A few months ago I was helping a friend set up her task management system. We were working through the concept of someday/maybe and attempting to set up her someday/maybe lists. There was nothing simple about this as she simply wasn’t happy putting anything in the someday/maybe list.
No matter how many ways I tried to explain that the someday/maybe list is simply a temporary bucket for things you want to get to do at some point, and you could always pull them back out, her gut instinct was that she would never get to them. To her, putting an item on the someday/maybe list, was sending it into oblivion.
How often do we feel like that? … When the life you want seems stuck in the someday/never bucket … no where near the realm of current tasks?
In 2009, I realised I was exactly in this kind of a rut.
I was executing projects and actions well… but the projects and actions weren’t getting me to the life I was dreaming of. I realised I needed a much clearer vision.
I created a very simple mindmap of my life wishes. That mindmap had 47 nodes. I was really dreaming big now!
Three years later, I happened to check the number of nodes on this mindmap as I was preparing for talk. Want to guess how many nodes there were? 756! And several of these nodes had already been checked as complete.
In the rest of this blog post, I want to share with you the three (3) things that I think made it possible for me to create a someday/maybe bucket that I could regularly action upon.
(1) I made my someday/maybe bucket attractive
It’s important that all aspects of my system are attractive. I have to want to open it up when I need to. With absolutely no hesitation or confusion. In my case, this meant that I sprung for Mindjet’s MindManager software license. I had tried lists and other mindmapping software but really preferred MindManager. So I got it. It made a world of difference. I use many of the MindManager features and have never gotten tired, or frustrated, of this list even though I do look at it weekly.
(2) Decompose your vision
I may have lofty statements like “Enjoy the beauty and wonderment of world and its people” on my vision board but it is decomposed into 40k, 30k, 20k, 10k, and what I call 0k items. I make sure that the end points of my mindmap are either areas of responsibility or focus (20k),, projects and next actions (10k) or habits (0k). So for instance, “visit a new city every year” is a 30k under that lofty statement, and I will have 10k that is the city I plan to visit and the month I plan to make the trip for the current year. The minute I find end points in my mindmap, I know this is something I can then action.
(3) Review it weekly
Yes, I review my mindmap weekly. Don’t worry… I don’t review all 756 nodes every week.I may review just 10k and 0k endpoints to make sure they are in sync with my task management tool, or I may review all 50k and 40k nodes to ensure I have drilled down enough endpoints. Whatever the case, I do touch my mindmap weekly. The biggest benefit I have found after 3 years of doing this is that this process turns what seem extremely lofty goals into commonplace to-do’s. Especially when you’ve seen it 10, 20, or 30 times.
And it was from this last tip that I took my cue for my friend’s someday/maybe list dilemma. We renamed her list from someday/maybe to ‘someday for sure’ … and suddenly, the someday/maybe list, didn’t seem like oblivion any more.