Organising Your Life, Your Way

Thoughtboxes is often billed as a brainstorming tool without the markers and butchers paper. But it’s so much more than that. Thoughtboxes can be used for organisation, to do lists, brainstorming, collaboration, list making, and anything else that works in a linear fashion. Not only that, but Thoughtboxes is appealing to look at, with color coding, a grid structure, and an easy to use interface.

Now a lot of the time, blogs and other know-it-all people will tell you what the brilliant features are, where the flaws lie in the product, and other tip-of-the-iceberg information. How useful is it, really? Sure, if you’re deciding if you want to use the product, but once you’ve seen just how amazing it is, how do you know where to start? That’s my aim today.

First of all, if you’re not already sold by my convincing sales pitch earlier on, check out the following reviews.

Pretty vague, aren’t they? Then again, they are appealing to a particularly wide audience. Awesome Study, on the other hand…

So we said before that Thoughtboxes is an “organisational, to do lists, brainstorming, collaboration, list making, and anything else that works in a linear fashion” sort of tool. But what does this mean it can do for you?

Lets take a look at the structure of Thoughtboxes. Once you’ve signed up and logged in, you’ll see your dashboard, and from there, your trains of thoughts.

thought trains

Trains of Thoughts - Workspaces or Projects, your choice!

Life in Thoughtboxes depends on how you want to work. You can use these as sorts of ‘workspaces’ to separate parts of your life you’d like to organise, or they can be projects. You need to consider how many projects you’ll need to be working on at once. As someone with 8 classes and numerous extracurriculars, I knew it was necessary to use the workspace approach.

Using this method doesn’t limit you to vague plans though. You’re thinking, how am I going to be able to keep track of everything on a single page, it’s so complicated? What’s great, and definitely a stand-out feature, is that your page is virtually unlimited. The only limit is the strength of your internet connection, and in these days, is that really a problem? And if things get too cluttered, you can minimise boxes. Thoughtboxes is almost limitless in its possibilities. Take a peek at my School train of thought for a bit of hands-on action.

I'm organised now! (Click for larger image)

As you can see, there are a number of things going on here. To separate subjects, I’ve used empty and minimised boxes, some of which are outlined in purple. Underneath each of these are the projects or topics which are worked on, in the same color. Some subjects, like Maths, concentrate on one topic, which is simple to organise. A few, including English, are entirely project-oriented, working on at least one at any given time. Others, like Music and PLP, are less project oriented, but have multiple topics on the go.

The subjects with no assignments or work aren’t minimised, so I know I’m finished, as can be seen within the green boxes. Actionable and important items are starred, and will be linked to on the dashboard. These are highlighted with red boxes.

Thoughtboxes: not just for tasks!

This a clearly task-based use of Thoughtboxes, but there is a different approach to this. I use a thoughtbox to remind myself of the 16 Habits of Mind. Anything that you want to be reminded of on a regular basis can be stuck in there. Why not use it to keep track of your bibliography for your essay? Or stick in a quote to get you through when things get hard? Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get quoting. You can use that one if you want :).

You can also use it as a schedule. While using it as a calendar may require a bit (read: days) of set-up, your timetable is hopefully less complex. Throw in a few boxes for days, maybe add in another for due dates and tests, and you’re all set. A few times, course names and room numbers later, and your parents could actually mistake your for your super-evil,  super-organised twin.


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About Katie Walker

Hey, I'm a student. I'm into web development, so currently I'm working on my blog, a few Tumblr themes, and a few web apps for various purposes. It's exciting stuff.

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