A Nifty Planning Tool Made for Exactly the Way Our Mind Works

by Vienn
9 replies
Hey guys,


I'm not sure if I'm posting at the right category. Anyway I just wanted to share a cool task management tool which really puts everything in perspective.

This isn't new. I believe this program has been around for a while now but many are not aware of it because it's not heavily promoted.

I discovered this a couple of years ago from a newsletter by Randy Ingermason -- a fiction author I've been following. It's called Fractal Planner. (Go ahead and Google it). Basically, it allows you to rearrange tasks and subtasks in an orderly manner.

But here's what's unique about the Fractal Planner. When we create tasks for a particular project, many of these are still unclear and need to be broken down into subtasks. And from these subtasks, some still need to be broken down until they become concrete and doable.

With Fractal planner, you can do this in as much depth as you want.

For example if you're an ebook publisher. Your tasks involve planning the topic, researching, writing, revising, editing, creating cover design, and promoting.

If you've ever written an ebook before, you know there's so much more to that. For example when promoting, you'll need to write a sales copy first (duh). But before you do that, you need to find the benefits of your ebook and find out how to outline them in a persuasive manner. Then you also need to outsource the landing page and design. But not before you put up a job posting somewhere.

In short, some tasks can't be done without doing their subtasks first. And from those subtasks, there are still some mini subtasks.

In the process, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of your goal especially if you have other projects/goals going on.


Here's what I love about the Fractal Planner:

- It allows me to view my projects in detail without losing sight of the big picture.

- It helps me see how each subtask fits in my major goal.

- It declutters all the random tasks floating in my mind. There's a nifty feature called Clear Mind Wizard which does just that.

- Keeps me laser-focused on whatever project I'm working on

- Also allows me to schedule my tasks in Google calendar, Woot woot!


Only downside I see is there's no mobile app for this so I need to be on the computer every time I need to access the planner. (I get around this by printing out my Master Plan) This is also a subscripton-based program to be paid monthly.

I think the price is worth it considering the amount of focus it gives me. As a result I'm no longer overwhelmed and more motivated to carry out my goals.

Overall, this is the best task management I've tried. I've tried many others including Remember the Milk, and though I love its simplicity, it doesn't allow me to create levels for each task. The only similar programs I know that allow me to plan this way are mindmaps. But still, they don't give the same task management functionalities as Fractal planner does.

If you guys know of a similar program let me know. Would also love to hear your thoughts about this.


Thanks!
#made #mind #nifty #planning #task management #tool #works
  • Profile picture of the author watman
    This is a bit like mind mapping, developed by Tony and Barry Buzan. Mind mapping is more graphical but the key concepts are the same, being able to fragment and move things about.

    There are lots of tools available for mind mapping, some free some paid for imindmap is good and has a mobile version
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9564739].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Vienn
      Originally Posted by watman View Post

      This is a bit like mind mapping, developed by Tony and Barry Buzan. Mind mapping is more graphical but the key concepts are the same, being able to fragment and move things about.

      There are lots of tools available for mind mapping, some free some paid for imindmap is good and has a mobile version
      True. I'm a big fan of mindmapping and use it when brainstorming for content ideas. I use FreeMind. I also tried it for managing my tasks. Problem is there's no way to arrange the tasks vertically so I can sort them by priority. Also, it doesn't integrate with Google calendar which is important to me as I'm a calendar geek.
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9565070].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author watman
        Originally Posted by Vienn View Post

        True. I'm a big fan of mindmapping and use it when brainstorming for content ideas. I use FreeMind. I also tried it for managing my tasks. Problem is there's no way to arrange the tasks vertically so I can sort them by priority. Also, it doesn't integrate with Google calendar which is important to me as I'm a calendar geek.
        Both iMindMap and Mindgenius will allow you to export to calendar, outlook for sure. Most mapping tools allow export to other document types i.e word, excel etc. you could maybe do an export to a word document for your tasks and then sort them from there?
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9565220].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author dburk
          Hi Vien,

          I tried many different productivity tools, and while I looked at Fractal Planner, it did not appeal to me as much as some of the others. I tried RTM, Todoodle, Todoist (and wedoist), a long time ago, they all worked, but never provided as much flexibility as I needed. It can be tough finding the right balance between ease of use and flexibility and speed.

          A while back I found and used Trello, which I liked for it's ease of use and flexibility. However, it still lacked features I desired. I finally settled on Asana.com which is a great productivity app, easy to use, though it does take a few days to get the hang of it.

          The developers of Asana previously worked for Google, and then Facebook, to develop the productivity tools that allowed those companies to grow fast and large with relatively small teams. They left Facebook a couple years ago and started Asana, so it is based on all they learned while building tools for those 2 companies.

          Once you have learned the basics, Asana is very quick and easy to use. Lots of flexibility, both in how you organize projects, tasks and subtasks, as well as integrations with many other apps, including Calender apps like Google Calendar and automation services like Zapier. Also, Asana has mobile apps for Android and iOS.

          Another thing that Asana is great for is collaboration among teams. I have employees in multiple locations and it makes it easy to assign tasks and keep track of what's done and still needs to be done on a project. Asana is free for teams of 15 people or less, so that helps smaller companies to get started using a powerful tool for free until they reach a size that the cost will not be a factor.

          And finally, Asana offers an API that allows me to integrate my custom in-house apps to work seamlessly with Asana. There are many more cool features but those are some of the ones that sealed the deal for me.

          A few others worth mentioning are:
          www.Droptask.com - Visual Task Management
          https://Todoist.com - Simple and clean layout, multilevel sub projects and sub tasks
          Any.do | Good day. Every day. - Simple mobile todo list (no projects)
          www.Trello.com - based on Kanban method
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9565553].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Vincent Joseph
    Great thread! I think planning and organizing things in your mind will make the difference between success and failure. I think I have a lot of trouble with this. Im kind of a scatterbrain sometimes
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9567485].message }}

Trending Topics