Thoughts About 2016: December 1st

The year is winding down. 2016 did not turn out as I expected which seems to be true for many of my friends and family. I rode a rollercoaster of highs and lows. A surprising amount of trauma was a part of the calendar year. But, some of the best people in the world also became a part of my life. A few friends faded away a bit this year. Life is long, so I am hopeful for reconnecting with them someday when the time is right.

How to create mindmap image from GoConqr
How to create mindmap image from GoConqr

In the vein of story telling I thought I would do a little end of year series in the TTT blog and just reflect on things until the end of this up and down year with an effort on finding the positives and celebrating what I learned from each struggle.

here we go…

December has arrived and now the mad dash begins to the end of the year….Today’s thought is about tools for visualizing all the amazing ideas you want to include in your planning. Use mind mapping.

2016 taught me that a special skill in my toolbox is my passion for mapping out ecosystems for projects, clients, and work.

Using mind mapping to capture the many ideas that are percolating in the minds of my small business clients and creative friends is exhilarating. Making these intricate maps of their projects and ideas shows me how I can help them and what I can put in a client proposal. Also, by sharing these maps with my clients- we both learn to put things in a priority order. Capturing all the possibilities on the map means we are not losing the ideas, but the natural, next steps are choosing what to focus on first and paying attention to how the parts fit together. Mind maps bring together both parts of the brain. Creative and analytical thinking are required to create a detailed project plan.

I recommend big, sketch books for drafting your maps, and mind mapping software to make a more professional, working version to share with your clients or team.

My big mind mapping sketchbook-- photo by Lauren Shannon
My big mind mapping sketchbook– photo by Lauren Shannon

For the analog version, I use a huge black sketch book from FLYING TIGER Copenhagen. I use colored pens, doodles, images, whatever comes to mind.

After I finish my draft, I bring that to the first meeting I have with a new prospective client. The messy fun mind map has a way of putting everyone at ease. Doesn’t seem too serious yet. During that first meeting, I show them my brainstorm thoughts and ask them loads of questions to refine and bring our ideas together.

When I have been hired to work with them, my next step is to use an online version to get things neat and organized but still fluid. My favorite online software is  Mind Meister  . Easy and fun to use. Free trial version to start. They also have a task manager you can add on (for a fee) to make your todo tasks and maps fit together fairly seamlessly.

So my 12/1 thought for now and into 2017– Capture all the ideas and MAP THEM OUT!