Map2Table — Export your map branches to a linked web page table

On Saturday morning I confronted my ResultsManager Daily Actions Plus dashboards in MindManager facing several dozens items in my @web, @home, @errand, @workpc context lists. The problem was I had the flexibility to be in almost any of these contexts at that moment.

The GTD approach in this situation is to fall back to (2) time available, (3) energy available, and (4) priority in order to make choices "in the moment". I would add "area of focus" to that list as the "soft context" of a situation (Saturday morning), needs to somehow trump the ready availability of @workpc.

What I was missing was the ability to easily see my task and project lists in multiple dimensions at once. Custom ResultsManager dashboards like Next Actions by Context and the Review dashboard can slice things up by Area and context, Priority and Area, etc. The problem is that if you have let your lists grow too "hot", they can be hard to review or print when fully expanded. Over time an additional "cringe factor" can develop that makes you inclined to avoid expanding certain branches.

So what did I do? — I guess I ended up in @blog and wrote a macro (map2table.mmbas) to export a 3 layer map branch (or map) to an html file. My focus in writing this was on ResultsManager dashboards, but it will work for any MindManager map where the structure translates well to a table (e.g. a pro vs. con list for a set of options). The simple example below illustrates how it works.

You start by selecting the parent of a 3 layer deep branch ("Next Actions" in this case).

Map2table example input

You run the map2table.mmbas macro and it creates an html file with the same name and directory as the map and pops it up in Internet Explorer (optional). The column headers represent the set of topics present in the 1st layer of the branch. The right hand row labels list all the topics identified in the second layer of the branch. The entries in the third layer are sorted into their corresponding row and column:
map2table example output table
The hyperlinks on third layer entries are retained. In the case of dashboards, these are back to underlying maps, but could be to external websites or linked maps if used with a conventional map.

I found this new viewpoint very useful. I began by running it on the "Next Actions" branch of the Daily Actions Plus dashboard to get a view of my next-actions by area and context. It immediately identified actions that were not associated with one of these dimensions. Context-free actions have a tendency to be "blobs".

I next went to several review dashboards to look at projects by area and priority as well as area vs. committed status and variations on these two themes. As an example I've uploaded a "Project Summary Template" and Area and context dashboard templates.

I found making use of this macro and viewing things in concise tables led to one of the more effective review sessions I've had in awhile. It was particularly helpful to see the relative sizes of my committed and someday projects lists by area and moving projects back and forth. Again this was nothing I couldn't do in a dashboard map, but the change in perspective was liberating. The hyperlinks in the table make it easy to jump back into underlying maps to update and adapt maps.

4 Comments »

  1. ActivityOwner said,

    May 26, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

    I added an additional "Area and Context " dashboard that works well with this macro to the library:

    http://www.activityowner.com/resultsmanager-dashboard-library/#AO_area_context_template

  2. The Matrix » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    February 8, 2008 @ 12:20 am

    […] The tabular format is also useful when you want a new way to look at a custom ResultsManager dashboard like "Committed Projects and Next Actions" and assess the balance across your areas of responsibility (see earlier blog entry). […]

  3. Focusing in on One Area of your Life » ActivityOwner.Com – Getting Things Done with MindManager, ResultsManager, and GyroQ said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

    […] dashboard just of high-priority projects and results that are tagged with Area X? Is that still the Next Actions by Area and Context? Or is there a better […]

  4. Map2Excel Add-in Available » ActivityOwner.Com – Getting Things Done with MindManager said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    […] installable MindManager add-in. More information is available here. The add-in also incorporates Map2Table and […]

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