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How to use mind mapping to become more productive



How to use mind mapping to become more productive

I have always looked for hacks in how to become more productive.  Reading voraciously, watching videos or listening to podcasts, I sift out ideas to become efficient and effective. One of the great tools that I came across is mind mapping.  Maybe you have never heard of such a thing. This is a process to take that entire mess of tasks and dreams that is swimming around in your head and capturing it in a great net.  Essentially it is organizing your brainstorming sessions and using them to empower your success. Once you have the information in your net you can organize it and get things done.  Test me on this and see how productive your life becomes.

How to use mind mapping to become more productive


Step One:  Brainstorming

Take out a sheet of paper and write down all of the things that you need to do.  When I say all things I mean everything that you need to do or want to do in a day.  What is going on inside of your head?  This includes family items like changing the diaper, doing the dishes and washing clothes.  Write out everything no matter how mundane or silly that you must do.  Consider the projects that you want to accomplish around your house and the relationships that you want to build with your family.  Don’t take much time to edit it at this point.  Consider your whole person and include work and social tasks as well as mental and spiritual tasks.  Just write them all out.  Who do you want to be?  What do you want life to be?  For now you are simply brainstorming.  Don’t worry if you can actually do all of these things or not. Simply get them all on paper.  For those that are more artistic you can write them all over the paper, don’t worry about a straight line of tasks. For those that think more linear maybe a straight line is ok.  Think through your days and weeks.  What are the things that are coming up that you need to do some work to prepare for those events?  Make the tasks as small as possible.  But again you are brainstorming.  Keep writing.


Step 2:  Create Themes

All of these tasks will fit into some sort of theme.  Some of the categories will include home, physical, mental, spiritual, social, work and play.  For now simply consider all of the possible themes and write them on another sheet of paper.  You are still brainstorming a bit so don’t edit too much yet.  Break down your themes to as small a piece as you can.  For example instead of work you might have a theme that pertains to a specific project.  This week I have a theme of develop a conflict resolution presentation.  You might breakdown home into things like maintenance, marriage or parenting.  In my experience this step will also remind you of some tasks that you left off.  Go ahead and put them on your other paper.  Let the two documents feed one another.


Step 3: Bring it all together

Take out another sheet of paper.  In the center of the paper consider the main objective theme for your week. Maybe it is to bring healing to your marriage or maybe you need to be focused on a work project.  This needs to be something that is critical for your overall success.  Place the other assorted themes randomly on a sheet of paper. Leave plenty of space around each theme and start plugging in tasks where they fit.  Think through carefully where they go.  Things like meals may fit under physical health if you have a focus this week of getting healthier.  However, for this week that same meal might be under family because you want to spend time together around the dinner table.  Regardless all of the tasks should be on this paper somewhere.  For those who are more artistically centered you might choose to color code or draw pictures to illustrate themes or tasks.


Step 4: Make a plan

If you are like most of us you are looking at this page and realizing that there is no way that you can do all of these things. First consider how many of these things are essential to what is in the center of your paper.  Which of these things must I do if I want that objective to be realized?  Remember that you already said that the objective of the week was that item.  Under each theme you can also set up a minor objective.  Maybe you have a project at work that is your objective for the week but you also would like to spend more time with your children.  Put that second objective under your parenting theme and think through those tasks.  Which of those tasks are enabling you to also obtain that objective?  Some of those tasks might be able to be delegated.  You might want to spend more time with a specific child so delegating the dishes to a different child might help you to accomplish that goal.  Do not be afraid to delegate off of that list.  These things may need to get done but not necessarily by you.


Step 5: Take Action

Once you have your plan get started on that plan.  This is not the time to simply sit back and enjoy the fruit of your writing on the paper or your clever pictures.  You must fulfill the objective in the center of the paper.  The other tasks would be nice and if you can get them done you should.  However, don’t get bogged down in the lesser important items for your week.  If needed, you can always make those objectives a centered objective for next week.   Get started on those tasks that will help you get your main objective done.


Step 6: Review progress

At the end of the week review your progress.  Hopefully you fulfilled your main objective and some of the other objectives.  How did you do?  What got done?  What did you decide simply didn’t matter?  Review and analyze your week.  Use that as a start for creating your mind map for the next week.


Special Note

This process can be used for preparing a speech or other presentation.  In the center I will put down the main theme.  This is something that I must get across to the audience.  Everything else on the paper are supporting ideas or concepts or illustrations.  As the presentation continues I can pick and choose from those other items to back up the point in the center of the page.  I will keep coming back to that central point.


Mind mapping is essentially organizing your brainstorming sessions and can be done as a group or as an individual.  By focusing your random thoughts you can be successful and productive every day.  In the beginning it will take much more time than it will later on as you become more practiced so keep at it until you master the process.

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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