Planning vs Execution

There are hundreds of books about planning. People want to be mobile and effective. Work more, earn more, die rich! I find it very positive, the opposite would be “Work less, stay sick, die miserably”.

There are also a lot of programs on PC, which help you to get your planning right. I’m not talking at this moment about professional project management tools, but about simple personal planning. Personally I think almost all those programs are useless in itself. You have to know, how to use them. They’re like a 3 meter-long lance. You suppose to learn kung-fu for 20 years, only after that you can defend yourself with a lance.

You have to understand the theory of planning and execution. Actually, the planning itself (on a personal level), could be done very easily on a sheet of paper. You don’t need any computer to help you with that. The real challenge lies in the execution of your plan. How to make sure, that you’ll be following your plan day after day several months for example. It’s much harder, then in looks.

Of course, everything was already discovered before us and books are written on this subject as well. The best one, which describes the correct theory of “execution” is Getting Things Done. The book is written in American motivation style, which I don’t like that much, but it also has some interesting ideas. After understanding why and how you should execute your personal plan, you can (and actually should) use a computer program for that. Please note, in the description of the software there is a clear indication, that it uses GTD (Getting Thins Done) theory.

  • My Life Organized – my personal favorite, I use it already 1.5 years. A lot of features. Disadvantages: there is no especial queue for “Waiting for” tasks and no mobile version
  • Tudumo – version with a bit less features, but with more modern design. Also, no mobile version at the moment
  • Thnigs – very, very nice software, unfortunately only for Apple products – Mac and iPhone

Those all are  “execution” programs. There are also pure “planning” programs. I’ve tried a lot of them, but I don’t have feeling they’re helping me with anything. Yes, after you make a nice diagram with your current projects or knowledge, you feel much smarter. You can also send it to your boss and get a raise. But it doesn’t help to plan. I prefer to do planning on a paper and then create projects/tasks in My Life Organized. Anyway, if you like to try them, here is a couple of examples:

  • The Brain – graphical mind mapping software. I don’t know, may be my brain doesn’t work like this.
  • MindManager – something in the middle between personal and corporate planning.
  • Freemind – free version of MindManager
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  • There is actually a mobile version of My Life Organized, at least for Windows Mobile. And they are working on iPhone, Blackberry and Android versions, too.

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