Hi Everyone,

I just came upon this a few days ago as I was searching for a better way to organize my material, but also help me develop the big picture with all the areas I touch at work.  I am trying to understand how The Brain can help with my process.  For those of you who are saavy or creative in your thinking, I could really use your help to connect the dots on this for me.  Let me take a moment to describe how I typically file information and the process from start to end.

My Current Process:
1) I use Lotus Notes on my job.  A new email arrives into my inbox with subject and content on an issue, action, request, or FYI.
2) I open the email and copy the contents of it into a Lotus Notes Personal Journal database.  I copy the subject from the email and assign a TASK number (for example TASK-1: Follow-up with Team Leads about Reports) and I save that a new Journal Entry.
3) I then go to a personal spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel in which I document the entry with a Priority (1,2,3,4), the Title that maps to the heading of the entry, a due date, and the TASK number so I can locate the subject easily in the Journal Entry Database.
4) Each day, I change the due dates and priorities for the entries I have in my spreadsheet so I know what needs to be completed.

I typically will get roughly 30-40 emails per day on various subjects and issues in the business in which I file and store this information.

The benefits to my process is that I am able to know what needs to be done and when I need to follow-up on an action.  The problem becomes that I am involved in so many issues, they just all seem to mesh together and I just can't remember the details on one particular issue or how they are related/tie together.  I feel like I am too task oriented and need to be more high level in order to speak to my managers of areas that could be strategic or needs additional focus.

What I am trying to Achieve:
  • Would The Brain software help me get the big picture of all the various areas I am dealing with? 
  • I need the ability to define or highlight important areas that are critical to the business or that I need to keep updated on as part of my responsibilities, can the tool do this for me ?
  • Will The Brain system & organizational method help me with my process? 
I may have not asked all the right questions, but hopefully some of you may have the answers or suggestions on how I can improve my organization and develop the big picture of how everything ties together.

Thanks for any help.

Steven Mac

I'm not sure that I can speak directly to your process, but I can definitely say that the Brain is an excellent tool for your work environment.  Like you, I have a job that requires me to be task-oriented, maintain the big picture, and keep track of a multitude of other things.  At any given time, I supervise 18 - 25 people under the requirements of State and Federal contracts, and have to maintain records for reporting and auditing purposes.

I currently have nearly 17,000 thoughts which connect from 4 initial thoughts (I view them as thought-gates) --- Dashboard, Personal, Professional, and Reference ---- and 4 initial jumps ----- Start, Events, People, and Timeline.

3 thoughts are pinned to my plex: Start, Dashboard, and Daily Capture

Start: Links to all my Project Areas, Major Resources, Major Points of Contact

Dashboard: A central "gate" into all the major areas of my Brain as well as outside tools (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Mindmanager, Outlook etc) that I link to and pull into the plex. (Check out erickmackonline for ideas on how to integrate Lotus Notes)

Daily Capture:   My Inbox: This is where I pull things I need for the next day, thoughts I need to process, etc.

The Brain enables me to move from the small tasks to the big picture and back within a matter of seconds.  Recently, I demonstrated the benefits of the Brain to my boss, and was able to retrieve anything she asked for in a matter of 5 seconds or less.

The greatest key to using the Brain successfully, especially for those of us who need to function with order and hierarchy, is to really think about how you set your initial thoughts up to respond intuitively to the way you think.  This is those gateway-thoughts that establish a limited hierarchy.

Then, allow the rest of your Brain to move fluidly, like you naturally think.  When you're working in an area, and see connections, or see a better way to organize the information, do it (it only takes a matter of seconds).  You really can't make any mistakes, and can't lose information (thanks to a great search function) if you follow the pattern that works best for you.

The hardest part for me was getting past my fear that if I didn't maintain rigid hierarchies and structured patterns, that I would loose everything.  However, part of the brilliance of the Brain technology is that it enables us to create fluid structures and make connections that others wouldn't--this is great for big picture thinking.

I am now able to see the big picture, when others can't, without losing my grasp of the details.

For me, this has led to an increase in productivity, more confident decision-making, and a greater level of successful implementation based on those decisions.  Make the effort to wrap yourself around the ideas behind the Brain, allow yourself the freedom to think and organize more fluidly, you won't regret the investment of time and thought.

John A. Taylor
PB Pro 6
Win XP, Win 7
There are a lot of ways to implement what you might be looking for. One of the popular approaches is the Getting Things Done (GTD) method. You can find some discussions of this approach here and here
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.

I just returned from the book store of buying the "Getting Things Done" book.  I am going to give this a read.

It's a great read Steven, and a great reference.

Keep it close!

John A. Taylor
PB Pro 6
Win XP, Win 7

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