Using Mind Maps to Get Your Head Straight

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to do? Do you homeschool your kids? Work from home? Volunteer? Take care of the house? Grow your own food? Run bazillions of errands? Workout? Have a social life?

Me too. My husband knows better than to come home and say, “So what did you do all day?” It’s an innocent enough question, but the part that gets me is that little word “all” in front of “day.” It implies a long empty span of glorious time, when in fact my day seems to last all of 90 minutes before it’s time to go to sleep again. The better question is, “So what did you do today?” Most of the time, I barely know what to say because I’ve done so many little things that keep everything rolling forward. It’s like pushing 14 marbles up a hill all at the same time. I’ve read the time management books and the getting organized books and I’ve tweaked my routine hundreds of times over the years, but it all comes down to priorities. I would have more time if I dropped some things, but I’m holding out for some reason. And I’m doing OK. Do you want to know what helps?

When my marbles are scattered all over the place, I like to gather them up by journaling and/or a mindmap. A mindmap is a nifty way to jostle your brain by linking words or ideas together into more or less a web of connections. Here’s one I made recently to pull together all the marbles I’m pushing up the hill right now:

The idea is to start in the middle with one central idea and then start making branches. I’ve used this for goal-setting, brainstorming, outlining, and recording things that I want to remember. For related items, a simple list works fine, but when you’re dealing with lots of unrelated items, creating a mindmap is oddly liberating. For more ideas, just search for images of mindmaps on the Internet. You’ll see that some people like to draw pictures, shapes, and fancy arrows from one thing to the next. Every mindmap seems to be as unique as the person who made it, like a signature or a self-portrait.

Give it a try. You may not add any more minutes to your day, but it will help your head feel better.

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9 Responses

  1. […] Mind Maps to Get Your Head Straight | Legendary Learning http://www.legendarylearningnow.com/planning/using-mind-maps-to-get-your-head-straight/ Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to do? Do you homeschool your […]

  2. […] Mind Maps to Get Your Head Straight | Legendary Learning http://www.legendarylearningnow.com/planning/using-mind-maps-to-get-your-head-straight/ Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to do? Do you homeschool your […]

  3. Susan says:

    Hi! I love mindmaps! I made one before I had any kids about all my interests… haven’t revisited it much since having kids 😉 I’m new to homeschooling, my oldest is just 5. I found you via Bliss Habits and the give away for your book… It looks really interesting!

    • Jamie McMillin says:

      That’s wonderful that you are pursuing homeschooling! I gotta say, it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I won’t say that there weren’t difficulties or trying times, but for the most part, my kids and I had a great time together. Thanks for visiting my blog – and I wish you the best of luck!

  4. Alex says:

    Found your site through Bliss Habits. I love mind mapping, and it has been too long since I’ve made one… Might be my new ‘go-to’ instead of lists! I am starting homeschooling in the fall, and I foresee devouring your site between now and then!

  5. Regina says:

    I’ve just rediscovered your blog. As a homeschooling parent, a lot of what you write really resonates. Thanks for all the helpful info.

  6. I LOVE mindmaps, but I never thought about using them on myself when I feel scatterbrained! What a great idea! Thanks, Jamie!

    • Jamie McMillin says:

      You’re welcome! Drawing a mindmap is so much more satisfying than mere listmaking. Good luck!