Here's how I use MindReader in Practice

[Editor's Note: Jose Miguel is a the MindReader power user and has driven the development of many of its features. In this guest post, he describes how he came to use the tool and how he uses it day to day. A Spanish version of his post is also available. ]

Until I learned about ResultsManager, I had never heard about David Allen or his famous "Getting Things Done" ("Organízate con Eficacia" in its Spanish version), so I bought the software before reading the book.

I must admit that I felt a bit disillusioned initially, since adding a large number of activities was somewhat cumbersome. As I results I stopped using ResultsManager a few weeks later.

That is pity because, conceptually speaking, ResultsManager is really a brilliant idea though its current version's usability can be improved, especially regarding data entry, e.g. adding activities.

Nevertheless, after reading David Allen's book, I was so convinced about how powerful GTD was that I decided to try ResultsManager once more. At that time GyroQ had been released so I was able to gather all my thoughts, reminders, etc. as they came and send them to a single Central Map.

The problem was that converting all those ideas, reminders, etc. into activities remained cumbersome so my Central Map eventually become a substitute for dashboards. Over time my Central Map had so many activities, and they were so different in terms of importance and priority, that it became useless. When my hard disk died it was the straw that broke the camel's back so I decided, for second time, to stop using ResultsManager.

But I was lucky and found MindReader, which is the philosopher's stone that converts ResultsManager into the gold nugget of Productivity.

However it was not an immediate process. At the beginning it took me a while to try it, since I had the feeling that it was too complex and also requiring a high level of technical knowledge. But during the last Summer holidays I decided to invest a couple of days "in depth" to really understand what MindReader could do for me.

As soon as I started using it I became addicted to it. Adding activities to ResultsManager changed from being a cumbersome process to something natural and enjoyable. MindReader is like a powerful vitalizer that converts a slightly limping ResultsManager into a champion race horse.

Even though I use almost all the features of MindReader, I personally use some of them such as "q", "o", are "s" than the others. The ones I use more often are, in this order, "c", "m", "b", "p" and "a", not to mention "Mark Task Complete & Log". I have the "c" tag assigned to the contextual topic menu as "Process with MindReader", same as I have for "Mark Task Complete & Log".

Normally I add the project or subproject as plain text and then I add (always in plain text) the remaining activities. Once I have added all the activities I select them with the mouse, right click and then click on "Process with MindReader", which converts all those plain text topics into tasks with all the necessary information. If I see that something is missing in an activity I modify it using the "m" tag. If what is missing is an activity I add it using "b", "p" or "a".

I use the brackets quite often, for example "Call Juan to discuss project A [p2 Friday 3 days before]", which MindReader converts in a few seconds into the task ("Call Pepe to discuss project A"), with Context "Phone", Priority 2, StartDate "3 days before", DueDate "Friday" and Resources "Juan@".

As you can see, it is simply brilliant.

The more I used it, the more ideas for improvements I had but, as my MindManager/ResultsManager ObjectModel and programming knowledge were close to zero, I dared to propose them to ActivityOwner.

As you can imagine, his answer was excellent and speedy and that cooperation resulted in quite a few improvements that have been added to MindReader since its initial version.

Needless to say that collaborating with ActivityOwner to improve and develop all these tools is not only a honor and a pleasure but also a relaxing intellectual stimulus.

Happy 2008 to everyone.

5 Comments »

  1. Así es como uso MindReader en la práctica » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    January 6, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

    […] invitado, él describe cómo llegó a utilizar la herramienta y la forma en que lo usa día a día. Una versión en Inglés está también […]

  2. BillS said,

    January 11, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    Jose,

    I agree that AO's MindReader is exactly the cohesive bond that was needed to bring MindManager, ResultsManager, & GyroQ together. Before GyroQ, the ResultsManagers Project Template helped somewhat but there was still the constant need to interrupt my thought process (or what remains of it) to add tasks into my maps. GyroQ solved the interrupt issue but I now had a new daily task of 'Capture Map has been processed into appropriate project maps'. Now, with MindReader I am doing exactly what GTD professes – I'm getting things done.

    AO,
    This is a thank you for all your time spent in coding, listening to my ideas & random thoughts, & making your blog one of the few I eagerly wait for the next posting.

  3. Nik Tipler said,

    January 16, 2008 @ 9:17 am

    Jose/ActivityOwner/Bill

    Thanks for this honest post. The feedback is valuable as I am sure there are others that have a slightly limping ResultsManager and would like to transform it into a champion racehorse. I use MindReader and other AO resources every day and so understand their value. Thanks for this great resource you are all creating and contributing to.

    Please also send feedback and improvement suggestions to Gyronix direct, especially those using it in a team environment as we would love for everyone to have their own champion racehorse.

    Kind regards,

    Nik

    Nik Tipler
    Chief Rhino & CEO
    Gyronix

  4. ActivityOwner said,

    January 16, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

    Hi Nik — I'm sure you know your talking to huge fans of the GyroQ/ResultsManager system. I think RM gallops along pretty well on it own right, particularly with the v7 ribbon bar you guys cranked out.

    I think the appeal of MindReader is that, for heavy users of the system, it lowers the activation energy/time needed to add clarity to a task by just couple of seconds and (for better or worse) thats just enough to encourage quite a bit more user input.

    Ironically the actual time it takes is roughly the same as for alt-e-y method, but the time delay comes after the use has have done their part and shifted your focus elsewhere where as the alt-e-y lag comes before.

  5. New Blogs » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    December 1, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

    […] Miguel Bolivar, an ActivityOwner.com power user who guest blogged on how he uses MindReader in practice back in January, has established a leading Spanish language blog on GTD called Optima Infinito. […]

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