Today's post is actually not about mind mapping; however, it's about personal and group scheduling. I'm OK with digital tools for short-range planning - say a day or a week. When it comes to visualizing complex events over a month or more, I like the ability to see the landscape and move around the elements. There's something special about drag-and-drop - literally.
For more than 20 years, beginning with my first major client - a surgery center in Century City - I've been promoting the virtues of digital calendaring and scheduling tools. In this time, I've designed and implemented many scheduling systems - for a small medical center, a military base, and even one for David Allen's office. While the productivity benefits for each of these applications were significant, I always felt that something was missing. To me, what was missing was the visual element. I believe users should be able to make scheduling plans in a digital system as easily (or easier) than they can by moving around Post-it Notes.
Perhaps I should be embarrassed to make this post - after all, I am an eProductivity Specialist. I'm "supposed" to focus on digital tools for productivity. At the same time, I see what clients are doing, and I know what I sometimes do when I need to visually plan complex projects. I delight in sharing honestly what works and what does not. You probably won't be surprised, therefore, to see what's on my conference table today ...
For group planning and discussion with my staff, I've yet to find the ideal replacement for paper and post-its. Once we finalize the plans, we enter them into the computer and toss the paper. In some ways, it's inefficient as it requires double-processing. In many other ways, however, it's the most consistently productive scheduling tool I've found.
There are many good (but not great) digital tools for this type of planning and I continue to evaluate new systems and technologies; however, until someone can come up with a visual solution that does for individual and group schedule planning what MindManager has done for mind mapping, 3M will remain my long-range scheduling tool of choice.
With all of this talk about analog tools, I can see it coming - Michael Sampson's gonna blog about my shift in focus from eProductivity to aProductivity.