Organiser tutorial - getting started

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Introduction

This tutorial will get you quickly up and running with Organiser. Note the version used here was Organiser v3.3, so functionality may have been subtly modified in newer versions.

The idea of Organiser is to have folders, each containing items (mostly 'todos' and 'actions') that need attention, and possibly subfolders to be able to subdivide larger tasks. The software does not enforce much; there is no limit to the level of subfolders you can add, and each folder can contain different types of items.

The most-often item type used is the 'Todo' item; a single line of text indicating something that needs to be done. There is also an 'Action' item type, which is more involved; it has a start date, a duration (in days), and possibly someone responsible to handle the task.

But it doesn't stop there; other item types exist that store information such as 'Facts', 'Agreements' and 'Locations'. These store general information which can be useful to keep close to a project's todo list. So, Organiser can also be used as a small kind of hierarchical knowledgebase. A quick text filter ensures that items can be found quickly if needed.

Installation

First install the product; it will create a shortcut in the computer's Start menu under 'Organiser'. Navigate the start menu to start Organiser.

The initial screen

The opening screen shows a menu at the top, then a hierarchical (tree) view of the items on the left side and an item list view on the right side. Organiser uses a hierarchy of items to create a top-down list of things you need to remember.

There is only 1 folder; 'All folders'. That is the top of the hierarchy; this folder cannot be deleted or renamed.

As you can see, no items or subfolders are present yet. Create a folder by clicking on the ribbon's 'Create folder' button (see figure 1), or right-click on 'All folders' in the tree view and select 'Add subfolder'.

planner make group
Figure 1

Clicking the 'Create folder' button shows you a dialog where you can enter the new folder's name. Enter 'Private' for example; see figure 2. Then click OK or press the ENTER key. Note that you can optionally select a default item type to store in this new folder. This decides what item type to create by default, if you double click in the item list view. For now, just leave it at 'None specifically'; you can always change it later, and it won't enforce only items of the particular type.

new group
Figure 2

Now you should have this view (see Figure 3 below) with your newly created folder, as a subfolder of 'All folders'. The 'Private' folder is also selected; it is hilited in the tree on the left, and it is shown in the item list view on the right, combined with the current date.

planner first group
Figure 3

Note that the new folder is automatically selected. The items and folder that you create can always be shuffled around later on, so you're never stuck to a folder layout. In practice, its useful to subdivide folders once there are too many items (around 20-30) and redo your layout.

Adding a ToDo item

Now it's time to add some that you want to do. For that, click on the 'Add Todo' button in the menu ribbon, as shown in Figure 4.

add todo
Figure 4

This shows the 'To Do' dialog (Figure 5), where you can enter what needs to be done, and select a priority (the default is 'Medium'). The priority decides the order of displaying; you can often just leave it at Medium. After typing it in, press OK or hit the ENTER key.

first todo item
Figure 5

Now your view shows 1 todo item in your 'Private' folder:

view todo planner
Figure 6

Actions

Let's add another folder. Suppose we want to add a 'Business' folder at the top of the hierarchy. For this, right-click 'All folder' to add a subfolder as before and name it 'Business'. Also make a subfolder of the 'Business' folder by clicking 'Add subfolder' again and entering 'Newsletter'.

Now add a different type of item in this folder; let's add an action. Click 'Action' in the 'Add new item in current folder' menu section and the action dialog appears as in Figure 7.

first action
Figure 7

Fill in a small task description, enter the estimated amount of work hours, select a start date plus a duration (in days) and click 'OK'. You should now have something that resembles the view in Figure 8. Note the 'Progress' bar, with which you can indicate how far the task has progressed. This will have an effect in the Gantt view (more on Gantt charts can be found in this tutorial).


Figure 8

Add a few more items. Then select 'All folders' again to view all stored items. Notice how the folders & subfolders are visually connected using colours that change slightly at every level in the hierarchy (from dark to light).

planner items
Figure 9

 

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