Mind Mapping

Ready to get rid of some brain clutter?

I used to have a wonderful volunteer staff role at LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma.  (In two weeks I’ll be on staff at LifeChurch.tv!  Learn all about that here.)  One of my work mates, Tony, taught me a practice that is an instant stress reliever for me when I feel overwhelmed by work, home, or schedule.  It’s called mind mapping, and it’s a simple habit to form that can reap a lot of saved time and energy for you!

Materials needed:
* piece of blank paper
* pen

Even though I use my phone and laptop almost exclusively for notes and communication, I still grab the old pen and paper for this so I can move quickly and have a visual plan in front of me as I work on my laptop after going through a mind map exercise.

  1. Start writing down all the things you want or need to do on the paper in no particular list or pattern.  I typically write my tasks or ideas all over the page.  Once the cogs in your mind start loosening up, you’ll find that one task coming to memory will lead to another and so on.  Before you know it your heart rate and adrenaline lower and you’ve got in front of you all the things that had been floating around in your mind looking for a place to land.
  2. If you have time, categorize and schedule the tasks so they can literally be out of mind.  If you’re worried you’re missing something, pray and ask God to bring it to mind and then let it go.  (Even if you don’t have time to start working on some of those projects at the moment, you may now fully engage in time with family or otherwise because you won’t have to wonder if you’re forgetting something.  The map’s holding your thoughts captive for you.)
  3. Challenge: When you come back to the action plan you created from your mind map, choose 10% of them to ditch or delegate.

What methods do you use to get what’s in your brain out on paper?


4 Responses to “Mind Mapping”

  1. Meghan Cross June 22, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I love this! We did an activity when I was in fifth grade called stream of consciousness writing, and I practiced it for a few months after reading the book The Artist’s Way (they call it morning pages). The idea is to write continuously for a set amount of time or a set number of pages. The rule is you can’t stop writing. This means that sometimes you are writing nonsense or writing the same word over and over. This has helped me to process thoughts that aren’t necessarily action items. I love this post about mind mapping! As someone who LOVES list making and a sense of order, this is something I can see myself practicing.

  2. Tony Steward June 22, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    IF after you are done with the paper you then just draw a bunch of lines between everything and leave it out on your desk – it will confuse the crap out of your co-workers. #protip

  3. Kenny Jahng June 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I’ve been quite the fan of mind mapping for the last several years. Personally, I have been using Mindmeister — iPad and Chrome Apps — to organize projects, workflow, etc.

    Another practicing involving paper and pen has been productivity journaling. I shared details of the 5 questions I ask myself each week in my own journal here: http://www.godvertiser.com/?s=journal

    Would love to see some of your mind maps!


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