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Describe your personal system for managing ideas & things to do

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#1 jusa   Members   


Posted 11 August 2013 - 05:01 AM

I'm fishing for ideas for an easy, quick and manageable personal "system" (software, non-software or a combination) for storing my ideas or "todos" and tracking their progress. What everybody here is using for something like that? What have you found works best for you? smile.png

#2 frob   Moderators   


Posted 11 August 2013 - 03:24 PM

Excel is great for tracking.  While many pieces of custom software will do bits and pieces better, raw tables of data are my preferred format.  The raw tables can be just a simple todo list, or it can be per-week tracking of the elapsed hours, estimated hours remaining, and other numbers.  It has many ways to filter and sort, and tools like pivot tables are incredibly powerful.  

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#3 Orymus3   Members   


Posted 11 August 2013 - 06:24 PM

I use excel spreadsheets a lot (and I do mean a lot).

For everything where you aren't sure what the 'flow/pipeline' is (if you want to be able to quickly adapt to change), its helpful.


For simple TODO//DONE, I suggest Trello, but only if you managed < 100 or so items. After that, it grows out of bounds.


Assembla has a nice ticket system, much akin to Mantis.


However, I prefer to work with JIRA, Collab or Basecamp's todo lists.


Of the above, the one with the best user tracking is probably Jira, although I've heard great stuff about Hansoft too.


However, Excel thrumps it all as you've probably have it installed already, therefore its 'free'.

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#4 Servant of the Lord   Members   


Posted 11 August 2013 - 07:22 PM

I use Excel, Trello, an unorganized heap of notes in notepad, and sketches on paper scanned in and stored with the notepad notes.

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#5 Hodgman   Moderators   


Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:03 PM

I've discovered over the years that most management software doesn't really work that well for me.

I have current to-do's (today, tomorrow...) on a scrap of paper in front of me, and longer-term goals (this week, this month) on a whiteboard, marked with dates. Planning the details of larger tasks happens in a ring-bound notebook.


My project manager also has everything in SmartSheet (and can export to Excel reports), but as I said, I'm not great at updating the digital plans.

#6 Ravyne   Members   


Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:58 PM

Microsoft's OneNote is pretty nice. You can buy it standalone, or it comes with every version of office (even the student pack), or with their Surface products (Pro and RT).


Its kind of a digital notebook. You can add pages, sections, and new books. You can search text, even text in images. You can paste in word docs, excel spreadsheets, etc. Its not free, but its nice. Its great for managing a loosely-collected pile of information, and for keeping notes about on-going projects.


For todos, I mostly do what hodgman does -- post-its, white-board, calendars, I'll sometimes set reminders in outlook for work stuff. I also use google calendar to organize my social life a bit -- Everyone in my circle of friends has a calendar of their own, and we have shared ones for different things, say concerts, which make it easy for everyone to know what's coming up and who's going. You can create templates for different kinds of events, send email reminders, etc. I don't use it for professional things, but it could be quite useful if you're not concerned about giving google that kind of data (you can make private calendars, but anything in the cloud is only as private as the service provider really makes them).

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