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How A Midlife Mind Map Can Help You With Your Decision Making And Problem Solving

Episode 18 | (0:00)

Hey there, today I'm going to be talking about a midlife life hack that can help you with the decision-making process. It can help you with your problem-solving skills. It will help you with your creativity and so many other things. This little life hack has gotten me out of a number of jams, especially when I felt like I had so much stuff just crammed into my head. When I started using this, I really started seeing a difference as far as relaxing a little bit, seeing all my options and being able to take action. So let's do this. You ready?

(1:16)  

Hey there, Easy Ager, today we are talking about how a midlife mind map can help you with your decision making and your problem solving and a whole lot more. So before I get started I wanted to remind you, if you are not already on my email list, you need to go to theeasyagingshow.com and sign up now. Well, okay, maybe not now, maybe when this episode is over, okay? So it's theeasyagingshow.com. Sign up and you'll get notifications when I have a new episode out and all that good type of stuff, alright?

In the last episode, Episode 17, I talked about the importance of knowing that you have options when you're in a downward spiral. As I was preparing this week's episode, I thought, "You know, having a midlife mind map is one of the quickest, easiest ways to figure out what your options are."

I don't know about you but right now, it feels like it's time to shake things up a little bit. Not that we're completely through the pandemic quite yet, but it feels like it's time to take a big, deep yawn...

(2:18)

you know, just yawning and stretching and getting our bodies moving, getting our brains moving a little bit more. Because at this point, you know, you may be contemplating your next source of income. You may be figuring out the best exercise you need to do to take off some of that pandemic weight that you gained. Maybe you're deciding whether to go back into the office full-time, or if you're going to stay part-time, or stay remote or whatever. Maybe you're thinking about back-to-school options for your loved ones.

Here's a secret, okay, don't tell anybody else....This is just between you and me: You already know the answer. Your heart already knows the best solution for you. You just need to find a way to get it out so you can take action on it. And this, my friend, is where mind mapping comes in.

Mind maps are an excellent, quick way to gain clarity and insight into what lies in the recesses of your brain. I know, it's kind of scary, right? But you're going to be able to do a brain dump and go and get it all out on paper.

Mind maps are a beautiful thing for doing that. "And why are they so beautiful?" you may ask. Well, the reason is, mind mapping works well because it mimics the way our brains function. Our brains don't operate in a linear sequence. They use association to connect ideas and thoughts and memories to a variety of different concepts.

If you're trying to put a picture in your head of what a mind map looks like, it looks like the sun. In the center, you have the sun, the actual sun itself, and off of the sun, you see a bunch of rays coming out, okay? That's called a radial pattern.

When thinking about a mind map, your main topic is the sun. It's that main topic that you start with, right there in the center. And then off of each spoke or branch is a subtopic of the main topic.

Mind maps make information easier to remember because they're in a format that makes it easy for our minds to review and recall, because it's in this association format. Now, we normally turn to lists when we need to write things down. But it is more difficult to remember all the items on a list versus looking at a mind map and seeing how things associate with each other.

Mind maps also enhance your creativity. Creativity is one of my favorite topics to ever talk about. Because what happens is, you're not giving it a whole lot of thought, you're just kind of writing. You're doing a free writing, a free association type exercise, and you have an idea and then that sparks another idea that sparks another idea. And that's great because you will be able to see all your options, all your ideas, in one place.

Whether you know it or not, you've been doing mind maps throughout your life. But they may have had different names and one of those names is brainstorming.

Have you ever been in a brainstorming session? Maybe a brainstorming session at work? Generally, everyone's suggestions are put on a master list and then you narrow down the ideas from there.

Brainstorming, or doing a "brain dump" (that's what I call it), is basically a free association exercise. You associate one idea with another and another, one thought with another and another.

It's a fantastic organizational tool for your soul. I mean, it's like you're "Marie Kondo-ing" all that clutter in your head and getting it into a nice tidy little way to see it. A mind map is a form of brainstorming that takes all those great and amazing ideas and just puts them into a diagram that's really easy to read. And the benefits of mind mapping are endless.

Mind maps are useful for just about anything you have, whether you're summarizing information or taking notes or breaking down complex projects, or even consolidating information from different sources.

Mind maps also help with your decision making and problem solving. Because when you can see all of your ideas or all of your options on paper, you can evaluate them much more objectively. It's not nearly as scary or overwhelming as it is when everything's just stuck in your head and you can't grab hold of it, you can't organize it in any way.

Consider mind maps kind of detox for your mind and your spirit. Because after so many months of just feeling stagnant or feeling, you know, "on hold" because of The Covid, it's time to shake things up, it's time to get moving. It's kind of like, "Alrighty, let's see what we've got going," okay?

Let me give you a few tips when you're creating your own mind map. Number one, stay away from screens. I'll say it again for those of you that didn't hear me: number one, stay away from screens. The reason I'm saying this is because I know you guys. You techie types, your first thought is, "Oh, I need to run to my app store and find the perfect mind mapping app." But I really encourage you not to do that. I mean, you want to kick it old school this time, because using technology in this case is only going to take all the fun and creativity out of the process. And you don't want that, you want to have some fun with this as well.

Number two, don't get fancy. That goes back to number one. Grab a blank sheet of paper or whatever is handy and then grab your favorite writing utensil, whether it's a crayon, or a pen or marker, or whatever.

And here's the great thing about mind mapping, it's free! You just write it on a piece of paper and that's it. You don't have to pay for anything... anyone can do a mind map. I encourage you grab your favorite beverage, find some solitude and sit down. Find a quiet place to think.

So let me give you a quick example. Let's say you want to do things around the house and instead of using a list, you wanted to try using a mind map. So in your center circle in the center of the page, you're going to put "house." And then you think, "Okay, what areas of the house am I going to be evaluating?" These will be your subtopics. So you have "garage," you have another subtopic of "kitchen," another one of "patio" and another one of "bathrooms." And these all have spokes coming out directly from "house." They have little circles around them so you can keep things neat and tidy.

And then you're gonna look at one of those, alright? Garage... "What do I need to do in the garage? Oh, I need to clean." So from "garage" you would have "clean" in a little circle with a spoke coming out. And you've got to put away the Christmas decorations, you haven't done that yet. So you just put another spoke coming out of "garage" that says "Christmas decorations."

And then you're thinking, "You know, it's a little cluttered in the garage, I'm going to hang those bikes up." So your next spoke will just say, "bike hanger." But you're not really sure if you want to hang it on the wall or the ceiling. So from "bike hanger," you can just add "wall" with a question mark, and then your other spoke will be "ceiling" with a question mark because you need to make a decision on that. And this goes on and on and on.

I tell you, mind mapping absolutely delights your brain because it's easy. It's straightforward, and it's not that hard to consider ideas and options. It's just so simple because you're free associating, and that's what makes your brain so very, very happy.

Once you get going, I think you're going to be surprised at how many new ideas and how many new thoughts come to you. Because this is all going to be improving your options, your decision-making process and all your problem-solving skills.

I've been using mind maps for maybe 10 years now, and it's so much simpler than trying to list. The lists just don't agree with me, and I can never remember all the items on them anyway.

When I do a mind map, it's nice to visually see everything that I'm considering so I can make what I view as more educated decisions. It's improved my decision making, it's improved my problem solving skills. And anytime you can do that, that's going to make life a lot lighter and a lot easier.

Remember, you already have the answer inside you. It's already living up there in your brain. The mind maps are just a way to get it out of your head and onto the page so you can look at it objectively. Give it a try next time you're looking for an answer or a solution.

Now, this is one little life hack that I wanted to throw your way. I'd love to hear from you and see what you think about it. So be sure to come on over to the Easy Aging® Facebook group, I'm leaving you a link in the show notes. Come on over and let's have a conversation about how that's working for you, okay?

(10:25)

And don't forget to get on my email list at theeasyagingshow.com. Until next time, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care, bye-bye.

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