A good friend of mine loves to skydive. He loves the peaceful feeling of being up that high, the exhilaration of free falling and the clarity that comes from intense focus and concentration.
But what struck me in my friend’s description of skydiving were these words, “When I’m up that high, I get a big picture view. I can really SEE our world.”
His words resonated with me. I couldn’t help but think how useful it would be to have that perspective of our tasks. To see our To Do list from high above the clouds where everything is uncluttered and crystal clear.
So, I did some research (which didn’t involve me using a parachute and jumping out of an airplane). What I found was an exercise call mind mapping.
Wikipedia defines a mind map as: a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.
Mind maps resemble the non-linear way our brains work. By creating new lines or streams of thoughts you are essentially breaking down large projects into more manageable chunks. This process can enable you to effectively plan your projects while having a birds-eye view of all your tasks.
You can draw your mind maps with a pen or pencil, or you can use software or apps. There are a bunch of mind map apps on the market. The one I tried was MindNode and it was very easy to use. There is a free version of MindNode available that gives you basic functionality, which was all I needed at this point.
Here’s an example. I need to prepare my financial documents to get my tax return done by my accountant. To help me get the creative juices flowing and to bring order to this task, I created this mind map (click on the image below to expand).
Once I had the mind map completed, I could easily see the project in its entirety. I then transcribed the To Do items into my task list for this project. I also inserted my mind map into the task list to keep my eye on the big picture.
Mind maps are also great tools to use for brainstorming ideas, organizing file structures and any other task that requires generating and connecting ideas.
For your next project, give mind mapping a try. For me, it was much more fun than jumping out of a plane.
How do you get your big picture view of your projects and tasks? Join the conversation and comment in the box below.