StevenMay
Type/Tags work like invisible Parent thoughts to avoid having unrelated siblings in the Plex.

... Am I getting this right?

Because Parent thoughts could have been used for everything if they had more functionality (Using Parent thoughts for filtering by multiple criteria with the Reports tool, Icons for main Parent thought and etc.) So the reason to have Types/Tags is to be able to conveniently assign icons and colors to groups of thoughts and Types/Tags are supposed to be treated just like Parent thoughts in terms of connections with everything and the main difference between Types/Tags and Parent thoughts is that Types/Tags are invisible in the Plex for the purpose of avoiding clutter(unrelated siblings)?


If that is correct then I'm missing the ability connect Types as Children to some Parent thoughts and be treated exactly as Parent thoughts in the Plex because it doesn't make sense to end up with Parentless thoughts in the Plex in some cases.

 

For example let's say I have a Type "support material for projects" and let's say I don't want to have any sub-categories for those thoughts(just an example). So in the Plex they would have to have the same Parent thought as their Type then. 

Which means I have to do the same thing twice kind of. I mean when I have assigned the Type "support material for projects" I've already grouped all those thoughts by a Type (which works like an invisible Parent thought) and then to avoid having Parentless thoughts and to have the ability to navigate to those thoughts I have to connect them to the same Parent thought as the Type. So they end up with 2 same Parents, well this is a little confusing. So am I really getting this whole concept correct? 

Is it inteded to end up with 2 same Parents in some cases (one is a Parent thought, another is a Type). Like in the case where I don't really need a Parent thought because I have already assigned a Type which serves the same purpose except for being visible in the Plex.

What about having the option to make some Types to be treated exactly like Parent thoughts in the Plex to avoid having to do the same thing twice kind of (in some cases they wouldn't clutter anything and it won't produce unrelated siblings because they would/could be a single Parent).


The bottom line:

What to do when you don't really need a Parent thought because you have already assigned a Type which serves the same purpose except for being visible in the Plex.

Do you assign a Parent thought anyway even thought it is a "duplicate" of a Type?

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Spacenexus
I do have a few thought types that also reflect parent thoughts. It does mean that one is doubling the 'effort' somehow but keep in mind that this approach also increases your contextual depth on information retrieval. Assuming you are continuing to interlink thoughts then the additional thought type classification is very useful when viewing under different parent thoughts.

Use both where appropriate and know there is extra value embedded.

Jim
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SteveZ
I think you have hit upon a confusing issue with PersonalBrain, and that is the seeming redundancy of Types and Tags. You've probably already viewed the tutorial videos on these two topics, but just in case you haven't, you can find them here:

http://www.thebrain.com/support/tutorials/types-and-tags/

There probably isn't a correct answer to this, but for me types are simply another form of categorization, not a substitute for making a parent thought. Using your example, I would have a parent thought called "support material for projects" and then -- if this were appropriate -- I might have them classified by type of material.

I have a thought called "Vendors" under which I list the outside contractors I work with. I have them classified by type -- printer, editor, designer, etc. So, each of my vendors lives under the parent "Vendor" but I can quickly see what type they are. Vendors will also have parent thoughts of the projects I am working on with them. And when I look at the parent project, I see the vendor's name and know immediately if he or she is a designer, printer or whatever because of the thought type I've assigned.

As for tags, I mostly use these for toggling the state of the thought. For example, I have a tag for "follow-up," which I can un-check once the task is completed or no longer needs attention.

As another example, I have a thought type called "invoice." Invoices live under their parent project thoughts. If I haven't paid the invoice yet, I have it tagged as "follow-up." I can then do a report where I can see all the unpaid invoices. Once they are paid, the "follow-up" tag is unchecked, but the invoice still lives under the project parent and can be identified as an invoice type.

I don't know if this was any help. I hope so. I guess what I'm suggesting is that you rely less upon types and tags, and more upon the parent-child relationship, because that is the real strength of PersonalBrain


Steve
Quote
StevenMay
 Spacenexus, thanks I agree with that.
SteveZ, that is a good example.

Here are my thoughts about this:

If you have some thoughts with a certain thought Type and they have a Parent thought with  the same name/purpose


2 options:

1. If The Parent thought is a single Parent.

 It means that you don't really need the thought Type because it is too general (according to your example and my experience too so far). My conclusion is that A Parent thought should always be more general and a Type should be more granular... So use some other thought Type (pre-existing or more granular)


2. If The Parent thought is not a single Parent. In this case you are using this Parent as a Type anyway and it's useful only for navigation in the Plex. But it also might add clutter to the Plex(unrelated siblings). And also you have to assign both the same Type and Parent thought  all the time when adding new thoughts. Solution is to unlink thoughts from this Parent (they won't become parentless because they have other Parent too) and instead add a thought with a Link to the thought Type. This way you won't have to assign both the Type and the Parent thought to those thoughts and instead assign only Types. The Parent thought will auto-update kind of. (because it's a link to the Type) Also you won't get unrelated siblings. So a win-win.

About Types and Tags. I actually don't find Tags and Types confusing at all.

Types and tags are the same thing and Types could be treated simply as main Tags because they define icons and colors. Types are essential and Tags are optional and are are useful for filtering by multiple criteria. 


The confusing part is the differenc between Types/Tags and Parent thoughts.

There are also 2 different ways to navigate the Plex: either by Types and Tags or by Parent Thoughts. Also you can have Types and Sub-Types but a Sub-Type can't be assigned to multiple Types while on the other hand a Child thought could have multiple Parents. So the Plex has different structure depending on how you browse it... 

There is a lot of difference between Types/Tags and Parent thoughts and they are almost like different dimensions. I still haven't really understood it completely but I think I'm getting there...

Parent thoughts provide a Top Down approach and Types and Tags provide more of a Bottom Up approach...


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zenrain
There's been quite a bit of discussion on the forum when these were introduced. Types appearing in the plex is relatively new, it was introduced in 6.x. Tags were an update from a keywords field (in 5.x maybe)?

Types and tags appearing in the plex is mostly a convenience (albeit a very useful one), and I try to keep the concept separate from parent thoughts. For me one of the main values of both are that you can report on them easily, and narrow searches down by them (in advanced searches).
In the case of types as you pointed out you can also assign them colors, icons and files, and in the case of tags, they can appear next to the thought name.

Generally when adding a thought I assign them all parent thoughts, and also a type. Like SteveZ I only use tags for temporary states.

As an example, I can add a thought with a link to a government form under several parent thoughts (perhaps the state and other related material) and then assign it a thought type of Form. I don't generally need to see all my Form thoughts I've created, so a parent thought of Form would have too many child thoughts to be useful.
If I'm researching a form or need it for a project, I can assign it a tag (@current).

I can now run a report to show all my thoughts with a type of Form. I could also run a report to show my thoughts with a type of Form and a tag of @current to narrow it down further.
Another useful thing is if I can't remember the exact name of the Form (because the names are just so easy to remember ) or where the heck I put it, I can highlight a fairly high level parent thought, click the Advanced button on the search tab, type a word and limit it to the Thought Type Form. When the results show I can also check the Only: Under Active box to further limit it.

You can check this out for more on types and tags and usage.

macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
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StevenMay
Thanks, Zenrain. I actually checked your WebBrain before making this thread

So here is an example of how I decided to use Types/Tags vs Parent thoughts vs Thought Links for GTD and everything else. I would like to know what do you think about my current implementation.

Anyway there are some main conclusion I made.

There are 3 main ways to approach and navigate the Plex.
1. Top Down approach
2. Bottom Up approach
3. Search

So basically the Plex with Parent thoughts provides a Top Down view while Types/Tags provide more of a Bottom Up view.

I use Reports for Bottom Up view for daily task management and 
navigate the Plex by Parent thoughts for Top Down view.

Top Down approach is the most obvious. I mean you create a thought and them add child thoughts and etc. which means you go from the Top to the Bottom. 

This is my Home thought and its child thoughts. Keep in mind that I haven't really added most of the stuff to the Brain because I want to decide how I'm going to use it first...

I have a quick access to the Inbox and the Focus thought. (Focus thought works like a daily to do list which could be changed every 5 minutes). 

But as you can see there is no quick access to Next Actions or Projects and so on. This is because in my Brain daily task management is approached from the Bottom Up perspective. 

My GTD thought.



Again this is a Top Down view. So it doesn't provide quick access to anything useful for daily task management.  I'm not going to use this thought for daily task management at all. But it's there because I still want to have the whole GTD system fully implemented and connected and in the Plex. 

Moving further

So here you can see I have an overview thought and thought for the highest level of the six level model. I find this approach to be the "cleanest". I could connect all levels from the 6-level model to the same Parent thought, it doesn't really matter much in this case.

Moving to overview
I can't say if the decision to use Jump Links is correct all I can say is that again it provides the cleanest structure.

Here is why
This is how my each level from six-level model looks. (BTW the Goals and etc are just examples and not my real GTD model)

6. Life Purpose Level
Here you can see that overview Jump thought provides a clean way to go back and select any other level. On this level it's not really useful because the Parent thought could be used. However on lower levels it becomes really useful.

Moving lower to 3-5 year vision
Well the lower you get the more useful this overview Jump thought becomes.

Anyway here is an example of how this thing would've looked if the overview thought would've had all levels as Child thoughts

A little too cluttered for me. Also note how it is not obvious that "have fun" is my Life purpose because it's mixed with Children thoughts of "overview" thought as siblings now (in previous screen they are Jump thoughts and you see only "overview" as Jump thought without siblings). Well I don't want to see unrelated siblings so I'll undo this change.

I'll skip 1-2 year goals.

Moving to lower levels.
Areas of Focus.
From this point we are getting into more useful GTD thoughts 
So let's go to Personal Area of Focus (I'm actually also using AoF as criteria for filtering Next Actions but it's impossible to filter by a Parent thought criteria so I also assign AoF as Tags to Action thoughts)

Projects are connected to Areas of Focus. So whenever I add a new project I connect it to an Area of Focus. And that's it, it's really fast and I don't go through the whole 6-level model of course. But more on how I actually use PB for daily task management later. For now I want to discuss other things (Types/Tags vs Parent thoughts).

Anyway let's go to set PB as gtd tool project...  (also note how long it takes to get there, this is why this path is not used for daily task management)
Here I have Action thoughts, a thought for project support material and a Jump thought for project support from a different but related project. Also a note thought. Every Action thought has Tags for context, time, energy, AoF and I have a hotkey for showing and hiding Tags. 99% of the time I don't need to see Tags in the Plex. 





Quote
StevenMay

 

Now here is the point I wanted to make with this whole thing

Let's go back to the overview thought.

You probably never noticed that those thoughts were nowhere in the Plex even though I walked you through the whole model.


So here is what I did.

I don't want this thought (Current Actions, Runway) to have all my Actions as child thoughts for multiple reasons. And I still want to have a nice way to navigate to all of my Actions from this part of the Brain(sure I can use Reports tool and etc. but let's say I also want to navigate by thoughts).

First of all the reasons why I don't want this thought to have all of my Actions as child thoughts:

 1. When adding new action I would have to assign an Action Type then all Tags then connect it to its Project. It makes sense.
However I don't want to connect each Action to this thought because I have already assigned a Type which serves the same purpose except it's not visible in the Plex.

2. An even more important reason.
This is how thing would've looked if I would've assigned all of my Actions as child thoughts of "current Actions, Runway" thought.
Note how I get ALL my actions as siblings for an Action from a certain project. Not nice.

Now this is what I get by doing what I did (used a thought with a Link to Action Type)
So I get only relevant information in the Plex.

Here is what I did.
Instead of assigning all of my Actions as child thoughts of this "current Actions, Runway" thought I added a thought with a Link to "Action" Type. So I get exactly the same functionality and also:
1. I don't have to connect every Next Action as a child of this thought.
2. I don't get all of my Next Actions as siblings when I activate any single Next Action and instead I get only relevant siblings.
Win-win.

Same deal with Projects also.


  

Quote
StevenMay

so basically this whole thing illustrates what I think. In this case (with actions and projects)  The Parent thought is not a single Parent so I used 2nd option.


"If you have some thoughts with a certain thought Type and they have a Parent thought with  the same name/purpose

2 options:

1. If The Parent thought is a single Parent.

 It means that you don't really need the thought Type because it is too general (according to your example and my experience too so far). My conclusion is that A Parent thought should always be more general and a Type should be more granular... So use some other thought Type (pre-existing or more granular)


2. If The Parent thought is not a single Parent. In this case you are using this Parent as a Type anyway and it's useful only for navigation in the Plex. But it also might add clutter to the Plex(unrelated siblings). And also you have to assign both the same Type and Parent thought  all the time when adding new thoughts. Solution is to unlink thoughts from this Parent (they won't become parentless because they have other Parent too) and instead add a thought with a Link to the thought Type. This way you won't have to assign both the Type and the Parent thought to those thoughts and instead assign only Types. The Parent thought will auto-update kind of. (because it's a link to the Type) Also you won't get unrelated siblings"

Quote
zenrain
First, I love your icons.

The Overview as a jump thought is an interesting idea. If it was me I would probably go with Overview as the Parent to all of the 6 models, however that's because I don't think I'd find myself drilling down through them as part of my workflow. Uh, I think...

You might also look at changing your naming convention a bit to clean things up when viewing your thoughts. For example, I'd change 3. Area's of Focus, 20.000 Feet to 3. Areas of Focus with the 20.000 ft in the label. This would allow me to call the actual areas 3. Areas of Focus, Personal, and with that thought active you would only see Personal, Work and Maintenance below. Just an idea.

I really like the idea of the link to the Action Type thought. I may have to incorporate that into my own database.

My only other question is how will you deal with it once you have completed that action? Will you have a Completed Action type also, or move them somewhere else?

All in all, it seems like a solid, well thought out approach. It really just depends on what happens after you implement. If it continues to make sense and aid your workflow then it's perfect. I'm sure as you use it more you'll find other ways to tweak and optimize things.

One more thing. You could also speed up your workflow by creating template thoughts. You could have a parent thought called Templates and have child thoughts as xAction, xProject Personal, xProject Work, etc... Then set the template thoughts up with the type, tags and note templates you want. When you need to create a new work project you can just type "xPr W" and it will activate the template thought. Duplicate the thought (I have an accelerator ctrl + d for this) and F2 to rename it to the actual Project name. Then Shift + Link to where you want it, and you have your project ready to go.
I wrote a bit about templates here.

P.S. You can turn off sibling view in Options > Preferences, under the Look & Feel tab (or assign it a keyboard accelerator).
Click image for larger version - Name: AOF1.png, Views: 723, Size: 102.32 KB Click image for larger version - Name: AOF2.png, Views: 724, Size: 81.59 KB
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
Quote
SteveZ
Some of this doesn't make a lot of sense to me because I am not an advocate of the GTD method. Nevertheless, it looks impressive. You may already be doing this, so apologies if you are, but don't forget to make use of the very handy pinning capability of PersonalBrain. You could, for example, pin your inbox so that you have quick access to it no matter where you are in your Plex. (Again, apologies if you are already doing this.)
Steve
Quote
glientsc
@StevenMay
I like your overview thought, but then, is it really needed? You could make all 50.000, 40.000 etc. feet thoughts to be jump thoughts to your "6 Level Model" thought without this intermediate "overview" thought (except, possibly, the 60.000 feet thought could remain as child thought so that it does not become parentless.

Then, you seem to have implemented another "Type"-functionality by a naming convention (you start the name of all your projects with "/"). I did sth. similar. For example, I name all my projects according to the scheme "PRJ, project-name", or my focus areas "FA, focus-area-name". Then, when I type "FA," in the quick search box, all my focus areas (and only those) are conveniently listed without the need to make a custom report or extended search.

This is basically another way of "Bottom up approach" implementation, in addition to using Types and Tags.

I tried to use Types for distinguishing between types of projects and focus areas ("Work", "Personal", etc.), and I use tags for actionable thoughts: "!Do ASAP", "!Scheduled", "!Tickle", "!Finished" or "@home" "@errand", "@work" etc.

I'd be really interested in what types and tags you are going to use for your GTD, since I have not yet found a simple enough solution and workflow that works for me.


Quote
StevenMay
Thanks for the replies.
Zenrain, I agree about the naming. Also completed actions gets a different Type "completed action" if I want to keep it as refrence otherwise I delete it.
It is a good idea about template thoughts I'll give it a try.
Also I know I can hide siblings but I like to see them  

SteveZ, yes I do use pins I just wanted to focus on the actual Plex area in my example.

glientsc, yeah the overview thought link doesn't really matter.
 I do use a naming convetion and it's just for quick access with the search box.
I'm going to post about how I actually use the system for daily task management but I want to use it for some more time first... 

Quote
wealthcoach
Thank you all for your comments, I am trying to figure out how to use types and tags.  I am just starting with PB.

I like the naming convention, I was thinking about CAB, CAP or CAPD, for current actions business, current actions personal or current actions personal development, use this for all levels of GTD.

I would be very interested in how you use this for GTD, I actually just purchased Omnifocus to implement GTD because I could not readily figure out how to do in the brain.  That program was designed to implement GTD on a daily basis.  But I still want everything but current actions in the GTD system in PB.
Quote
zenrain
WealthCoach, I use a mix of OmniFocus and PersonalBrain also. I use OF for my actions, as it handles due dates, start dates and repeating events extremely well.

I use PB for the project/action documentation (not for every task, but the larger ones). I break down the steps in OmniFocus, and in the notes I type the ID of the thought, so it looks like PB 5862. This allows me to immediately reference the thought in PB by typing the ID in the instant search box and then ctrl+enter to activate the thought. You can get the Thought ID by right-clicking on it and choosing Details. I also have a keyboard accelerator for it (ctrl + shift + D) as I do that a lot.

For my workflow this is the best of both worlds, and I'm very happy with it. I use OF to prioritize my tasks, and only see them when I need them. I also use it for quick capture of thoughts (the Inbox).

When I have a task that has needs more detail (for a project), I'm always at my computer, so I can access that task in PB. There I can see the project / information in the context I need, and when it's done, although it's archived in OF, it's always available in PB.

At some point I'm planning on mapping out the higher Horizons of Focus in PB, as OF doesn't handle those so well.

Oh, another trick I've started doing is once a project is complete, I focus on that project in OF and print it to a .pdf. I then attach the .pdf file to the project in PB. This records the steps, and it's also indexed as an attachment in case I need to search for it.
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
Quote
glientsc
zenrain, I like the thought ID trick! Thank you!
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