Creating a master list of Owners
One of the ways that ResultsManager lets you track activities is by the name of the person responsible (the "Owner"). As you start to add activities to your maps, it will be useful to have a list of frequently used names ready. Do the following:
Creating a master list of Contexts
Next, consider the places where you can work, and how the location affects what you might be able to do. If you are learning to play the trombone, then you will probably make some time every day for practice. "At the library" might not be the ideal place for this, but there probably are some activities that can only be done at the library, such as a piece of research. So the location (the "Context", in Getting Things Done terminology) has an important part to play in deciding what you can do when at a certain place or when you have specific resources to hand, such as the telephone. Think about the different places that you can work on things on your lists, and edit the list under "Context" in the Master Lists map to reflect them. By default, ResultsManager puts some on there already, and you can add to this list by adding them to the map and importing it again, like we did for the list of Owner names.
Another very useful type of Context is when you are next speaking to a particular person. For example, if you create a context named "Sarah", and assign activities to this context, then you can see at a glance all the things you meant to speak to Sarah about. The next time she calls you can spare her the usual syndrome of "I'm sure there was something else I meant to tell you". However, you should only add the names of people you are in regular contact with; don't add lots of people who you might only contact occasionally. The chances are that contacting them about something will be an activity with a specific purpose, and you are less likely to be chatting to them at the coffee machine anyway.
Creating Master Lists of Areas and Categories
You can use Areas and Categories in any way you like, including not using them at all. They are more useful for reviewing your workload than for taking immediate action on. You should use them for aspects of your activities that cross project boundaries, and are ongoing processes rather than projects with a beginning and an end. For example, you could use Areas to label areas of improvement, such as improved cash-flow or improved employee satisfaction. There may be projects or certain activities within other projects that contribute to this area, and you will be able to see these grouped together in a special dashboard so that you can visualise the balance between these areas of improvement; your dashboard might show you at a glance that you haven't got anything planned that contributes to employee satisfaction, for example. So you might decide to do something about this, unless this status is already compliant with company policy.
Categories can be used to group together similar projects so that you can focus your reviews. For example, making a distinction between major and minor projects will help you split them up between monthly and weekly reviews respectively.
Think about different perspectives on your activities that could help you understand (and amend) the balance and focus of what you do.
ResultsManager adds some default Areas and Categories to the Master Lists map, and you can add some more of yours under the Main Topics and re-import the map again.
Save your Master Lists map
Don't forget to save your Master Lists map when you are done. You might need it again if you need to re-install ResultsManager.