Thanks for your description.
I’d say that one of the main ingredients in Agenda’s greatness is that it can be used in so many different ways, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. I’m just an Agenda beginner, so I’ll probably change my usage as time goes by, and I’m actually not yet ready with my preparations. Nonetheless, here is my very personal recipe, or testimonial, in case it could inspire someone:
Contrary to @joseantoniolopezpaye , I don’t use Agenda as a kind of calendar to keep track of dates (for that purpose, I use OmniFocus) and then review the outcome. Instead, as a researcher, I use it to record various aspects of my project in the way described on AppStore and that made me interested in Agenda in the first place, namely to build a timeline—or rather a set of parallel but interconnected timelines—that documents the progress of the project, and to some extent plans its future. Unlike in, e.g., business (of which I’m experienced), where things can be scheduled with some degree of temporal precision, the times when inspiration hits in hard sciences can’t be assigned a date. Inspiration comes when it’s damn good and ready. Neither can it be planned what’ll be the result. Things are as they are, and my job is to discover how they are. At best, there can be conjectures. I keep track of these conjectures, and the work with them, as well as anything else. Here’s an overview of my vast Agenda structure for managing my project; creative parts as well as the tedious walk of life with documentation etc., and as you see, Agenda indeed as a result yields a pretty detailed documentation of the research—and its development over time, including both the good and the bad events:
- I work with a structure of categories with subcategories.
- To keep track of development, I never edit or delete notes, I just add new ones.
- There are frequent “cross references” (i.e., links) between notes in the various categories/subcategories to show the interdependence and simplifying tracking ideas and connections between different parts of the project.
- At “top level” I collect the ideas, the conjectures, the problems, etc., and of course the actual results, each of these (and some more) in its own Agenda project, where each note discusses a stage in the progress, or regress when that inevitably occurs. I therefore also have an Agenda project with discarded ideas (and so on), together with the reasons for discarding them. In that way, mistakes and erroneous thoughts and beliefs are saved for future reference, in order not to repeat them.
- In one chunk there are collections of things to work with in different ways, such as conjectures to test, problems to solve, areas that need deepened understanding, and so on. There is also one “urgent” Agenda project.
- Notes that at the moment seem to be more interesting, from the point of view of progress given the current state of art, are put On the Agenda, to keep track of what should have some sort of priority. Of course, OtA is not my boss, but my subordinate, to help me feel the current foci. But inspiration is after all inspiration, and when it hits me, I have everything else, too, immediately at my fingertips, by dint of the overall category structure.
- Agenda yields a sort of documentation, but merely a personal one, for work management purposes. Other kinds of documentation are naturally needed, and another chunk is devoted to those different kinds; what to write where—in my detailed and highly structured compilation of results, in the books I write on the subjects, material for homepage and blog, and so on. When my brain is emptied of creativity, I look there to know what ought to be written in different places, with hints on how. As you see, the overall structure contains everything needed to keep the process going, regardless of state of mind.
- There is more, but since everybody must be bored stiff by now, maybe it’s time to finish this description.
All in all, y’all see how Agenda’s ingredients can be used to give an extensive documentation of virtually every thought that has been thought whilst researching. The potential is all built in Agenda, only the ideas how to use it in each one’s preferred manner have to be added. And the work, of course.
Hopefully, at least someone got some inspiration.