook. In brief, the MindManager map links to Outlook with the map topics creating and managing Outlook Tasks. Dragging these tasks into the Outlook Calendar tracks time and can be exported analyse. if you want to review the previous posts see the: MindManaging your Day Index.
A reader had done that wrote and asked me to share my map so this post has a sample to download and shows how I use it.
What is this Map for?
I use my "Work & Project Plan" as a "dashboard" to store current tasks and critical information for a project. It's not super detailed, doesn't have everything to do with a project but does have the immediate to-do's and information I reference frequently. That can be anything from links to folder locations, web sites, critical documents, contacts or whatever. I keep it pretty organic and only add information that's needed for a particular project rather than adhering to a strict template. For some this may be nothing more than a folder link, others much more complex.
This isn't the result of some finely crafted scheme, a methodology like GTD, or anything more than what has evolved over the years to work for me. I'm not sure how much use it will be for anyone else but may provide a starting point to develop something that works for you.
I just keep vital information and "next action tasks" here. If a project gets complicated I save the topic out to a separate map with a link back to the dashboard map. MindManager's Right Click > Send to > New Linked Map does this in a click.
You'll be able to forget stuff. It's in the map.
You'll find stuff. That project, the link to the planner, who was the contractor, what platform/version was used etc all no more than a click or two away.
Track & plan time. The Outlook link means you can plan & track time. Export your calendar to excel to aggregate and report time.
It's more than a to do list, but is also to do and review list.
How do you use it?
Download the the sample map at the end of this post. I've added topics and relationships which describe how to use the map which you can hide, or delete, as you see fit.
Finding and hiding the instruction topics
I've marked all the topics that describe the map with an icon. The Power Filter command in MindManager can use icons to filter enabling these topics to be hidden/revealed as you wish.
Power filters can be saved as Queries for instant re-call. The filter above can be applied by choosing Filter > Hide > For Use Info Only. Remove a filter with the icon or Ctrl + Shift + Alt + A!
By doing this you've just learnt how MindManager can rapidly filter and display topics. This is a powerful way to have the map display critical information. Add icons to your projects then filter by them, priority or % complete and you have an immediate action list.
Connecting to Outlook:
While you can easily connect individual items, or folders, from Outlook to MindManager or create Outlook items by dropping MindManager Map parts in a map I use a different method for this dashboard map.
The Export > Sync Task Info with Outlook command in MindManager will synchronise all topics in a map containing task info in one operation. This is vital to my process as it creates the Tasks which are then used in my Outlook calendar. It also creates a special "Categories" map marker category which will sync with Outlook where they become, . Apply some sort of logic to creating these and you can organise the resulting tasks. The benefit of this is tasks can appear in multiple categories so my task list is grouped by a-Action, i-Individual, p-Project name and s-Software. You could add any others but having a constant *- prefix allows easy sorting and review in MindManager, Outlook and Excel exports.
I strongly recommend only using Sync Task Info with Outlook with a single dashboard map. This is to avoid potential chaos as topics can be automatically generated in MindManager and Outlook depending on the options selected. Get several maps doing that and things can get very muddled, very quickly.
I regard MindManager as the master, Outlook the slave, for tasks and use the Export & Synchronise options below to enforce this. If I change a task in Outlook the updates will be seen in MindManager and new tasks created with MindManager will be added to Outlook. Deleting a task in Outlook will not delete it's MindManager parent. That is possible but I find it can result accidental deletions as you don't see dependent MindManager sub-topics that will also be removed.
Once the tasks are in Outlook you can record or plan time in Outlook by dragging them to the calendar. For Details on how to use and analyse this info see Part 3
Get the file:
Download the file which contains some example topics. It should give you a feel for how MindManager can help organise your work. Don't regard this as gospel, the secret is to start small and build something that works for your work-flow. If you find it useful, or have any suggestions let me know via the comments.
If this download results in a file with .zip file extension change it to .mmap before attempting to open it in MindManager.
UPDATE 2009-10-09: The same map in alternate formats:
MindManager 2002: Download Blog Work and Project Plan.mmp (50.7K)
MindManager Map (XML) Format: Download Blog Work and Project Plan.xmmap (871.7K)Mindjet Player PDF File (Acrobat) Download Blog Work and Project Plan.pdf (1728.4K)