Not sure what happened to this topic but tomos, if you're still looking for a visual to-do list and Workhack
won't work for you...
...then you might be interested in using a docker, a launcher or even a more complicated script file and cheat this by creating a "steps" program list rather than a to do list.Example:
(Note I haven't really implemented this idea but I have took baby steps to know I currently find it a good substitute to a visual overview of any kind of notetaker/to-do program I currently use.)
This .txt file is called Focus Tools and I have this located in a subfolder named "RocketDock" under a folder I call "Personal Information Manager of Text" which is under a folder named "Daily View".
Now I use Launchy to index this folder so that when I need to open a text file rather than think "what application has all those files I set up to fit into that program's model?", I go "ahh...what's that name of the txt file I often view again?"
I find this much snappier since notepads are designed specifically for quick open and closing and you know it's a staple on most Windows OS. (Although I use Akelpad which autosaves and minimizes to tray and has a gray background which I prefer. On Linux, I use Leafpad)
Example:Contents of my Focus Tools.txt
2. Motivational Music Video
5. Tree List
6. Physical Notebook (Modified Version)
7. PopUp Wisdom
8. Google Docs
9. Google Calendar
10. Joe's Goals
11. The Form Letter Machine
Step 1: Getting in the MoodIGoogle
- I have Activity Tracker and Days Since gadgets here. Used to be also where my Toodledo and Google Notebooks were until I switched to RTM and Notebooks dropped out. What I particularly use this for is to see the horoscopes gadget I have set up for IGoogle. I don't believe in astrology but reading these just sets my mind in the right mood to focus in whatever I set out to do.
Step 2: Motivational Music Video
- I hate listening to music while I'm doing something. That's why I set this up to listen/watch to prior to doing any work. Also helps me know if my Computer Vision Syndrome is acting up because it can be hard to constantly watch these videos all in one with fatigue'd eyes so it helps set up how I want to work towards what I'm doing. (Do I go full out or do I plan to rest?)
Step 3: RocketDock
- This is my safety net here. What I do is set myself up to always check RocketDock when I feel lost with all my data. Since RocketDock just indexes the .txts I use daily, I now have an overview of the .txts where I put a list of clues to where I can find my data. It's not that my data won't get lost, it's just now I have this overview of where I might put my data.
Where as before, I really really have to think where that
stuff I want to do can be found in all the catch-all programs I used to use. Now, I deliberately set up ambiguous associations to each applications I use so that when I lose something, I have a particular guideline as to where to start looking or where to not look because I approach these programs in this order by daily focusing on the steps of programs provided rather than randomly inserting each piece to a certain application.
At the same time, if I do forget to check RocketDock when I want to, I fall back on this one .txt file to get me back to the Rocketdock process that I've set up because I've written it here. As an added bonus, if I don't check both files then I know there's something disorganized about me currently and it's not a case of me losing or mixing up the stuff I look for, it's about my mindset not being up to par to what I need to not lose or forget these items in the future.
In that way, it's a warning flare for me to possibly need to re-organize again and not just settle for finding the stuff I'm looking for and there's no getting past it because if I'm really organized and focused, I would have been able to click on either this .txt file or RocketDock to get me back into focused shape BUT if I'm not, then the inability to even click a single .txt file or open a launcher I constantly use is too inexcusable to not alert my brain.
If I do open RocketDock and choose to ignore the .txt file to the point of not even trying to click it, then I know I'm deliberately avoiding finding what I'm looking for. If I do click on this .txt file and followed it, then even if I can't see everything I want to look for, I would know whether I'm actually searching for it by following these steps in order or I'm wasting my time looking at an area that most likely doesn't even contain the parts I want to work on the most.
The rest are pretty much the software I use:
Step 4: Compendium
- I've posted so much about Compendium, you're probably tired of hearing it but this is my current catch-all program and I've already posted in another thread why
I feel Compendium can give me the overview I need.
Step 5:Tree List
- This is actually tied to another .txt file I have in RocketDock called Memory Tools.txt.
Basically I use RTM as a Brain Dump To-do list and then use Go Nut Shell to cut my steps down:
...then I double-dump to Tree List so now I have both an online version and an offline version and I have an excuse to reread the To-Do list contents. Also Go Nut Shell and Tree List are much easier to organize than RTM though it's much easier to insert tasks into RTM and I now have both Compendium and a paper notebook as steps in between this so I'm not just following the steps of a program, I'm also constantly re-organizing and transferring this files between each other which helps strengthen my memory of where I might have put an item before and I also have two to three places where I have an item.
Step 6 Physical Notebook
(Modified Version) - Just a bunch of paper notebooks. I hate having any systems when I'm out. I just want a pen and a paper where I write what I want to put into these stuff. I call it modified version because I have one specific notebook where I double-dump all the disorganized stuff before I move it into the PocketPC (sometimes I just prefer searching notes through ADB Idea Library
or to the rest of these apps) The fact that I know I've organized my catch-all program prior to this is just a pro-active cheat that allows me to both follow these steps as well as ignore the steps. (If I ignore step 1 and start with the Tree List step, I'm also organizing this note. If I try to avoid this and backpedal, I'm still going to have to use Tree List to organize my catch-all notetaker so I know when I'm following these and when I'm paralyzed to the point where I can't even follow one .txt file step since a step is actually an action towards moving from 1 step to the next rather than focusing on one program in that specific step.)
Step 7PopUp Wisdom
- Now that I've organized. I'm tired. I don't want to listen to any long sound or the horoscope that's just repeated but...there still seems to be something on my mind but...too tired. Dull...can't focus. Can only digest mini-stuff. This is where Popup Wisdom helps me. (If I ever get to import my quote collection out of Compendium and Incollector
The great part of using PopUp Wisdom as a transition program is that I don't have to use it exactly after I've done organizing. Anytime I'm feeling tired and assuming I have my quote collection, just click on it. Out pops an easily digestable focus keeping quote.
Close the box and it seems like I just procrastinated with a game or productivity site or some other stuff. Take this quote for example:
Know whether you're helping others or hurting yourself. You're more useful when you're whole and happy. If you need personal time, take it.
It might not be much but to me, that quote feels like I just read an entire Productivity Blog Article and I can just keep clicking on it and clicking on it and I still would have less pressure than having multiple windows open in my browser or having to constantly save those as bookmarks because they get too long or even procrastinate a bit further even when I want to stop because I'm getting to the good parts of a game and I can't save.
Step 8Google Docs
- Basically just a back-up of all the notetakers I've organized so far. It's kind of weird since many use Google Notebooks for this purpose but even before Google stopped developing it, I've always felt that they were more inclined to focus on Google Docs but not only that, if Docs stop developments, there's more demand for these kinds of services and even guys like Zoho get notoriety more for their Doc application than the rest of their suite. It just seems win-win at the time when I was using it. It also helps shave me some memory off my free Dropbox account.
Step 9 Google Calendar
- I use this as my micro-journalling tool. Basically if I need some motivation, I opt for looking at the agenda view and how much I've done positive/negative things lately. (I created three calendars. Green for Something Good. Red for Bad and Yellow for Neutral)
Of course in order to do this I have to constantly add to the calendar and be in front of my PC since I don't use my PDA for that and don't have a wi-fi connection. It doesn't bother me though. I just write something on it when I feel like it and so far it has been working well and I've accumulated some random stuff already. It's also a good breaktime test. Add something to it between intervals and you tend to remember how tired you are because of the mundane of writing something down. Often times if I'm slipping to a procrastinative mood, I even find myself constantly wanting to put items to it. In this way, it both helps and hurts me because I might not get my work done but if I review the events I wrote, I quickly get an idea of when I started to slide down without needing to go through a paragraph of diary/reminders/motivation tools/journals that involve more reading and are easier to ignore.
Step 10Joe's Goals
- Just my motivation tool of choice. Anything I need a habit done, it's there. Also works well with avoiding gaining the bad habit of typing repetitive stuff to Google Calendar.
Step 11 The Form Letter Machine
- As I've posted in this
thread, I'm currently using The Form Letter Machine as my Q&A repository until I find a better program.
It's also an added plus for when to filter out my rss feeds for specific reading as well as in-line with helping me add repetitive thoughts to Joe's Goals while at the same time not really relying on it so when the site goes down (which it has in the past) I don't really need a habit tracker as much as form the habit of answering the questions located in The Form Letter Machine
- When my mind is blank or I'm in a procrastinative manner, few things gets me both informed and procrastinating as feeds. As an added bonus, I often find new stuff to do when I can't think of stuff to do and I also discover new ways to organize the stuff that I'm currently doing. Just an overall win-win for me as a last step.Additional impression:
The thing I really like about this, is that not only do I need not follow steps 1-12 and as long as I complete one step I'm adding to two items on the list but if I ever need to add or change some data and move them to another app, I no longer am caught dead in the water trying to fit an overview of stuff to it.
Now, I definitely have an added test on how well it fits to this list and at the same time, if I have to drop a program, rather than be pressured to know where to organize the items that I've already put there, the application's purpose is so cut down due to needing to be part of this list that not only do I no longer need to remember that I've already "dropped" that software but I now have a map as to where to put each specific data to because I have a list that's dependent on it working on a step-by-step manner rather than on 1 overview program where I'm screwed if it cannot accommodate the data I want it to or present it in a way I am most comfortable with.
By using a common .txt file, I pretty much have eliminated the problem of multiple user interfaces to my overview in regards to dealing with each program as a whole and as long as I keep that list in a "step-by-step" manner rather than a master list of all the applications I use or as table of contents for all my data, I'm getting a simpler overview until I want to dig deeper and that's where the specific programs come in.
Another plus is that I can simply copy paste the folder to a backup section and since this isn't a program that handles both the contents and the items within it, all I really need to do especially when I lost all my data is keep this note. Sure, I'm not as good as when I have all my data but I'm not particularly screwed out of an overview either since these steps are the overview, not the software or the OS or the desktop environment.