Tinderbox Forum

SheetPlanner (topic split)

I’m not clear on the protocol for mentioning other products here, so please delete this if it’s not appropriate.

If (like me) you’re an old-time Ecco hand, you might want to look at Sheetplanner (www.sheetplanner.com). It’s in beta at present and it’s no alternative to TB in terms of managing and organising notes (not even close). But it does use the Ecco model of an outline with columns and has great flexibility. I’m using it as an adjunct to TB and instead of OmniOutliner/iThoughtsX and I’m enjoying it.

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Is there a download link @ThatGuy?

You can email Peter at support@sheetplanner.com to be added to the beta - no direct download yet

This topic probably belongs in its own thread (@mwra can move it if he wants). I’ve used SheetPlanner a lot in beta. It’s good for what it does, which so far is fairly limited. I think of it more as a planning app not a note taking app, but I can see it could be used that way. Exports in either OPML or CSV format. Tinderbox has better success importing the SheetPlanner OPML than CSV. Probably because the CSV format is not adept at representing hierarchical data, which is what SheetPlanner produces.

(Over here, CSV import in Tinderbox 7 frequently gets weird or garbled results, so I avoid importing CSV if I can.)

A post was merged into an existing topic: Q. Is it possible to show the titles of linked notes in Outline columns?

Hi Paul,
Do you have an email address that I can reach you at?

You can email me at support@sheetplanner.com and I will respond there if that’s convenient.

Thank you.

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It looks kinda like OmniPlan (which I haven’t used). Is it kinda like OmniPlan?

I don’t want to disrespect the TinderBox developer by speaking about my product in his forums. Can you contact me at support@sheetplanner.com and I will provide you with more details.

Note - I think SheetPlanner and Tinderbox are probably fairly complementary products more so than competitors…

Not really. OmniPlan is a pure project management app - it handles schedules, dependencies, resources and costs and is overkill for most task planning. The Gantt chart it produces is simply a representation of what might be complex underlying information about all the above factors.

SheetPlanner is (among other things) a structured task management tool - it’ll do you a timeline (Gantt chart) based on how you’ve put your tasks together but it does a multitude of other things that OmniPlan doesn’t do. It’s more in the line of a Personal Information manager (remember those?).

I’m experimenting with SP as a way of doing the high level planning for projects I run - then I use OmniFocus for my own task management and Omniplan (or Merlin) for the formal project planning and management. SP is a much more friendly environment for the early stage thinking than any of the others I’ve mentioned.

In my own personal ecosystem, it’s closer to Curio than anything else.

I’m curious to know what that looks like for you. I’m sort of in a similar situation.

Here are two messages I sent to Peter re: SheetPlanner

I use Tinderbox and OmniFocus all the time.

My biggest challenge right now is seeing “the big picture” – which I can’t see at all in OmniFocus, and which I can kinda make happen in Tinderbox but don’t really like to. It’s the GTD horizons beyond projects.

Some of the questions I ask:

  • Am I investing enough time and energy in my areas of focus?
  • Am I fulfilling my responsibilities in the various roles I have?
  • Are my areas of focus / responsibilities balanced?
  • What projects will I work on this week / month / quarter / year?

It’s really about the stuff that matters to me, rather than the details of daily living (e.g. “mow lawn” wouldn’t be useful to me here)

Additionally, OmniFocus isn’t good at showing me what I’ve done. It has a “completed” perspective, but that’s pretty much a big bucket of every task I’ve finished. I’m more interested in what meaningful work I’ve accomplished over the last week / month / quarter / year.

So to boil it down, what meaningful work have I accomplished over previous timeframes, and what meaningful work am I planning to do over upcoming timeframes?

first I’m trying to put in some historical data. I’ve been taking a go-at-your-own-pace course, and want to see how it’s been going.

I think of it as broken down into:

  • the course
    • individual lessons of the course
      • working sessions to complete the lessons

So for example, on 9/18/17 I started lesson 1. I met with the instructor for an hour (a working session), and did a 2 hour session to complete the homework later that day.

(lots of lessons in between)

I started another lesson on 9/4/18. I met with the instructor for an hour. I did an hour-long working session on 9/8/18, and a 3-hour working session on 9/12/18.

What I’m hoping to see, visually, and get answers to are:

  • how much calendar time has the course taken? it’s just from the time I started the course, until now since it’s still ongoing

  • how much calendar time have the individual lessons taken? those are from the time I start the lesson, to the time I submit my homework

  • how much wall clock time has the course and individual lessons taken? those are aggregates of the working sessions I’ve done

Can I do that? I see I can view the timeline as weeks / months / quarters / years. Right now it’s showing me that the course started some time in September 2017 (which is good enough for me) but there’s no indication that it’s still ongoing.

hi, pat

Did you get the answers? It is interesting where you are with SheetPlanner evaluation. Or you decided to take some other direction?

I poked around with it for a bit but didn’t see much there for me. It didn’t seem well suited to tracking a long-running project like that. Or at least, didn’t provide me the information I wanted.

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I’m still experimenting with it. It’s definitely not a full-blown project management tool. Although they’re intending to add dependencies in a forthcoming released, it’s not built for large-scale projects. It works well on a small. scale - decorate a room.

It’s not yet a task manager either - not enough granularity and analysis - although I understand it’s likely to move more in. that direction. However, without mobile options (no apps planned for IOS/Android), I think that. will eb a challenge.

Where it works very well is in the early stages of laying out a project - you can record enough data to provide a decent stab at. the high-level structure. You’ll then get to a point where you need to. move into more robust management tools - Merlin/MS Project or one of the good Agile tools, depending. on the. PM approach. You could usefully retain SP as a way of keeping a simplified, high-level view. If importing and reporting were improved, it could sit nicely there and provide an easy way of reporting to project stakeholders.

It also works well as a PIM - notes, calendar, tasks lists, and links. to documents, emails and the like. This is much closer to the old EccoPro use case.

I think it’s a worthwhile addition to what’s becoming. a very fragmented sector (lots of different ideas about how to organise notes, actions and dates) but out won’t work for everyone.

I would like to provide feedback but I really don’t want to disrespect the Tinderbox folks by using their forum to discuss our application. I will be happy to share information on our roadmap and long term vision with anyone who wishes to contact us directly at support@sheetplanner.com.
Thanks all.

@ThatGuy @pat I’m also very conscious of the “medium term perspective” challenges you discuss here. Stumbling upon this conversation several months on I wondered if you got anywhere? If not SheetPlanner did you find anything else, based on TBX or otherwise? (@ThatGuy specifically - I’ve found OmniPlan and Merlin but what are the “good Agile tools” you mention?) Thanks both…

Yeah I’ve been using Agenda. I love it. Its killer feature is that it can attach notes to calendar events, dates, or date ranges. re: “medium term perspective”, it works great for breaking down goals / milestones.

What I do is, for a goal w/ a target date or deadline, I create a note starting from today until that date. So when I look at “Today,” it will show up there. Then I can create notes for smaller milestones. This has the effect of showing me what I’m actively working on to work towards the main goal.

  • I pin items that are goals, meaning they show up at the tops of their respective projects. These are key outcomes that I’m working towards
  • notes that appear below those are sub-goals, milestones, objectives, whatever you want to call them… essentially actions I’m taking to work towards that main goal

I’ve got this goal of “Goal 1” that I would like to achieve by 8/18/21. Well, I’m not sure exactly how to do that, but I have some good things to try this week: action 1, action 2, action 3. I created notes for each of those, assigned to this week. How this reads to me is, “My long-term goal is to achieve Goal 1. Here’s what I’m doing this week to get there.” And from there, I’ve chosen to include weekly data within a single note, because it’s a simple daily checklist. But if my actions were more complex, I could create one per day.

I’ve got this other goal, “Goal 2.” I have a few key things that I want to do to get there, but I’m currently not planning on doing anything with them this week. “Action 1” is a pretty big one, so most likely I’ll create a note that spans roughly 3 or 4 months, with a week note that is something like “Do Action 1 three times weekly.”

It’s a way of helping me set one key goal, and break it down into multiple subgoals, with their own objectives and timelines. And I can be flexible about the scope and timeline of everything.

Below those goals are some projects I’ve got going on. “Project 1” is a commitment I made, so I want it on my radar until it’s done. The thing I’m doing this week to get there is “Prepare final draft.” And then “Meeting w/ Boss” is a one-off meeting I have later today, so I’ve taken some notes of things I want to talk about with him.

I really like that I can have context for everything I’m working on… the long-term goals, the mid-range milestones, and the daily / weekly nitty gritty of what I’m doing.

I hope that helps. I’m happy to respond to any other questions.

Also, I think you could totally do this in Tinderbox as well. In fact, my experience with these sorts of tools is that once I understand their process / perspective, I can model it in Tinderbox, and I usually do. But in this case, I like using Agenda because its interface is so nice, and it supports iOS and syncs across devices.

@pat thanks so much - I know Agenda but hadn’t thought of using it in this way (I’ve been doing something similar but arguably less flexible in OmniFocus - but as you say the software tool isn’t the important aspect). Appreciate your willingness to share a real world example, too. Makes it much clearer.

Thanks for the Agenda description. Do you have the paid version and/or can you comment at all about the need for the paid features?

I do have the paid version. It’s remarkably useful even without the paid features. But, I do use several of them daily:

  • choose calendars
  • full width images
  • pin notes
  • save searches


It sounds like you’ve replaced OF with Agenda, then? Gone all in?

If so, what (if anything) do you miss?