Beastro
Hi,

I have been going through a few iterations starting a Plex with theBrain. A few general issues have popped up now, mainly related to the question whether one should spend a lot of time pre-organising the future brain or not.

  1. Types and Tags: I am going a bit in circles trying to find the "perfect" type description for my thoughts that will proove efficient further down the road. Mainly, whether the type should be kept as a fairly wide description or narrowed down, uktimately resulting in a huge number of types? Would it be good practise to predesign types and tags beforehand instead of doing it while jotting down thoughts? I could anticipate a lot of duplicate/redundand types down the road which would create a lot of work and headaches.
  2. I opt for one brain for everything and instead of dividing it in personal and work parts, I am thinking more about a  structure based on Activities (work, hobbies etc.) - Physical maintanance (health, sports, etc.) - Cognitive maintanance (Reading, learning, etc.) - Property maintanance (House, garden, car, etc.) - Master Project (Jump destination only) - Master ToDo (Jump destination only).
    Each branch could/would have its own Project and todo subset, linking to the easyly accessible master lists on the top level.
    Does this sound like a good concept?
Thanks for the input!
Berthold/Spain
Win10/TB11
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ruudhein
There is no wrong way to start a Brain.

We have people with 160+ Types and we have users without any Types.

Especially if you go for one mega-brain, you'll never be done; there's always going to be pruning, reorganizing, etc. It just grows organically. One day you look at your "Tips about TheBrain" section and think "it's time to group these tips", and off you go 😉

This thread has good information about type usage (metta), and also a nice entry about productivity (andreas).

As for me and types, I hardly ever use types to find information, but use them to visually distinguish items. "Books" could be a thought about the subject books, but when I see my yellow folder icon on it, I know this is a thought that contains thoughts about "Books", to give just one example.
Using: Evernote | Filterize | Roam Research | Feedly | Save Page WE | TheBrain v11.0.91.0

(Windows 10)
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metta
Sounds like a great concept, Berthold!

I'm also a fan of using one brain for everything, and I've been building out my megabrain for over 5 years now. Your division into sub-areas based on activities and interest areas makes good sense, as does the idea of having "Master" areas for projects and to-do items. (This is very similar to my own organization strategy, actually.)

As for planning your thought types and tags ahead of time, there's no harm at all in giving this some thoughtful consideration before you dive in. However, I do think there may be some challenges with determining exactly what you'll need ahead of time -- so, in general, I'm quite comfortable with following TheBrain team's general recommendation to dive in and organize as you go.

Admittedly, there may be some unavoidable "rework" with this approach, but I've found that "gardening" is a natural, ongoing process in a megabrain, not only with thoughts and their relationships to one another, but also with the fundamental, underlying organizing strategy and structure within the brain.

That said, if you are inclined to try to do some preliminary planning with your thought types and tags, you are welcome to take a look at a mini-demo I recently created illustrating my current thought types along with several hints and tips for organizing and managing a megabrain. My approach may be more complex than most users would prefer, but it has worked very well for me over the years, and it might provide a few ideas that could be useful in developing your own organizational strategy.

Do keep us posted on what you decide since it always helpful to get fresh input on established practices.

Also, you might find the development of this discussion on types and tags to be helpful since it eventually evolved into an exploration of how Andreas is currently using his brain for Kanban-style task management.


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zenrain
Sounds like a good outline to me. Your structure will grow and develop as your understanding of both the software, how you work with it, and your process evolves, so I wouldn't worry about getting types and tags perfect to start with, just good enough. I generally get fussy about highly visited areas of my database, and let the rest evolve over time. 

A few that might help to keep in mind:
  • Types can be good for having thoughts inherit colors and icons, and also make it easy to report on sets of data.
  • Tags I generally use for the status of things. For example, in process, next, research. Because it can display icons below the the thought, it's a good indicator. It's also useful for narrowing down reports.
  • Some structure and organization is good, but as the database grows, for me I've found that it becomes less important overall, whereas optimizing though names for finding via search becomes crucial. Once that thought is activated, I try to arrange things in context for that area and use, not necessarily via a arbitrary hierarchy (unless it's a public database).
Another recommendation is to focus/fuss on one area at a time that is critical to your daily life and get it to where it works for your workflow. Then once you have that down, you can take the learnings from that and apply it to your next area. That way it's not overwhelming and you are not trying to get things perfect everywhere all at once. Because I've never gotten that to pan out for me.... 😃
macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119
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DrBop
Berthold,

You have received some excellent advice here! I would add a couple of quick points to the mix.

1) One 'mega' Brain can be quite useful because of the unpredictable, associative nature of our organic brain. When you are in The Brain writing an entry for a work thought, something will occur to you in your very personal life that could not possibly be more unrelated. No problem! You just zip over to that area of your Brain! Instantly you take advantage of the TB's wonderful search capabilities, adding or deleting tags and thought types along the way. On the other hand, because TB 9 let's you keep multiple Brains open in tabs, you could segregate Brains into discrete subject areas and manage work, personal, and projects separately. It's entirely up to you!

2) You cannot know now how you will eventually prefer to work later in the Brain. So start. Let the processes and preferences unfold. Your work habits will determine the design, structure and interface of your Brain over time. Fortunately, The Brain is highly customizable. The interface, keyboard commands, display, nearly everything can be personalized to your way of working with your information and your computers. You could start with one megabrain and split it later. Or with multiple brains and join them later. The Brain is quite flexible and forgiving. You won't make "a mistake" and don't need to fear making a wrong decision at the frontend that will spoil your use of the app later. 

The best way to determine the perfect organizational structure for your Brain is to start working with it and keep working with it.

Just start. Dive in. Have fun. 

You can always refine along the way without penalty. 

Best wishes with the adventure ahead!

Don
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Beastro
Thank you all for the great advise and ideas!!!
I will keep you posted here about the progress!

There is only one thing so far that I think is a bit of a dealbreaker, which is the lack of ability to input scientific markup directly via Latex or Math Ml.
I understand that there is no intention for adding this feature. I think this is a big error of judgement, considering that TB lends itself by definition as a platform for scientific research and being able to write formulas directly in the notes panel without having to convert them into pictures, would set TB very much apart from other mindmapping software and could/would make it the software of choice for the scientific community.

Best regards
Berthold/Spain
Win10/TB11
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metta
I agree with you, Beastro, that offering this type of math editor would certainly increase the reach of TheBrain into the scientific community for whom TB would be ideally suited.

I've even proposed the idea of providing several different note editors to meet the needs of various user groups, and it seems this kind of technical editor would be a perfect fit. There's also been some expression of interest in this idea  of multiple note editors -- but it remains to be seen if this gets beyond the stage of being documented as a request. 
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