A few posts ago, I mentioned a new web, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad app called Workflowy that lets you develop a semi-free-form outline of anything. I have been creating an outline of my life and today I added about 1000 lines (where I had lived, where I had worked, the family tree and their health issues, my favorite movies by type, where my parents had taken me on summer vacations, where I had taken my family on vacations, where I visited on business, and a few other things). Since this is a free-structure outline database, I can easily reorganize items later (drag-and-drop).
I am getting all of these “facts” down both for myself to understand how the many things I did in 62 years fit together into a coherent whole view of my life. I also want to leave a “Manual of the Life of George Huba” behind for my children and grandchildren about what health problems their father and his side of the family had so that they can screen for such issues later in their lives, the family tree of folks we never talked about, events in my life they know about such as family vacations, and events they know very little about like starting a business or prior life events. A whole life in outline form (with notes).
What sold me on using Workflowy (I have tried alternative programs in the past; this one works much better) for the data collection/assembly is the fact that portions of the outline are easily captured, output as OPML files, and then can be imported into iMindMap, creating very useful mind maps almost magically. A couple of minutes of adding a few creative touches (I am too obsessive-compulsive to resist the temptation to customize) and there are useful visual displays of portions of my life.
Do yourself a favor, and capture such information as your life unfolds. Look at how the different themes go together and know yourself better. Look at the data visually in a mind map and other visualizations. And leave hard copy and data files behind for your family. This will be a huge gift.
a HubaMap™ by g j huba phd