The Tag Party subject for March is to share a "how to" on any subject. After much thought about what I might be able to share with you, dear Readers, I realized that my successful "projects" have one thing in common, a Mind Map. Ease on down the road with me for a fun and FREE way to approach a big objective, a giant sized project, or a desired venture that you have already begun or might be thinking about starting.
Wait! Don't drive off the exit ramp because you don't have time to add something new to your daily commute...By cruising through these steps, your Mind Map will keep you on the road to success!
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN'...
Neutral: The Parts Department
- Pencils, pens, colored markers (if you have some), a highlighter pen.
- Paper - the larger, the better (a sketch pad works well). Or use my super-fancy equipment trick-- tape together four 8.5 x 11 inch plain sheets of paper.
- Your MIND -- make sure your imagination button is turned up to High.
- An uninterrupted block of time (30-45 minutes max) in a comfortable chair.
- A hot cup of tea or coffee to keep the pistons pumping.
First Gear: A Mind Map IS
A way to put a lot of information together in a collective, but separated, format to help you see "the big picture." Look at it as an outline that will drive you from Point A to Point Z via necessary routes while you also stop to explore various off-the-beaten paths.
Second Gear: A Mind Map IS NOT
A list of everyday "to-do's," a diary, a vision board, or a "wish list" of things you would like to have happen to you. There are probably more examples, but you get the idea.
NOTE: There are many ways one can do a Mind Map, and after doing a few of them, you will find your own best technique. This exercise is a way to put rubber on the road to start driving toward your destination. Don't be surprised by very elaborate or detailed examples you'll find on the web; these will make you crash into a ditch before you start. That being said, let's shift into third.
HEAD OUT ON THE HIGHWAY...
Third Gear: Driving Straight
Step on it Stan! (FYI: Stan is my imaginary chauffeur.) Sit down in your comfy seat with your imagination cranking, take the pen in hand, write down your destination in the middle of the paper. Your destination is your objective, project name, or venture; it is the one thing you want to make happen or achieve. For example, it could be to launch a website, plan your wedding, or get a new job.
LOOKIN' FOR ADVENTURE...
Fourth Gear: Turning Right
To reach your destination, you need to take a complex route and simplify the required ideas, tasks, and chores. This first simplification step is the body of your Mind Map (no pun intended).
Working outward from your center "destination," let your mind spit out the BIGGER ideas, tasks, chores, people you know, technology you can use or need, places to visit, required reading, classes and seminars to attend, and anything else pertinent to your project. Draw lines connecting the center to each of your listed categories. Don't worry if you have two or twenty, write down as many as you can think of -- there is no limit.
When you are satisfied that you have listed all of the potential categories, be happy, you have completed the first simplification step. You have just created the major highways, bridges, and tunnels that will lead you to your destination.
AND WHATEVER COMES OUR WAY...
Fifth Gear: Turning Left
The second simplification step can be a bumpier road; slow down and take your time. A Mind Map has no roads blocked by judgments, impossibility, or improbability.
Don't stop to focus on the destination, stay on the highways, bridges, and tunnels moving OUTWARD from your destination. This may seem counter-intuitive, but you are on your way!
Working in no particular order, begin by listing the SMALLER ideas, tasks, chores, etc., that fall under each specific category that you created in the first simplification step. Write down all the things that are needed to fulfill that particular category, be specific and detailed.
Shift into neutral and let your engine spin freely as you write everything down. Go crazy with this part, you were born to be wild. Keep going...There is more to get out of your head even if it doesn't seem organized, logical, or possible. The only requirement is to fill each category with everything that you can think of doing. When you circle back to the same items over and over, you are done with this step. Reward yourself and stop to add some air in your tires...You have just created the bridle paths, roads, cul-de-sacs, avenues, boulevards, rivers, and streams of the map.
You can also think of each of the items in the second step as the tires on an 18 wheel truck (the truck cab, storage container, and load are the bigger categories from the first step). Each tire spins separately, but all 18 have to work together to carry the truck down the major highways, over the bridges, and through the tunnels to reach its ultimate destination. If one tire isn't filled with air the rest suffer making the trip more difficult...So fill them up!
YEAH DARLIN' GO MAKE IT HAPPEN...
Reverse: Reading The Map
Now that everything is on the paper, look at it. This is your road map to success. At this fork in the road, you will now work from the outside toward the center. If you'd like, use your colored markers to associate similar ideas, tasks, and chores under your categories. Use whatever color coding works for you. It is helpful to code by the easiest items to the more difficult ones, then code by the items you can do first, second, third, etc.
Pin up the Mind Map where you can see it every day. Put the pedal to the metal and allocate time to work on your destination by completing the items one by one. Don't be discouraged by the amount listed on your Mind Map. A complete Mind Map often contains items that take time to work up to and finish. As you roll along, you might find that some items become unnecessary or new ones pop up. Keep steering toward the center.
At this point, there is no exact or correct direction except to continue working on the items you wrote down in the second step. Let them be your guide to which way you turn next. Do each item and as you eliminate them you will eventually end up back at a bigger category.
You will pick up speed as you arrive at each of the bigger categories, use your highlighter to check them off when you get there. Soon, you will be checking all of them off...When that happens, you have arrived!! You have driven yourself to your destination. Congratulations!
I hope this "how to" helps you create your own Mind Map to drive you to your destination with success.
Every road trip needs some inspirational music and right now, I'm betting you need some inspiration for your ride.