Guest post by Shelley Hayduk
So often we have the most amazing ideas but sometimes our plans are only half realized. If we don’t capture key ingredients before they are forgotten or overlooked, our projects won’t reach their full potential.
With PersonalBrain you can leverage the power of visual thinking to make your goals a reality. Here are seven essential steps to making your creative vision a reality.
1. Identify Your True Passion
Sometimes we become preoccupied about an issue at work or a personal passion but never take the necessary steps to making it a reality. If you fall into this category then harnessing an obsession into a productive endeavor can literally change your life. So take some time during your day and use PersonalBrain to identify key goals and challenges that will transform obsessions into productive new projects. Here are some Thoughts to help identify your passion or cause:
- I Spend the Most Time Thinking About…
- When I Grow Up I Want to Be… (A Thought for all ages!!)
- In Two Years at this Company I Want to Be…
This is a really fun exercise and it’s your own PersonalBrain, so nothing is off limits.
For more information on creating a Brain on yourself read “Your Autobiographical Brain”
2. Define Success
The key to making your vision a reality is defining success. Your grand vision is probably really amazing, but to get things off the ground you need to get your ideas out of your head and into a system where you can reflect, expand and work on your goal in a more explicit fashion.
Success begins by breaking down your dream and making each piece a workable reality. Now, I’m not suggesting you create some mundane spreadsheet or MS project file. Keep your creative juices flowing and digitize your ideas… Fun right?
The Thoughts in PersonalBrain are designed to mimic the way you think and they will keep you focused. Create a Thought for every outcome you wish to achieve. Then add child Thoughts that will begin to further support and visualize a course for achieving your goal.
3. Recognize Obstacles
If our goals were easy, we would have already achieved them. With any project there are challenges, risks and obstacles. Create Thoughts for key issues and risks. This will help you devise a plan of attack and implement a strategy to deal with the issues. Moreover, these Thoughts will ensure that relevant obstacles are not overlooked when things are running smoothly. Example Thoughts for this area can include:
- Obtaining Management Approval
- Overcoming Objections
- Disaster and Risk Management Planning
- Securing Funding
- Finding the Right Experts
4. Craft a Plan
Once you have a defined goal and identified risks you can create Thoughts for execution. What’s key for creative project management is setting up a natural but diligent system of organization. You need to implement a project management process that doesn’t impede results.
Microsoft Project and Gantt charts are the conventional solutions here. However, in my experience working on creative projects I’ve found that many people feel stifled by their lack of user friendliness, tedious contingencies and rigid displays. PersonalBrain is great for project management regardless of how you feel about these applications.
- If you have project documents and charts, go ahead and drag and drop them into PersonalBrain. You can keep track of versions, add notes and connect them to other resources.
- If you are not keen on Microsoft Project and similar project management software, you will find PersonalBrain to be a refreshing alternative. Create Thoughts in your Brain for key milestones, phases and team members. Now you can stay on top of key steps and phases in a more inspiring context.
You can even visualize other project management methodologies in your Brain like the Natural Planning Project Model from David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
PersonalBrain’s visual interface provides a more creative alternative for managing project contingencies.
For more information on Using PersonalBrain for Project Management read “From Ideas to Action”
5. Capture References and Inspirations
References and inspirations are an absolutely critical step in actualizing your creative vision. There is no limit to the number of Thoughts or files that you can add to your Brain. This means that you can create an ever-expanding unlimited knowledge base for your vision. Collecting and organizing key ideas and important examples will enable you to harness abundant information sources and put them to work for you. Once key source material is in PersonalBrain you can simply type in a name and get to the information you need instantly.
Your reference Thoughts will not only help you define your vision for the project, but also serve as important guidelines and benchmarks to ensure that your requirements are met. For instance, if you are designing a Web site, link and create Thoughts for Web sites that represent your ideal aesthetics and business goals. If you are working on a kitchen renovation, link to photos of all the key design elements: what things should look like, and what they shouldn’t. This is where PersonalBrain’s zoomable icons and screen capture feature will come in handy.
PersonalBrain’s screen capture feature and zoomable icons make it easy and inspiring to capture design references.
To learn how to add images to your Thoughts in PersonalBrain watch our video tutorial on Adding Images and Thought Icons.
6. Rally Your Alliances
Another key ingredient to making your creative vision a reality is alliances: people, colleagues and friends that you can call upon to help you achieve results. Create Thoughts for people that can help you succeed. Alliance Thoughts include:
- Executive Sponsorship
- Friends and Family
- Industry Associations
- Past Work References
- Academic and Industry Leaders
Once the key people are in your Brain you can link them to their roles in your project, and add notes on their tasks. This will make your meetings and interactions with them more productive.
For more information on visualizing people networks read “Everyone Is Connected. It’s Time to See the Links”.
7. Track Outcomes and Lessons Learned
Finally for every project it’s important to evaluate your outcome and results. The good news is by organizing everything in PersonalBrain your vision becomes part of your digital memory so months from now you will be able to retrieve critical thinking and information like it was yesterday. Now you can identify critical elements that lead to the right results and instantly reference past work.
In fact, you can even set your Brain to “Wander”. This feature puts your Brain on self-navigation so you can sit back and look at your thinking. It’s like dreaming but you are wide awake. I use this feature after brainstorming. You can adjust the speed of animation in Preferences > Advanced.
Whether you are activating a Thought for your next project or using Wander, your digital Brain will pleasantly surprise and inspire you. You can take an idea from inception to its fruition, and your digital Thoughts will always remain a reflection and testament of your personal vision.