Mindmapping for Weekly Review and brainstorming

A few months ago I posted my GTD (Getting Things Done) Weekly Review routine and recently I even posted it as a #publicNozbe project for you to enjoy and use every week. Got some really nice feedback from my readers and Twitter followers with a recurring question: how do I use Mindmaps in my weekly review? Well, here's how...

Mindmapping is cool for "brainstorming"

I have identified several roles for me (inspired by Anthony Robbins' Rapid Planning Method) and I align my goals around these roles. Tony Robbins actually encourages you to name your roles in a cool, inspiring sort of way so I do it like this and I really love it. Here are the roles I have in my business life:

- Productivity Expert - I'm the guy who runs Productive! Magazine and all the related stuff and I want to be good in this
- Ueber Blogger - I need to be great at writing and blogging here on my blog as well as in Productive! Firm and other places
- Hugo Boss (don't laugh) - I'm running a small company so I have some goals around being a good boss for my team
- BizDev PRO - I need to develop my business and build cool products (especially Nozbe) and excel in this
- Bestselling Author - I'm writing two books on startups and productivity and at some point in time I'd like to publish them with success
- Language Guru - I speak Polish (my mother tongue), English, Spanish and German. I'm trying to re-learn my Russian and I'm learning Japanese now. Loving it.

Mindmapping gives me a big picture

Every week when I do my weekly review, I go through my roles to see how my goals around these roles are aligned. If I'm going forward, backwards or if I'm standing still. It gives me time to reflect on my projects and actions in Nozbe and if they are going in the right direction. I do this before I go to Nozbe and review my projects and actions.

Mind maps are so cool because I can collapse/expand certain areas of a map (roles, goals) and see the bigger or smaller picture. It's great and helps me have a clear view and kick in the 10k-50k level thinking - it just gives me perspective - that's why it's so important in my life to use a mindmap.

I don't use mindmapping for tasks

It's strictly roles and goals (sometimes interim goals also known as "sub-goals") but that's it. That's as specific as I go in a mindmap. Out of these goals the projects and actions in Nozbe emerge and I put them in my Nozbe account.

I know folks that use mindmaps for projects and actions but I've found it to be too cumbersome for me - too many branches of the mindmap to click to get to some certain actions and too many distractions along the way. I'd rather review my goals in the mindmap once a week and then put appropriate actions to Nozbe and get them done there. It all makes more sense to me.

Which software to use for mindmapping?

There is a bunch of cool software for that. When I was on my TabletPC I was using Mindmanager from Mindjet (available for Mac and Windows). Now I use Xmind which is free (and cross-platform) and also has really cool keyboard shortcuts (which can be re-defined my way) - this helps me browse my mindmap and add stuff without using the mouse. You can also use a cloud-based Mindmeister, which is great, too. I'm sure there is more but these are the ones I tried.

Good luck mind-mapping and weekly reviewing!

Hope with this blog post you'll be on the right track and get the Weekly Review done every week. One of my Japanese friends and a very cool blogger once said: "Weekly Review takes 2 hours this week... and saves me lots of hours next week, so it's always worth the effort". Good luck!

I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 (gtd,productivity)

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Max Schaufler
May 6, 2011 18:52
Hi Michael, thanks for this post. Helped me get back to looking at myself at a higher level again, and I hope to get better at reviewing the different levels more regularly. Whether it is the weekly review, or a twice-a-year big picture review - it's hard to keep up to my plans and really do it.
Michael Sliwinski
May 9, 2011 17:41
Control and perspective are the keys to getting things done. Mindmapping gives me the perspective and helps me feel in control of my life.... glad it works for you, too Max! Good luck with next week's weekly review!
Jul 4, 2011 23:48
With this being such a key part of your routine (and mine) why not integrate the 10-15k view into Nozbe? That's the one thing missing in it as-is and a reason I'm still looking for something better. A mind-map view of Labels and Projects only would be a great addition. I know there are some 3rd party guys trying to do this for the last 5 years, but nothing has surfaced that's usable and integrated. Seems to make sense for Nozbe and you admit its importance in getting things done.