Following on from David Allen's Mind Mapping Webinar, where David discussed various ways he uses MindManager as a brainstorming tool, I 'd like to share how I use GyroQ and MindManager maps to support my GTD process.

I first learned about Gyronix GyroQ early last year when my friend, and mind mapping expert, Nick Duffill (of Beyond Mind Mapping) called me to tell me about his latest project. I was intrigued with the idea of a memory-resident capture tool that I could use to collect my thoughts to a map where I could see them organize them easily. I couldn't wait to start working with the product.


GyroQ captures ideas and actions quickly, without breaking your concentration - a kind of "interrupt management" solution. This supports how I use the GTD methodology helping me stay focused, and separating the capture of ideas and interruptions from their processing. A MindManager map can be a great place to process and review, and decide on whether something should become an action. But opening up MindManager or Lotus Notes just to add something to a list is a risky strategy, as there is every chance that I will become involved in the map again and start re-thinking, as my brain will have had time to incubate things since my last visit.

GyroQ is simply a smart capture tool

GyroQ just captures things, and sends them to MindManager in batches later on. This works for me, and lets me get back to my work.

The feature that makes this work for me is the ability to "tag" items as I capture them, so that they are pre-sorted ready for review when they finally get to a MindManager map. I use customized versions of these tags to sort things by key projects for clients or family. When an idea or action arrives, I know which of the big boxes it can go in. The finer points, such as whether I actually need to do anything about it, often can (and should) be negotiated later. I realize that some may argue that this is a less than perfect GTD implementation but it works for me. What I want is a quick way to capture a thought so that I can remain focused on my work.

I can also capture directly into GTD lists

A logical step towards providing more explicit support for GTD is to use Tags that put captured items straight into the standard GTD "lists". NOTE: If you already have GyroQ, there is an example "Tag Library" map that you can download from here. This map lets you reconfigure your GyroQ tags to post straight to five GTD lists: an "In-tray" of unknown items that need processing, a list of Committed actions, a list of Someday/Maybe actions, a list of Projects, or a list of things you are waiting for. GyroQ maintains these lists in a single MindManager map, where you can process, review and take action as a simple way to support your GTD system. This is far from a complete GTD implementation, as this does not give you the benefits of things like a proper filing system. But if you work frequently from a Windows PC and use MindManager, then this will give a lightweight system for capturing and processing ideas and actions. I understand from Gyronix that they are also working on a mobile edition and, if I can encourage it, a special version for Lotus Notes.(hint)

I now capture more than I did before

If you are like me, you may find that it is much easier to capture actions than to do them, and the toughest part of all is deciding not to do them. Making an electronic capture process fast and easy could actually make the swamping effect worse for people who like to collect cool stuff on the fly - like me. I think the secret of using GyroQ (or any capture tool) is to develop your skill in deciding what to do and what not to do. Being able to see all your stuff in a map where it is easy to manage priorities visually is potentially a good step - provided you have the discipline to take advantage of it rather than let it intimidate you. For me, some weeks are better than others.

If this sounds like a tool you could use, be sure to check out the GyroQ web site. This summer I blogged about GyroQ. The blog entry and video link contained with quickly became one of the more popular pages on my site. I encourage you to check it out.

Discussion/Comments (6):

GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together

I enjoy your blog quite a bit. My favorite is your post on bathroom capture tools. The best ideas always seems to show up just as I step into the shower when GyroQ is not near by. My wife hasn't bought into the required decore changes just yet :-).

Working with a few other GyroQ users, we recently put together a set of GyroQ tags to automatically mark up and direct GyroQ tasks based on content. For example "Create a quick GyroQ video to post on blog this week!" goes to the designated "blog" map with a context of "computer" and a deadline of Friday. It will also conditionally add links, notes, and icons.

{ Link }

If you are using ResultsManager and GyroQ frequently, this can save quite a bit of time.

The site also demonstrates several other "hacks" to GyroQ that uses might find helpful.

Posted at 02/02/2007 2:24:32 by ActivityOwner

re: GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together

Thanks for the link ActivityOwner. I've bookmarked your site and will follow up. Eric

Posted at 02/02/2007 8:15:04 by Eric Mack

GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together

Yes - definitely go check out the ActivityOwner site - it takes GyroQ to the next logical level and saves you massive amounts of time.

Posted at 02/05/2007 8:53:21 by Jim

GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together


I see how you use GyroQ as a capture tool, but where and how do you keep your official project lists? It seems like you might keep them in MindManager from your comments above, but if so, what do they "look" like?

I've tried MindManager/ResultsManager for GTD before, but I felt overwhelmed by the complexity of navigation, etc. And yet I miss the ability to see the "big picture" of my projects and sub-projects, etc.



Posted at 03/01/2007 4:46:00 by Colin

re: GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together

Colin, I use GyroQ to capture - that it does well. The challenge, as you have stated is how to take what you;ve captured and bring it into something else.

Personally, I manage all of my projects in my eProductivity Template for Lotus Notes - this makes it easy for me to implement the GTD methodology in Lotus Notes.

As far as collecting, I've looked at adding a parser to my template that would allow me to use GyroQ to captyure my ideas straigt into my Notes Template. Not much progress on that front yet, but I know what I need to do.


Posted at 03/01/2007 13:10:01 by Eric Mack

GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together

What about creating a OneNote template based on GTD (Getting Things Done)?. There are a lot of people interested on it, some are trying it their own way... just search "GTD Onenote".

I´m sure that an "official" template will boost the sales of OneNote since it will automatically gather that whole target market.

Posted at 10/12/2009 5:28:50 by Project Management

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