Take a Moment, Map It Out

Now that you have a list of projects, and a schedule set up, it's likely you feel one of two ways.

  1. You feel excited. You have a plan, you have a schedule, you're ready to start.
  2. You are still overwhelmed because of the amount of work ahead of you, or the breadth of the projects you've chosen.

It is either tempting or terrifying to just jump in and start. But don't get ahead of yourself. There is one more step: map out the project.

Map It Out.jpg

Don't jump in.

The setup always takes the longest, but going through this step you clarify your idea, and you will work faster. 

Even if you are excited, take a little time to really think through each part of your project - from it's objective to how you want it to look.  Think through each section of content - what are your main points? What are you trying to accomplish? By taking the time to map your idea or project, you slow your brain down and really think through each section of your project. This isn't written in stone, just ink. There is always the chance to edit, change, or fine tune as you are working, but by doing some of the work up front, you actually save yourself time in the next step.

It's like taping the trim when you paint a room.  It feels like a pain in the ass because it's slowing you down - you just want blue walls damn it! - but by taking the time to get all your supplies together in one place, tape the trim around windows or baseboard, and laying out a trap to catch spills, you set yourself up for success.  You can work faster when you start, you don't have to stop to find a tool or clean up a mess, because you are prepared. Everything is in the room; you are protected from stray spills.

When you just jump in you are more likely to get off track.  Things will come to mind as you work through your process, you'll remember something you should do also, or first, or maybe instead.  You don't have a clear goal so you second guess your direction; you don't have a clear objective, so you stop to research. Setup always takes the longest, but when you have a map, you can reel yourself back in and stay on point for this piece. You know what you want to accomplish, and you know the steps to take get you there. Even if you have additional ideas while you are working, you can add them to your brainstorm list, then pick up where you left off of your current project. 


Part 1: Brain Dump, Reimagined

Part 2: Organize Your Brain