MindNode to OmniOutliner to OmniFocus

I am a big fan of mind mapping.  Before I got my beloved iPad I had two white boards on my walls and also used my bathroom mirrors, windows, and patio doors to write ideas on.  It worked, but not well.

As I’ve written elsewhere I use¬†MindNode.¬† It doesn’t do all the bells and whistles that some apps out there, but I don’t need my mind map to be able to place video and pictures and fancy shading and background music and brew a cup of coffee. ¬†Okay, maybe the coffee. ¬†But I need a mind map to be a mind map and to allow me to export it. ¬†I sometimes use¬†OmniGraffle¬†for mind mapping… but it has a little different feel. ¬†Sometimes I need a flowchart, sometimes I need branches. ¬†Depending on the caffeine intake of the day.

Sometimes sitting down to OmniFocus to come up with a project and tasks is daunting. ¬†While it is easier than writing because it is essentially in an outline form, sometimes outlines are not working for me. ¬†So today I sat down with my iPad and cranked up my¬†MindNode¬† and cranked out a basic overview of a project. ¬†It became apparent as I moved things around that some things were ¬†relying on others and I soon found that I had a couple of key ‘choke points’. ¬†Looking at this visual representation I got a good idea of how my project was going to work.

But how to get this into my beloved¬†OmniFocus? ¬†Fortunately for me I have¬†OmniFocus and¬†OmniGraffle (as well as¬†MindNode) on my iMac as well. ¬†I’ve not been able to figure out how to do this only on the iPad, but it works on the iMac.

Here is my mindmap. (click to enlarge)


I didn’t spend any time in writing it out in standard task language (reserve rooms, submit report) etc… I just wanted to get the ideas down.

And just to show how I think differently in different programs, here is what I cooked up in OmniGraffle, where here I was looking more at relationships instead of flows.

Then I exported the mindmap to myself in OPML format and emailed it to myself.  I could have also just saved it into my DropBox if I wanted to.

Back at my iMac I cranked open my desktop version of OmniOutliner and opened the file.  Then I selected each row so that they are all highlighted. This part seem crucial because when I just select a heading and/or do not have every row expanded, all of it did not export out.  So this is what it looks like in OmniOutliner when I selected every row.

Okay… easy peasy. ¬†Then I hit CTRL-C to copy and then crank up my¬†OmniFocus and hit¬†CTRL-V to paste. ¬†And what comes out is this:



And BAM! ¬†There it is. ¬†You’ll notice that it doesn’t have any contexts associated with it. ¬†I could have added a column while it was in¬†OmniOutliner to do this… but to me that is the same step that I’ve got to do here, so might as well wait to do it here than there. ¬†I’m don’t think I’m losing out on any efficiency. ¬†Also, to those who use¬†GTD you’ll notice that it isn’t written in actionable steps… but again I just wanted to get it in here quick. ¬†With it here I can do what I want but I have a better starting place than what I did earlier in less time. ¬†And, remembering another post from the past, there is always exporting my¬†OmniFocus out to MindNode via a great applescript that (thank you Robin Trew). ¬†I wish that¬†MindNode could do what¬†iThoughts did and have each node link to the corresponding task¬†OmniFocus, but again, I like the environment of¬†MindNode¬†that much more. ¬†Plus I’m not sure how much, if at all, I’d use that function. ¬†I might use it a TON, I might not. ¬†I have both installed on my iPad… I’ll give it a shot and see. ¬†The important thing is not to add more parts, faces, interfaces to something and increase its complexity, but to aid me in the capturing and creating of data where I can than act on them from their spots.

2 thoughts on “MindNode to OmniOutliner to OmniFocus

  1. Nice post. I am not able to test this at the moment, but I think you can shortcut your process a little bit.

    In OmniGraffle, export the mindmap as an OmniOutliner 3 document. You can then use the import function in OmniFocus to add all the tasks (including the nests) . Hope that helps

  2. I will test that out when I get around to buying OmniGraffle for the desktop. Right now I cannot export from OmniGraffle for iPad as an OmniOutliner document. That’d be really nifty, however.

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