Have you ever come up with an idea for a project and try to explain it? What usually happens?
The person you are talking to has no idea what you are trying to describe. They don’t see what you see.
It is weird because when you first had your idea is was like water over boiling on the stove. The ideas just keeping popping and before you know it, you are down some road that left you wondering where do you go from here. So you think.. I will share it with someone and maybe by talking it out it will be clearer.
Well, I have had this happen so many times. Today more than ever there are FB ads and google ads and promotions for books or downloads for topics like “Turn on your creativity!” Or “Don’t have any ideas?” Not sure about you, but my problem is not the creativity. My problem is being able to capture all the ideas.
I heard a phrase once that said – when you ask the universe for something – don’t show up with a spoon – bring a dump truck… because it will be overwhelming!
But I digress – I am not talking attracting things in your life – lets handle all the ideas that we have in our head first. De-clutter your mind, sort of speak.
But how do we do that?
Well since the mid 90s I have used one method over and over and it has been a saving grace for me.
When I was little and to my early adult years in my 20s I always felt like there were specific ways to do things in business and since I did not know them, I better learn to change what came natural to me. You see I like to draw and doodle. I made pictures. I did not like writing (you may be able to tell that I write as if I was talking with you). This is more because I just think and then transcribe. Anyways back to me story.
I would draw and doodle. But I could never really capture ideas in my head on paper like I thought I was supposed to. Lists or project plans. There was a disconnect for me. So my agenda would be emplty. Unless I had something to schedule like an appointment or pre arranged event. But I struggled with making an idea a written project or step by step plan.
Until I heard about Mind Maps.
This was the process of dumping the ideas in my head onto paper in no order so that I could capture them, group them, and organize them into a logical plan.
When I would try to do what I thought was the right way – creating a list and organizing the list with priorities – it just would not happen. I would get stuck.
So mind maps was a way for me to get the picture out of my head, then into words, and then into actual tangible activities.
You may be the kind of person who thinks this is pretty silly. How hard can it be to jot down a list of things to do. Well the opposite is true when I say I want you to see or visualize something. You may struggle – saying “See what? I see nothing.”
So if you understand what I saying, you can stop here. This is more for those are visual or even kinaesthetic.
If you are visual and kinaesthetic then you will love this method of making your ideas become reality for others to understand. I am all about effective communication. Sometimes it is difficult. So having a strategy like this you can transform what you see in your mind into something someone else can read.
Lets get started:
First and foremost you need to get what you have stored in your mind on to paper. Especially if you need help from someone else. They may ask you to explain it leaving you stuck trying to relate a verbal description of your visual idea. So, let’s get out of your head.
Take a piece of paper. Ideally you want one the size of a bristle board. This will allow you to write bigger and if it is a big project you will have the space to write down all the items.
- Start by writing down the topic in the middle of the page. This is the highest level of the idea. An example may be: my business, my book, my passion
- Create sub categories. You will draw lines out from the middle to the edge of the paper. This will represent the first level of idea. For example using my business, one could be product or service you want to offer in the market place. Another could be the ideal customer. Keep adding the next logical high level category.
- Create the sub sub categories. Under your ideal customer you may add a line from it with the heading – who they are – another line with – where they are – and another with what they need.
- Rearrange the categories. As you complete the dumping of ideas. You may find that there is some overlap or there are some ideas that should be under a different category. Your job is to move the one idea to a different place. Since you have already written it down – all you do is put a circle around the word(s) and draw a line to the other category you want it under. You may have written something like ‘customer needs’ under the marketing category.
- Number the categories. Your main categories the immediate arm from the centre all need to be numbered now. This will allow you start the prioritizing. Which is most important. Which comes first.
- Transfer to an excel or word document. You now are looking at a written picture of your idea that was in your mind. All you do is transcribe the items you wrote by numerical order and list them on the worksheet or word document. After each headline you indent and a sub category with the information written.
Congratulations! You have taken the idea from your head to paper and now prepared it for execution in steps.
You will go through the process of knowing
- who will do the task
- how long it may take (start with a guess if you are not sure)
- what is the ACTION to be done
Your job now is to simply schedule it. Once you have written out the ACTION to be done, you can put that in your agenda or hand it off to someone.
Here are a couple of tips as you create your mindmap –
- There is no order to which you get the details out of your head and onto paper.
- Use ACTION words when you create your excel or word document. This lets you hand it off to someone with clear expectations of what needs to be done.
For example: If you have marketing as a major category and sub category of on line, off line. What sub sub categories might you have that you turn into an action? Marketing – Offline – Advertising – Signage… what about signage do you want to know? Write it out as an action… identify signage companies/ get quotes from signage companies/ list out prices from signage companies.
Mindmapping is a process that I have been using for 20 years. It has allowed me to create multiple businesses and projects. It provided clarity for bringing what was in my head into fruition. Let me know how this helped you by putting a comment below.
Are you looking to make your dreams a reality? Let me help you realize your dreams. Register for a Free 30 minute power session with me.
Creator, “Total Branding Blueprint”
Author, “How to Reinvent Midlife Dreams”