In this last part of this 8-part ‘from Dreams to Action’ series, I explain how I keep my amorphous horizons of focus mindmap in sync with my ‘on the runway’ list manager.
Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com
First a quick recap on the previous 7 parts.
In Part 1, I spoke about why I took on the seemingly onerous task of capturing all my wishes. But more importantly, I explain why the process isn’t as daunting as it seems and in the end gives me a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment.
In Part 2, we look at the best conditions to create a vision. The key ingredient – have fun!
In Part 3, it’s all about cleaning up this vision so that you can now define all the actionable pieces and parts. If you are a GTDer, you can call this processing your vision brainstorm.
In Part 4, I illustrate how I use tags for each horizon of focus to keep the mindmap organised. This makes it easier to sync to my task lists because it is only the end nodes that are really the actionable pieces.
In Part 5, and Part 7, I introduce other tags that can be used to track the status of each dream, as well as the satisfaction level of each life category which allows you to focus in on certain dreams, projects and actions.
In Part 6, I talk about how to decompose your dreams into projects and next actions, and how to keep your mindmap up-to-date.
And so in this last part, I introduce two techniques I use to keep my vision mindmap and my list manager in sync.
There are four points of connection between my horizons of focus mindmap and my list manager.
For three of them – projects (10k), actions (5k) and habits (0k) – I use the linking feature between MindManager and Evernote to keep the two in sync.
Let’s say I have a 40k dream to speak multiple languages and underneath that I have a 30k dream for French to be one of those languages. Okay, now let’s say that I’ve decided that to get that 30k moving, I’m going to take an online course and I’ve figure out that’s going to be Rosetta Stone. So now, I have a project (10k), to purchase the Rosetta Stone course, receive the order, install the software, plan my calendar or routine such that I make time to actually do the course, and so forth. Those are all next actions I am going to track in a project in my list manager – which happens to be in Evernote.
So, in my Horizons of Focus mindmap, I create a node for the project, as I’ve shown above. I also create the project in Evernote and then copy a link to my Project Information Sheet (PIS), which I paste as a hyperlink in my mindmap. You can see how it appears on the node in the above screen shot. So whenever I need to check on the project from my mindmap, I simply click on the Evernote icon and viola, I can see the exact status of the project.
Similarly, I also keep track in my project information sheet where the related project is in my Horizons of Focus mindmap. Or more importantly…I track that there is a related entry in my Horizons of Focus mindmap. This way, when I complete the project I can complete the Horizons of Focus entry as well. But if I do not, it’s not a problem … it’s pretty nice to get to do it again during my weekly review when I happen to look at the mindmap again.
A similar process applies to actions (5k) and habits (0k) which I also track in Evernote.
In reality, if an action is tied to a project in my mindmap, I don’t bother to link it in Evernote. I only link next actions if it is particularly important and it may trigger a change in how I feel about some aspect of my Horizons of Focus mindmap.
The fourth link point is actually quite a bit simpler. It is for areas of responsibility or focus (20k).
For these I simply filter the mindmap during my weekly review to those 20k that are in progress and use it as a trigger list to see if there are any projects or next actions that are needed. I will also pay attention to my satisfaction levels at this point and focus on the 20k that are in that life category where I want to improve my satisfaction level.
And that’s it – two simple techniques to keep your vision and actions in sync.
I hope this series has given you some ideas on how to give yourself license to move your dreams / wish list off those unwieldy simple bullet lists and into a more descriptive and malleable format like a mindmap. And then from there, you can refine it in such a way that you can easily create actions that move you closer and quicker to achieving those dreams.
I look forward to questions, comments, ideas. Happy dreaming!