Has anyone come up with a good way to do to-do list management in TheBrain?

It seems silly to have "another place" where I enter "things that I think of" depending on whether they are to-do list items or "other thoughts".

But I can't see how to tidly manage an ordered list in TheBrain



You can create Thoughts for each task then create a calendar event for each Thought and fill in your task details in the description field for the calendar event. You can also use the checkbox feature in the Notes section (in notes you can insert a checkbox by selecting Insert > Insert Checkbox) to insert your task with a checkbox next to it so that you can check off your task when you have completed it. Also, you can use the Tags feature to mark certain tasks completed by creating a "completed" Tag. You can track with a series of Tags or Thought Types, example, complete a project - change the thought type from "in progress" to "completed".
I've been trying to follow the GTD methodology using task lists and project designators.

  • Each project gets its own Thought and has a Thought Type of "Project", with the Thought Icon being a hammer
  • Each project that is urgent/high importance has its Type changed to "Project - Top" with the Thought Icon being a hammer, but it is red
  • All tasks are put in the project's note field with a checkbox next to it. It was too time consuming to create a thought for each task
    • This allows me to see my list of tasks for a project and change the text as needed (for example, if I need to do task A, and then I sent an email to someone and I"m waiting for a response, I'll put a "(w - name)" next to it to show I'm waiting for that person.
    • Once the task is complete, I will check the checkbox
    • I can rearrange the tasks as needed and get a quick overview of what has been done
  • All files, docs, other Thoughts for that project are Children of that project Thought

When I need to get a full list of my projects, I use the reporting area and choose "Project" or "Project - Top". This is essentially creating the task lists that are referenced in GTD.
@vmilhoan ~

How do you quickly and easily scan across multiple project thoughts to find those individual to-do items that are the most urgent?

That has always been my challenge with trying to use TB for task management: I haven't found any good way to filter and view a variety of priority items that are spread across a variety of different project thoughts.

I could try sorting them by priority tags, but that can quickly become a tag nightmare since one project thought could have a variety of different priority tasks detailed in the notes.

Even if I highlight the high priority items by color, they still are all buried in my sea of project thoughts.

Any suggestions? Hints & tips?
I would love to hear everyone's hints/tips for this too [smile]

I find it's somewhat hard to stay all digital at work (I may need to present my screen and take notes at the same time), so I started experimenting with adding a paper layer to my process. I have been putting together a daily list of 3 top projects to focus on for the day, along with a few lines of tasks that creep up. It's not perfect, and my main project list is still to look at the project Type in TB.

I have also started making some use of events on the timeline to mark the "next" task for a project that has to be done on a certain day if applicable. So, still playing around with some various options.
See my thoughts here on the forum in regard to using TB as a task manager. I find it better for higher level thinking (20,000 feet and up) then for runway and 10,000 feet task management.
Using: Evernote | FilterizeDynalist | InstaPaper | Liner | TheBrain v10.0.40.0
For those who might be interested, here's a sample brain Andreas recently shared which illustrates his Kanban-style of task management within TB9:
> Kanban Brain | Andreas

ooks like a simple and streamlined strategy with good potential! ðŸ™‚
Thanks for uploading, Metta!

As you will see, the system I am using is a collage of different existing systems. I wanted to make sure to only use one single program for everything. Plus the system has to be simply and straighforward, it has to work in stress situations.

As many here in the forums I have tried about any existing ToDo list app that exists. Most are just too much work for me, or better said, I spend my hours "playing" around, putting the tasks under the right categories etc. and this leaves no time for the actual work...
The current system has been used for a couple years and has resisted my testing of new versions of more shiny dedicated ToDo apps.

Here is a zip of the actual brain. Happy to hear from you how to improve the system. 

Thanks again, Andreas! Appreciate your generosity in sharing very much. Ã°Å¸â„¢â€š

To be honest, I've already starting playing with your model and, on a preliminary basis, I have added a few tweaks of my own. The challenge for me now is that just before you shared your system, I began a free trial of yet one more PIM (doogiePIM) and I feel like I need to give a it a good test run before the free trial expires. So far I really like what I've seen of this app, but I know there's a high potential (for me) for getting lost in "organizing" instead of "executing", which is why your simple system appeals so much to me.

Also, like you, I really would prefer to rely on "one trusted system" -- and I like the fact that your strategy helps to keep your focus on just a few tasks per day.

I'm also impressed that your current system has survived the test of time. Ã°Å¸Ëœâ€°

Two years is a good test run, indeed -- and, in this context, I have a few more questions about how you've been using your system:
  • Do you ever use the MindMap view when working with and editing your notes? I really like the fact that multiple notes can be edited in the MindMap view without changing the active thought, I wondered if this functionality has been useful to you.
  • Do you use the events/timeline functions in TB9? If so do you have any hints/tips for getting the most from these features?
  • Have you found the limitations on reminders in TB9 to be a problem? (can't set them more than 28 day in advance, can't snooze for more than 1 day)
  • Are there any other important tags you use on a regular basis that you have not already mentioned?
  • New software, especially new todo apps are blinking and shiny and I like them. I start using them for a couple of days and then I realize that I forget to open them, I stop looking at them and this means they become useless... Plus, most software works for <20 tasks only :-) I used other software for information management but nothing beats the brain if you go beyond a couple thousand thoughts...
  • I tried using the MindMap view, yes. I stopped using it but should maybe give it another try...
  • I do use the timeline and have set-up a calendar that I sync with my iCal. All work related stuff is now in there. I have the timeline view on in the tab showing the work week. And this tab is always on the "week" thought. I open other tabs for accessing other parts of the brain.
  • Today I got an email. This triggered me to add a new project in the 10'000 Ft view. I number the projects and this was project 213... (tells you how long I am using the system). Under the project thought I added the email, a todo (ready) thought and I added a deadline in the timeline. I am a visual thinker and love that I see visually how much time is left before the deadline is up.
  • I do not use reminders in the Brain. The length of the task in the timeline is more useful for me.
  • Other important thought types I use are "read" showing me in a different color the papers I have read. I basically work with types of different color. Light green means it is a general topic with many sub-topics. And of course a couple of work related thought types. Thought tags are less used in my brain, I have the 1-5 stars tags for quality assessment but apart from that one I find many that I tried out but never used again...
  • BTW, if I do not move an email into the brain, I tend to forget it because the inbox is simply a long list. As I am using the Brain for all actionable emails, I do not have any structure in my email folder...

Thank you, Andreas. Your feedback has again been very helpful. I've incorporated it all, along with your sample zip, in my new task management brain where I'll be giving your Kanban strategy a test tun.

Very much appreciate your generosity in shedding a little light on how you've been successfully using TB for task management since your approach appears to be quite simple and effective.

Thanks again! ðŸ™‚
Thanks for all the ideas posted here.  I was taken away from my experiment of using TB shortly after I first enquired.

Coming back to it now, my conclusion is that there isn't yet a good way of using TB as a simple task management tool.   There is far to much cognitive overhead in most of the more sophisticated methods mentioned or linked here.    They would require investment in a "getting things done" personal methodology far beyond the scope of "how do I use TB for ordered tasks, so I don't have to use another tool".

It seems a shame that the missing enabler feature is so basic.  The ability to order incoming links to a node appears to be to be a solution that would work for me.
@MartinGregory ~

After all the experimenting I've done with TB over the years, I have to agree with you, Martin. No amount of fiddling or reorganizing has made it any easier for me to use TB for task management, and I always fall back on using another application.

Also, FWIW, the ability to manually organize thoughts has been requested again and again over the years here in the forum. Unfortunately, though, this feature appears to be very difficult to manage from a technical standpoint and, as far as I know, it has never been available in TheBrain.
Agreed - and I have another issue with tasks in that they are rapidly changing, there are a lot of "waiting for" tasks, and much of this is handled through email in Outlook.

I've been working with MyLifeOrganized for a couple of months now and so far, things are going well. It has a sync with Outlook tasks (I can generate through the standard Outlook method or by using my ClearContext plugin). And MLO has a method to quickly capture the URL of a project. I then take that URL and paste it as a child thought underneath my project in TB. This allows me to very quickly navigate to a project in TB  then navigate to the flexible task list in MLO.

Another benefit - MLO can be completely offline (no sync to the cloud unless you want it).

It's just the opposite for me: I keep coming back to TB for organization of to do lists:-) None of the shiny specialized applications work for me. But in addition to what I posted earlier, I do work 80 % with pure notes now. I link emails I drag into TB (otherwise I forget that they exist), but normal todos go into a simple list in the notes field of the current week.
And, most important, there is always a more shiny app waiting behind the corner. But nothing helps, you have to DO the tasks and not be distracted by the MANAGEMENT of the tasks. So I stick to my way of organizing things and ignore other apps. That took me a while to realize :-)

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