Mind mapping is an exercise that I never, ever thought would work for me. I’m very linear, and I like to write lists. I thought the branching patterns of a mind map would look like a tangled mess to my mind. But recently I was convinced to try it, and I’m so glad I did. Wow! I was amazed at how quickly I was able to develop my thoughts.
Mind mapping, if you haven’t done it before, consists of getting your thoughts out on paper, similar to a brain dump but in a more organized, yet free-flowing way. You start with a big blank sheet of paper, and in the middle of the page you write your main thing. Your main goal, big idea, heart’s desire, whatever. Then from there you break it down into smaller ideas, sub-goals, etc.
So in the case of my own example, I was trying to get a handle on my Goals vs. Priorities (as I described in last week’s Time Management Monday post). I wanted to explore what my priorities are right now, and decide which actions to focus on this week.
I started with my blank page. One of my goals right now is to save money. Sounds good, but how do you actually go about doing that?
So I started brainstorming ideas. I realized the first step is to do up a budget, so I can see exactly what our regular expenses are. Then I can evaluate optional/ flexible expenses to see what I can reduce or eliminate.
Obviously I don’t want to spend my money on anything extraneous. So I committed to borrowing books and DVDs from the library instead of buying them, and doing our weekend family swims at the gym we are already members of instead of paying extra to swim at the gym closer to us.
I also thought of some bikes and dog crates we are no longer using that I can sell for some extra cash. I need to clean them up and take photos of them so I can list them for sale.
A big but variable expense is food. We already eat almost all of our meals at home or take packed lunches, so the way to reduce food expenses is to reduce waste. I can do detailed meal planning to buy only the food we will actually eat in the next few days, instead of just buying the same as what I always buy.
After I looked through what I had written, I highlighted items that are my priority actions this week.
Then I added those tasks to my planner, so I can work those into my schedule. I highlighted them in orange so I can keep my goal tasks very visible, and remind myself these are extra-important.
It’s great to brainstorm and come up with ideas, but if you leave those tasks on the page they might not get translated into actions. By scheduling them into your days, you will have a plan for when and how they will actually get done.