Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Rise And Fall Of The Uber-Maps -- The Conclusion

Since getting MindManager back in the X5 days, I've created many "uber-maps." Here's the story of the most recent (and final) one:

Inspired by the swell of the new year . . . new beginnings . . . I set my goals for the year, only this time I used a mindmap. I grandly called this one the "2006 Goal Achievement Map." And this time, I swore it was going to be different.

Now here's something you only learn from experience.

Uber-maps are like gremlins. Like in the movie "Gremlins." As you'll recall, the gremlins were innocent and cuddly . . . 'til you got water on them.

Uber-maps start out innocently and with the best of intentions -- until you start using them.

Then it gets ugly.

Then they bite you in the ass.

But no! This time I was really going to adhere to the discipline of only putting links in the 2006 map that tracked back to their original project, sub-project or action items.

That way, when I opened my "2006 Goal Achievement Map" (you have to say it out loud and grandly to get the full effect), I would only see the things that needed my attention, with links back to the original project maps for fuller detail and context.

Yep. My resolve was firm. I had learned my lesson on the previous maps and this time was going to be different (yeah, yeah quit laughing, smartass).

As you probably guessed, it was different. But only for a little while.

Soon . . . all too soon, it started to collapse under the weight of it's non-functionality. Which is a fancy way of saying it went the way of all uber-maps -- they became storage maps and eventually I created other maps to do the job the uber-map was supposed to do.

And that realization felt too much like the one that yielded the benzene molecule.

Unwittingly, I was continuously creating and re-creating the poor man's ResultsManager.

I was coming to the realization that if I didn't start using ResultsManager (or something like it), I'd be forced to keep coming up with something like it in order to get all my urgent to-do's in front of me and keep them there until the tasks were completed.

Now you're probably wondering just what kind of nitwit keeps doing something that doesn't work? Why didn’t I just buy ResultsManager?

Well, as detailed previously, I wasn't able to vet it to my satisfaction. And that, my friend, weak though it sounds, is the strongest defense I can make for feeble thinking.

Again, it's the devil know vs. unknown conundrum.

Sure, the old way wasn't working. But at least I knew how to cope and I knew where it didn't work and how to patch my way around it.

But new software? Automating my project management? Turning over that kind of control and power over my professional life? Yikes!

Too unproven, too unknown to risk several businesses on.

Or so I thought . . .

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