Friday, March 20, 2009

How I use MindManager for Getting Things Done (GTD)

UPDATE: 3rd June 2009: Version 2 of my implementation is now in the blog. Read about it here...


Having been asked on several occasions to explain how I use Mindjet MindManager to implement the Getting Things Done (GTD) approach developed by David Allen (, I decide to provide a summary of I do it for all to see. Please feel free to share your experience and give me feedback. Whilst still learning, the one thing I am clear about regarding GTD, is that it is an evolutionary process of continuous improvement.

So here it is...

I have an extensive implementation of TPAssist's “My Life” template and also the TPAssist role based Dashboard, resulting in near on 150 linked maps, some of which are whole projects and some of which contain lots of mini-projects.

My GTD runway “road map” or as I am calling it, my “Ultimate Dashboard” mirror’s GTD’s “Organizing Categories” (see/download template here). This is now my default map when MindManager opens. I have linked the Outcomes section to separate maps for a cleaner picture. I have linked my “My Life” and workplace dashboard to the “Areas of Focus”.

Adding in projects and actions is presently achieved using two methods. Firstly I am instantly capturing, storing and then "sending" new items to the Dashboard by using TPAssistCapture. These capture items are sent to my roadmap "IN-TRAY" for further clarification, sent directly to the ACTION category or even directly into a project map (if it isn't the next action or is more an idea). Secondly I am manually maintaining the Projects List and Actions list.

Maintaining context of my projects and next actions is achieved by dropping into the focus area map, locating the project or next action and then using the Topic-Right-Click “Copy as Hyperlink” MindManager capability to extract the linked topic. I then insert this hyperlinked topic into the project list or in the case of each project’s next action, in the appropriate category of the Ultimate Dashboard. In this way I can just follow the hyperlink back to the My Life or Dashboard map to process the action, using TPAssist’s existing journaling capabilities to record my progress and success.

As I complete actions, I drop in the next action and then I just delete the completed topic listing from the Ultimate Dashboard. With completed projects I just delete them from the Projects list, knowing that my monthly reviews of Areas of Focus will show up anything that is new.

In addition, I am using TPAssist 2007's Outlook Integration to keep some of the next actions synchronised with Outlook and therefore my mobile device.

There are some aspects that are for now a little cumbersome, however I feel "spinning the wheels" myself, at least for now, gives me a great idea of what needs to be automated in the next update to TPAssist 2007.

GTD and Getting Things Done are registered trademarks of David Allen & Co..