StevenMay

I've decided to move form evernote to PB and I have about a thousand of notes in evernote currently. I delete hundrends of notes weekly and everything I keep is important and tagged really well.

 

Would be great to have the option to import notes from evernote. I'm going to use the same structure in PB anyway + connect some notes with jump thoughts.

 

Both evernote and PB are actually extremely similar tools. PB is much closer to evernote than to some mind mapping software imo. The biggest difference is basically the visual interface and the ability to connect notes/thoughts with jump links. 

 

 

I am going to use PB for everything, as a complete GTD tool with actions and projects and filtering Next Actions by multiple criteria (Area of Focus, Context, Time, Energy) aswell as for non actionable project support material and as a complete genereal reference material storage and so on and everything is connected. 

 

So instead of using 2 tools: Evernote for non actionable stuff and a dedicated GTD app for actionable stuff I'm going to keep everything in one tool. I've been thinking about this really hard and I've been comparing pros and cons and testing things and eventually decided to just move to PB completely. Even though a dedicated GTD app might be better because of some its dedicated GTD ui features, PB still has all the functionality and the pros outweight the cons overall. For me it's the best option. I can actually even use Evernote for everything(exactly the same functionality) if I had to but it's only going to decrease my productivity because the interface is just not really designed for that.

 

 I do mostly knowledge work and I have to keep track of thousands of things (literally) and with PB I'm just faster. I really need a complete electronic brain. PB just makes perfect sense. I used to naturally do mind maps and flow charts to connect pieces of information from projects prior to PB and I'm still going to use additional software for some really specific flow charts and mind maps. 

PB is just easier to navigate and search and a more advanced/flexible tool overall. The ability to connect everything speeds up the workflow. 

It just feels much more natural. However it might be too powerful/advanced for some people but for me it's the best option.

 

 Even though the reports tool interface could be improved the functutionality allows to do anything.

I'm still going to use evernote but only as an additional inbox because it's just very useful for quick capture of information from the web, it's much better than PB at this.

 Hopefully PB will get a good webclipper but using Evernote as an additional inbox is perfectly fine for me because once the information is processed it goes to PB anyway.

Also I actually have a lot of things to ask and discuss about PB, I've been using it only for a week so far (very very heavily) and I really got into it 

PB is a very flexible tool and it's not designed specifically for GTD so you have to know what you are doing, using it for everything is not going to work for everyone(maybe even most) but for me it is the best solution.

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zenrain
Awesome! I tried using PB as my standalone GTD system, but a few things stymied me. Primarily I was overwhelmed with all the to-do items that were displayed, but also I was used to capturing items on the go, and WebBrain wasn't really a good option for mobile use.

For the 20,000 ft horizons of focus and below I ended up using OmniFocus on my Mac and mobile devices. I use it for item entry and the actual lists and projects for what I have to do. All my supporting documentation is in PB, and if it's a current GTD item, I also tag it in PB with an "omnifocus" tag (that's pinned).
In OmniFocus, if I have supporting documentation in PersonalBrain I have the Thought ID added to the notes as a reference (you can type the Thought ID in instant search and press ctrl+enter to go directly to it). Overall, I found the combination of both works best for me.

I haven't yet implemented the 30,000 ft and higher horizons of focus yet, but when I do I'm planning to map that out in PersonalBrain, OmniFocus isn't as well suited for far reaching goals.

Anyway, enough about me. If you haven't already found them, here's some good resources for you:
PersonalBrain GTD video (also has a downloadable Brainzip at the bottom).
GTD Forum Post
Omer Aziz Webinars
GTD blog post
GTD with PB.pdf file (attached). I would link to it, it was originally available on the PB site, but I can't find it after the re-design, so I've attached it instead.


macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119
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StevenMay

Thanks for sharing, zenrain! I've been searching and reading this forum and a lot of your posts resonated with me.

I'm really interested in how others are using PB too and so it's great to see what works and what doesn't for you in detail.

I am actually not excluding the option that maybe I will decide to go back to using a dedicated GTD app for action reminders aswell. I mean I still have to use the Brain for atleast a month or more to really see if it's really going to work BUT from what I've seen and expirienced so far it's actually just faster and simplier for me to keep everything in the Brain. Of course in any case I will still use the Brain for reference support material. 

 

For me the more convinient the system is to use the more I'm going to use it and the more I'm going to add to it and the more I'm going to trust it and the less stuff I have to keep in my head. The more actions I have the better as long as they are my open loops. Ideally I want to capture all open loops and have all possible options for doing predifiened work.

 

 I used Nirvana2 as a GTD app previously and it's an amazing app, I haven't tried omnifocus but from what I've seen it also looks as one the best options.

I had around 50-100 next actions most of the time(50 next actions when I'm not really busy with anything).  With the Brain I seem to actually input more actions and with more granularity because

 

* It is really convinient to chang things in the Brain. It's just faster to change the actions(thoughts) in the Brain, there is less inertia in it for me compared to other apps.  It's like the system is living and constantly adapting to the current situation instead of being updated from time to time. 

* The way informations is visually presented with all of the conections really resonates with the way I think.

 I mean there is nothing wrong with standart lists for action reminders but it's just easier for me to get the idea when the information is presented in a visual and a connected way as in the Brain. It's not important when dealing with action lists but it's a cool bonus.

* If I'm using the Brain as a single tool for everything then the information is constantly presented and in the same way and this also speeds things up. Of course it's a very small gain in speed but since the tool is used on a constant basis any increase in speed and decrease in effort is a huge advantage in the long run.

* Actions and projects are directly connected with any support material and it also means there is no switching between different representations of information. Everything is uniform.

 

 

 I don't get overwhelmed because after filtering all next actions by all criterias (Area of Focus, Context, Time, Energy) the list of actions generally goes from 50-100 to 5-10 and then it's fairly easy to make a choice based on Priority or on Intuition.

I don't have dedicated thoughts as lists for next actions (this could change if it was possible to filter by multiple parents thoughts) and I don't use Tags(contexts) as lists because they show actions grouped only by a single criteria and it's not enough(too many actions at once).

I always use the reports tool and filter by all criterias for reviewng actions. I don't keep those lists anywhere in the Brain, they are constantly generated on the fly. So the lists I actually review daily are fairly easy to choose actions from.

Also I have an interesting inbox system in the Brain...

 

   So I've decided to move all my action items into the Brain and use it as a complete system currently.

But I also follow a somewhat strict workflow process for doing GTD in the Brain so that nothing falls through the cracks. I do make sure to draw a line between the actionable stuff  and non actionable while still having them connected. 

Also about capturing items on the go - I prefer to simply use pen and paper for capturing when I'm on the go but I also carry a windows 7 tablet aswell as the iPad with me all the time and I also spend very little time on the go anyway so it's not really an issue for me.

Also english isn't my native language, I'm russian and hopefully my long posts aren't too painful to read
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zenrain
All very good points.
When I was using PB as my sole GTD system I admit that I relied on tags much more than reports. I can see that running custom reports could really narrow down the list of items that need to be done, and was probably one of the leading contributors of my issues with using using PB as a complete system.

I hope you check back in and let us know how it's going after a month or so. I'd be interested to hear how it went, and what workflow you ended up with.

P.S. Your English is fine. Far better than my Russian...
macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119
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StevenMay

Since I've been very heavily using Personal Brain for quite a while now I think I completely got the overall concept so I could distinguish what are main differences between Personal Brain and Evernote and similar apps

 

Made those conclusions while brainstorming with a mind map in PersonalBrain but will post as just text:

 

  • Evernote has:
    • Notebooks ( which work kind of like Types in Personal Brain)
    • Tags
    • Notes

 

  • PersonalBrain has:
    • Types
    • Tags
    • Thoughts (which work kind of like both tags and notes in Evernote but also provide a lot more functionality, more on that below)

 

Main differences:

 

Evernote has a strict hierarchy for tags(which are used as topics/categories).

 

Sure you can have a note under multiple tags but then a note is not a category(tag is). And you can't have multiple connections for categories in any way except for keeping those connections in your head. (well in theory you could write about those connections in notes as well but then it's not practical and still hard to navigate and review )

 

PersonalBrain has a dynamic hierarchy for thoughts (which are used as notes as well as topics/categories and then they could also be further grouped by Types and Tags) and a strict hierarchy for Types and Tags (which aren't used for navigation as in Evernote and instead are used for filtering based on multiple criteria and more)

 

  • Evernote pros
    • It's easier to understand the concept
    • Fast to capture web content
    • great mobile support

 

  • Evernote cons
    • So basically remove all functionality from PersonalBrain except Types and Tags and you get Evernote (kind of)
    • only an outline view is available, no visualization and multiple connections (kind of the same con as above)

 

  • PersonalBrain pros
    • allows to visualize all kinds of connections and dynamic mind maps without strict hierarchies and etc.
    • possible to make unlimited connections between related categories and information
    • Better search (can search for categories instead of just notes as in Evernote. Also can use wildcards for search anywhere in the word and more)
    • faster to find and review data because of connections and multiple views/ways to look at the information
    • could be used as a better brainstorming and thinking tool compared to only basic text notes with multiple tags storage tool (evernote)

 

  • PersonalBrain cons
    • Slower to capture web content compared to Evernote (so I use Evernote as an additional Inbox)
    • Limited mobile version
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zenrain
Good comparison, I would pretty much agree, especially with the PB cons. Thanks for sharing!
macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119
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StevenMay
So more than a month has passed and I'm still using PB for everything and I can say that I like it a lot. 

It took a lot of time to get completely comfortable with the way I use it though, I wanted to develop a complete understanding about how to design my database and I'm glad I really took my time with that. 
PB is a very different to all other apps because of its flexebility and its networked data structure. So I did spend a lot of time thinking about it before I came to conclusions about how to use it in all(?) cases...

I really like how I can connect everything and be as crazy as I like with those connections while still following GTD exactly as described in the book and another thing I really like is that I'm using PB for more stuff than I expected, for example it's not just all GTD lists + support material + general reference in one tool, I also use it for brainstorming projects and what not and mind mapping, using natural planning model. It's great to have it all in one tool because it completely removes friction from switching between apps.

Another thing is that having everything in PB from my life purpose down to next actions improved my understanding of GTD a lot during this month.

I'm a lot more clear about what's a project and what's a next action and what's what now since I also have Ares of Focus and Goals and visions all in one place and connected. 

I have a lot more space to maneuver and I'm not limited by anything. I really like that. I mean PB gives me as much control as paper but with a lot more functionality. In a way I've designed the GTD system in PB from scratch which also means I have full control on what's what and where it goes compared to specific GTD apps where you already have a pre made structure forced on you so you can't have certain things to be exactly your way...

Some things that I used to have as projects are now actually goals and some things I used to have as next actions I now moved to checklists and Areas of Focus instead because they are actually habits that I want to develop and they don't really fit to projects and actions.
I also added an additional list/mind map - "dashboard" on top of my GTD system to see upcoming stuff which is not on cruise control yet all in one place and I also have my 6 level Horizons of Focus mind map there for a complete overview.

So very cool stuff overall 

I'm going to make a more detailed post about how I use PB for GTD but a little later.. It's on my Someday/Maybe


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StevenMay
I've actually made it a bit earlier than I expected. here is this post http://forums.thebrain.com/post?id=2744849&pid=1268943857#post1268943857
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