Wondering at this point if I just had special needs that defied the limitations of the “simple” to-do list format, I thought maybe what I needed was a mindmap… The word kind of captured what I was looking for: a “place” to record and organize all the random stuff that was always cluttering up my head.
So I went mindmap shopping. First of all, they’re all ugly, and I don’t do ugly. And surprisingly few of them are free. The least horrible one I found was bubbl.us.
I spent several hours creating my map: color-coding things to group them, creating sub-bubbles and co-bubbles and bubble bunches and linking them with arrows… When I was done, it felt good to have all that stuff out of my head.
But it had been a very painful process (color coding, editing, moving bubbles—all very user-unfriendly), and the end result was barely adequate. The freeform layout made it hard to parse at a glance. There was no way to keep track of your history. And every time I wanted to go back to the map and add something, I’d spend five minutes attaching it to its group, color-coding, rearranging existing bubbles to make room and prioritize… All for one to-do.
Unacceptably inefficient. As a to-do list, at least, it was useless. So it never became part of my workflow either.
(It took me about 20 minutes to enter and organize in Doris all the info I’d spent hours putting into a mindmap. And it takes about 5 seconds to add something new. No brainer.)
After I gave up on the mindmap idea, I found a partial solution: a collaborative project management app that at least took care of the details of my two large, ongoing projects.
However, because I have multiple smaller, short-term projects going on all the time (personal and professional), with at least as many details to keep track of, I still desperately needed a solution…
Still not a believer? Read the whole series of articles on my quest for the perfect task-management app:
- Doris saved my sanity
- Goldilocks and the Holy Grail
- What do you have to do to get a decent to-do list around here?
- More complex does not mean more robust
- Then along came Doris…