It seems I’m always looking for a better project and task management system. I’ve been through Task Coach, Mindmapping software, Microsoft Project, Remember the Milk, Task Merlin, Producteev, and now Manymoon. These are all great products but none fit all of my needs. I’d like to think that some where out there is the right system for me; however, I’d be a bit of a fool to truly believe that.
Managing Idea Productivity
After reading the book “Don’t waste your Talent” by McDonald and Hutcheson, I was able to identify that I have high idea productivity. I always have an idea popping in my head. Of course, they’re not all great ideas but I’ve got to do something with them. They can’t all fit in my head. This need to explore many different ideas is one of the reasons I’m so interested in freelancing. And no, high idea productivity, is not a code word for ADD!
My desks at work and at home were covered with little notes of ideas. A good task/idea management system was the perfect place to store these and get them out of my head. This is one of the reasons I have a hard time finding the right task management product. I need idea management integrated with my task management because I never know when idea will become a task or vice-versa.
Trying to manage ideas as well as tasks means a large portion of my project and task management is not actionable in the traditional sense. Sure, maybe the next action is to think about it and research it further, but the reality is that I don’t have enough time to fully research all of my ideas. So it’s not about managing action, it’s about storing my ideas and the progress I've made on ideas so that when the time comes to pursue it, I can build from where I last left off.
Traditional Project Management
I also have the need to do project and task management in the traditional sense. I need to track time, make estimates, list next actions, chart milestones, delegate tasks, and yes, I occasionally need a Gantt chart. So I need a good structured system at times. It would also be nice to use an application that helps me manage development processes like ADDIE. An application that is aware of these processes can help keep me on track.
Another requirement I have for managing projects and tasks is that I want only one communication dashboard. I don’t want multiple calendars, multiple applications for tasks, multiple ways of getting notifications, and so on. This is one of the reasons I think Manymoon is promising because it allows me to use my existing Google Docs, Calendar, credentials, and LinkedIn contacts. Being in the cloud like this will stink when I have an Internet connectivity issue, but it is great when I’m connecting from different devices. It is not uncommon for me to use 3 or 4 different devices to access my information in one day.
So the search is still on for a partner who will help manage the ideas coming out of my brain and remind me the next steps I need to take to turn ideas into reality. I’m enjoying the nice dinner conversations I’m having with Manymoon but I know in the back of my head that these relationships often leave me feeling incomplete and wanting more.