Monday, October 17, 2011

Dashboards and my Weekly Planners

I mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of mindmaps for personal organization. My tool of choice is MindJet's Mindmanager, which I bought out of pocket for back in 2001 and never looked back.

One of the things I've done recently is to finally set up a couple of dashboard mindmaps - for me, maps that summarize what I have to worry about as it relates to a particular topic and jump-off points to other locations, from other maps to Web sites out there. The benefit of dashboard mindmaps is that I can quickly glance at them and take in all the relevant information about something.

My first dashboard is business-specific (sorry, not meant for publication): as a Sales/System Engineer (see my LinkedIn profile here), I need to keep track of business contacts and current business opportunities. A couple of maps - one for the business contacts, with linkages to account-specific maps, and one for the opportunities themselves - let me have a great summary of my territory. Some of the benefits I get from it are:
- Quickly identify key people I need to get in touch with.
- Have an at-a-glance summary of opportunities I need to focus on in the short term.

My second dashboard is 'personal', meaning it tracks everything in four main categories: work, personal, career and home (family, kids, etc...). I use it as a scratch pad for things on my radar (in addition to my detailed task list in MyLifeOrganized). See my earlier posts for some description of how I work.

Here's a high-level view of my personal dashboard:

Well, one thing I added to my personal dashboard is a weekly planner. This is simple but very useful. In a nutshell, I now have an easy to view/edit location where I consolidate information from many sources:
- My personal and business calendars (Gmail and Outlook, respectively)
- Key tasks I want to achieve on that date (manually, but taken from MLO)
- Additional tidbits not available elsewhere that I think are relevant.

Here's a redacted example:

The nice thing is that I also have not only similar views for upcoming weeks (as you can see in the image) but also a 'weekly template' (not shown) that I can just copy over to a new week.

Like I said, this is simple stuff - maybe old news to more experienced mindmappers - but still something that helped me organize my affairs better. Hope it helps others too.

Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. You're way, *way* more organised than me. I use text files and grep :-)