Friday, November 30, 2012

Mind Mapping: Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Mind Mapping
Mind Mapping (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)
by Don Craig

Mind mapping is a powerful problem solving or project planning tool used to allow many people to collect solution options for a problem or a customer request.

The tool creates a picture of the problem statement and interrelationships between it and the various options that could be applied to solve the problem.

Once completed it also serves as a road map to the activities and a tracking device showing your progress towards the solution.

How do we compile a mind map for your life plan? I start with a blank sheet of paper and create a description of what I want to accomplish using 5x7 sticky notes for the various brief descriptions.

Your description may include pictures that represent your goals. If you believe you want to become a doctor you may post pictures of a famous doctor you have heard of to help focus. My first vision was to become a cardiologist and I closely aligned with Dr. Michael DeBakey and Christian Barnard both famous heart surgeons.

If your goal is business growth you may include your competitor's growth charts or business statistics from similar companies to pull you to that result.

Once your vision is captured you start identifying things that must happen to achieve it. Many of the steps may be simple things you can easily do, but others will be complete unknowns. As this list grows you may discover items you didn't realize were needed. Once you have a 'complete' list you can review all the parts and start looking for partners who can handle those tasks you can't.

The power of a mind mapping tool at this point is how easy it is to capture all the tasks and create a connection between each step and who will complete these steps. The picture that is created helps you communicate with team members and keeps you focused and motivated for the effort ahead.

You and your team mates have your list of those tasks you must complete and everyone knows the flow from task to task.

Once you start the effort your mind map serves as a tracking tool, allowing you to check off each task as you complete each step. If you mark the task on your paper (or in your program) as you go, the guiding map becomes a progress reporting tool with minimal effort. Everyone knows who is doing well and who needs help to ensure you are on track to achieve your goals.

Mind mapping is a valuable tool for those complex projects involving numerous individuals to help gather all the task information and team members needed to successfully achieve your personal or business goals.

By mapping out all the tasks and completing the connections to responsible person and other task guides the team's actions and can track your completion progress as you are work toward your ultimate goal.

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