Mind mapping can be useful for any project or task that will take longer than two hours. It’s especially helpful for long-term projects that extend over days or weeks. For students, this might look like completing a book report or writing a paper. Adults might wrestle with a project at work, an event, or with tasks like paying taxes, managing paper, or clearing out clutter. The more steps there are in a task, the greater the potential for breakdown.
It works by helping you to break down a goal into many smaller parts to create a systematic plan. It is a very important tool that sidesteps many of the challenges faced by people with ADHD. This would include executive skills such as organizing, prioritizing, sequencing, pacing, and estimating time. Mind mapping is also an excellent brainstorming tool, because you get the pieces of a project out of your head and onto one piece of paper.
Here is how to do it:
- Find a piece of blank paper and some colored pens.
- Make a circle in the center of the page and put your goal or topic inside of it.
- At the top right-hand corner of your paper, put your due date or deadline. Back up your deadline up by two days to allow for margin.
- Brainstorm all the pieces or parts of your task, not necessarily in order, by drawing spokes from your center topic and labeling each one.
- Estimate how long that you think each of these specific tasks will take and write it next to each. Your mind map might look something like this.
- Number each piece of the project in the order that you will do it.
- Ask yourself how much time you have to give to this task on a daily or weekly basis. Considering the deadline, do you have enough time to accomplish this task?
- Evaluate and Reset: If time is short, you may need to adjust your plan. Look at the tasks before you. Consider these three important words: simplify, delegate and eliminate. Also, identify who can help. Here’s what your mind map might look like, by the time you’re done.
- On a clean sheet of paper, list the original or revised steps of your plan, in order.
- Here’s the most important part: Schedule your task by writing the steps in your planner at the day and time that you plan to accomplish them.
Like any new skill, your mind mapping ability will improve with practice. You may find it difficult to break a project down or estimate how much time you’ll need to complete each part. If that’s the case, consider enlisting the help of a supportive friend or an ADHD coach. A coach can also provide additional tools, education, and resources to aid your success.
For more information about goal-setting, check out last month’s blog post. If you’d like support in achieving your goals, give me a call to schedule a free session. Eliminate frustration and achieve your goals!
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