Sometimes, projects get stuck because the timing isn’t quite right. More often, they get stuck because we have not thought them through thoroughly. When we are stuck, our thinking tends to be random, repetitive, and frustrating. We just aren’t sure what’s what or what’s next.
We may try talking it out, making a list, or writing down some notes. These may work because they help you get our thoughts into the light of day where you can work with them. And they may not help because they subtly restrict us into thinking logically and linearly.
We need to find a way to allow ourselves to think more creatively. For this, I suggest mind mapping. Mind maps are pictures that let us open up our thinking. Working on paper or with mind mapping software, we start with a central idea and add related ideas as we think of them. We draw each idea in a bubble and use lines to connect them to other ideas. We can rearrange our thoughts quickly as better ways of organizing things emerge.
Seeing our thoughts mapped makes it easier for us to notice connections, fill gaps, and generally be our creative-thinking selves.
In your corner,
PS: I prefer to use mind mapping software instead of pen and paper. There are several great tools available. I like Simplemind on the desktop (€29) and smartphones (about $5). You can synchronize your work between your phone and computer via Dropbox. There is also a great free tool for the desktop called Freemind.
PPS: No need to restrict mind mapping to big ideas or projects. Use it whenever you need it. I will often create a quick mind map on a subway ride between meetings to get clear on a specific project or part of a project.
PPPS: Mind maps also help teams think and collaborate better.