Does the Pomodoro Technique really work?

Today we’ll discuss the Pomodoro technique. Is it for you? I tested it for a week and was surprised with the results.

Being someone who loves all things that make us productive, I had been a tad apprehensive about trying this Pomodoro thing out. However after speaking with some free-lance friends that utilize it daily, I thought I would give it a try. The results might surprise you. But first lets discuss this technique in more detail.

1: What is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of focus (sometimes called sprints) and rest. These intervals are called “Pomodoros” (or “tomatoes” in Italian), after the tomato shaped-kitchen timers that work perfectly for timing sessions. Pomodoros are separated by short breaks for distractions, daydreaming, snacking—whatever. It works something like this:

  • Choose a task to work on exclusively for 25 minutes.
  • Set a timer.
  • Work on the task until the timer rings.
  • Take a five-minute break.
  • Repeat this cycle four times and then take a 15-minute break.

2: How to Pomodoro You find a timer, or use an APP like Focus Keeper. This is the app that I used. You then break your workday into 25-minute sprints, separated by quick 5 minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After you have completed 4 pomodoros, you then earn a longer break of 20-25 minutes.

Then repeat as many times as you want for your workday.

The timer is meant to force a sense of urgency. These 25 minute sprints keep you lasered focused as you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress as possible on the task that you are working on.

The forced breaks, make you take a breather and helps lesson the stress of sitting in front of your computer for hours at a time. It is important that you get up, walk around and step away from your desk for this time.

3: Trying it out in the real world Like I said to start this episode, I was a little apprehensive. I like to get into a project and grind it out for a few hours at a time.

I set the timer on my phone and got started. It felt strange in the beginning and I had to work hard at actually following the timeline. The first 25 minutes rolled around and I thought to myself, that I had just started. I almost blew off the timer a few times in the beginning, but I forced myself to play by the pomodoro rules format.

It took a few tries but eventually I took those 25 minutes as a challenge to get as much completed as possible. it really help me place an emphasis on staying focused and productive. I was not tempted to multi-task or jump around to another project. I focused for the entire 25 minutes on that one task at hand!

I also realized that because I was taking regular scheduled breaks, I felt better at the end of the work day. I was very satisfied with my production. The pomodoro technique was actually making me more productive and I felt batter at the end of the day as well. It was a true win-win.

It is important to note that the pomodoro technique can have its challenges when you become distracted by a phone call, a scheduled meeting or a co-worker. At this time you have a decision to make. You stop the pomodoro and address the distraction right away or you postpone the distraction until the current round of pomodoro is completed. This will depend on your situation.

4: What did I think? It really does work? Is it for everyone? I don’t think so. If you have a business or a position that dictates you sit at a desk working on a computer for most of your day, then this technique could be the boost you are looking for in your daily productivity! If you are someone that has your day interrupted often with phone calls and meetings, then this might not be the tool for you.

For me, it worked great and I will continue to utilize the pomodoro technique going forward. See you can teach an old dog new tricks. You just have to be open minded to try new things. Good luck!

My last day at the Home Depot was a Tuesday Oct 5th, back in October 2021. I was 2 days from my 13 year anniversary of bleeding orange. The past 6-8 months had been a struggle. A struggle that I had caused by making a terrible hiring decision a year and a half ago. I will go into that later in another episode of Retail Storytime, this story is how I was was fired. My District manager and I did not agree on how we should be handling a toxic manager that worked in our store. I knew things were not going to end well for me, as my DM started to separate himself from me and the situation. My so-called “HR Professional” was no where to be found. (Yes another story to be told in the future) I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I am very observant and I could tell, this was not going to end well.

I started talking to my wife and we decided it was time to break away from the Home Depot and start our new small business. We had been discussing this for the past year or so and the time seemed right. Even if it was being forced on me at that time. I have always taken pride in my ability to pivot and I was not going to be caught off-guard.

Well, I thought that was the case. We had decided to turn in my resignation on Oct 11, giving my 2-3 week notice, as I thought that would have been fair for the company and my team.

So back to Oct 5th, I was in my garden center working on some freight. We had been struggling, so we were helping the night team, by throwing some freight. In the middle of this, sometime around 9-10 am I get a call from my DM, He asks if I could meet him at Denny’s. I said sure and hung up the phone.

I had a bad feeling about this call. I told my assistant manager that I was going to meet the DM at Denny’s then headed out the door. I called my wife Jamie and let her know that it was probably going to be my last day. She did not think that would happen, but I just had a feeling.

Well an hour later I was no longer employed by the orange. I had been fired at a Denny’s in Joplin Missouri. Everything started going very fast at that time. I called my wife, told her what happened and her reply was, well come home and get started on the new project! (There is a reason I love this women)

The thing that pisses me off was the fact that he would not allow me to go back to the store that day. I was not fired for stealing or doing anything that would hurt my team or the company. I was fired because I was trying to hold a toxic associate accountable and my leadership team, was more concerned in protecting the brand than protecting a hard working associate that had never been in any trouble in his 12 almost 13 years with the company.

I digress, I wanted to part ways professionally with my team, and this was taken away from me. It had been drilled into our heads during many leadership training, that it was imperative to keep people dignity in tact during a situation like this. I am glad they did that with me…

So there it is, I will never look at a Denny’s the same way again. Lessoned learned that day. if your leader calls you and asks you to meet at Denny’s, find another place to meet.

Well that is it for my first retail Storytime. I want to ensure that everyone who hears this or reads the blog article, understands that I have nothing but praise for the Home Depot! I love that company and the time I spent there. They took great care of me and my family for over 12 years. I loved bleeding Orange.

I hope that you found the first part of this episode concerning the Pomodoro technique interesting and maybe you will try it out for yourself. Let me know in the comments how it worked for you.

The second part of this episode was the first in a series of many Retail Storytime moments. Tell me your thoughts. Would you like to hear more of my retail stories? Some will be entertaining, some educational, and some are just downright ridiculous. You will get the good, the bad, and the ugly from my personal retail experience. Thank you for listening. Until our next episode, be safe and Be Kind!

Please remember to subscribe to Productive Mayhem on all of your favorite podcast service platforms and don’t forget to visit our website managethemayhem.blog

Episode resources:
Productivity 101: An Introduction to The Pomodoro Technique
You have heard about the pomodoro technique and you want to know more
The Focus Keeper App

Episode 006: Want to boost your productivity? Write it down!

In this episode, we’ll discuss the the benefits of writing things down and how this simple act can make you more productive and happy.

In today’s world of high tech, the thought of writing things down seems archaic. We have all of these great tools available to us, why not take advantage of them?

I am a confessed tech kind of guy. I love all the new gadgets and tools that make things easier in my day to day life. However with that said nothing beats the “Old School” process of writing things down. Here are my 7 reasons on why you should be utilizing the pen and pad.

1: STAY ON TOP OF YOUR PRIORITIES I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more I seem to forget things. This problem is amplified by all of things being thrown at me during the day. The expectation that we stay of top of things in our work and personal lives increases daily. Believe it or not, our brains have a limited amount of space and eventually something will fall through the cracks. How do we fix this problem you might ask. Write down your priorities and keep them available for future reference. If it is important to you, then write it down.

2: HANDWRITTEN NOTES TEND TO BE MORE ACCURATE AND DETAILED I am usually more accurate with information when I write it down. The fact that you are writing, makes you focus intensely on the information. This means that dates and details are documented with the most accuracy when writing them down. You will also collect more details during this type of information transfer. Some researchers suggest that the act of typing notes, leads to a limited processing of information. Give it a try and write it down.

3: CAPTURE THE MOMENT It is strange how my thoughts and ideas seem to pop up at the oddest of hours. I know that if I don’t capture those thoughts right away they will be gone in just a few moments. I keep a pen and a pad on my nightstand. I can’t tell you how many times I have written something down and the next morning did not even recall doing it. I would have lost those thoughts and ideas, had I relied on remembering them. Just another reason to write things down.

4: AIM HIGH AND THINK BIG When you write things down, no matter how big or small, it opens up a world of possibility! You can get “real” with yourself when you write things down. We have a chance to think about the possibilities, to explore our dreams and ambitions. It allows for us to think big without the negativity from external sources. Writing things down allows for us to expand on our dreams. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Wow, pretty powerful stuff.

“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.”

Michael Leboeuf

5: CREATES COMMINTMENT & ACCOUNTABLITY The moment you decide to write something down, it becomes a commitment. Writing things down makes it more likely that you will take action and reach the desired result from that note. It also lends itself to being accountable in creating the desired results that you are looking for. This type of personal accountability is a strong motivator and results in more completed tasks and deadlines being met. Write it down and take action.

6: MENTAL HEALTH Many experts recommend that each of us should start the day by sitting down and writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. Sometimes this activity is called “morning pages“. This act is a great way to clear your mind and free up that used space to get started with your day. I have been doing this regularly for a few years now and I would be lost without it. Nothing beats getting up, and enjoying a warm cup of coffee while writing in my bullet journal. It allows for me to reflect and to be thankful for all that I have. It really sets the day up for success. You should give it a try.

7: KEEP A RECORD OF YOUR JOURNEY The act of writing things down will help with your productivity, but it will also help record your life’s journey. This little task will become a great way to look back at the good and to help you grow from the not so good. This activity is a great way to measure where you are today compared to where you were in the past. It is empowering to see our own development. Heck you might even learn something about yourself, that you never realized in the past.

We have gone over 7 powerful tips on how writing things down can make you more productive. Now it is your turn. I challenge each of you to take a moment to think about which of these steps would benefit you the most. Then I challenge you to take 30 days and utilize the process of writing things down. I can assure you, that after those 30 days you will have learned something about yourself and in the process become more productive.

Go ahead and give it a try.

Please remember to subscribe to Productive Mayhem on all of your favorite podcast service platforms and don’t forget to visit our website managethemayhem.blog Have a great week everyone and until the next time we get together remember to Be safe and kind.

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Does an Organized desk equal Productivity? The simple answer is YES!

Most of us spend many hours a day at our desks. Creating a clutter-free and organized workspace is essential in maintaining focus and staying on top of high-priority items.

Have you ever misplaced an important document, or struggled to find a note from a previous conversation? Most of us spend many hours a day at our desks, creating a clutter-free and organized workspace is essential in maintaining focus and staying on top of high-priority items. The following 7 steps will help you create a workspace that is efficient and maximizes your workspace.

  • Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it.
    Stick with the basics, you know computer, notepad, and pen. I use a bullet journal so it is always by my side. I also make it a habit to put my phone in my desk drawer if possible. This helps with those pesky notifications or phone calls from becoming a distraction.
  • Dual Screens are your friend.
    I really dislike jumping between tabs when I am working on a project. Having a dual monitor system can help with this. If you are like me you use a laptop for the most part and after a few hours, that little screen becomes fatiguing. Having a 2nd larger monitor is a game changer.
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com
  • Practice the theory of “Desktop Zero”.
    Many of you are familiar with project Zero Inbox. The same principle applies to Desktop Zero. At the end of the day or the end of a project. Take a moment to clean up your desk, this allows for a clean start the next day or before you start on that next project. I do this after each blog post or podcast. I clean up the workspace, get rid of the research papers or sites that I have used previously. I want a clean canvas to start my next project.
  • Make it personal, just not too personal.
    I like to have a few pictures of my “why” in eyeshot. It helps motivate me when I need a boost. These personal items remind me of “why” I am sitting at this desk and what I want to accomplish. Be careful, about what you have on your desk, too many personal things can lead to distraction, the ultimate productivity killer. So be careful.
  • Control your workflow.
    The only items on your desk should relate to the current project that you are working on. (except my coffee cup) I would recommend utilizing Stephen Covey‘s Time Management Matrix, if you need some guidance in this area. If it is not needed for the current project at hand, it should not be on the desk.
Photo by Darlene Alderson on Pexels.com
  • Don’t forget the note-taking.
    It has been proven that when you write something down, it is easier for you to remember. It also frees up space in your mind. No one can remember everything and in today’s world, we are bombarded with many things. We do not have the capability to recall everything we see or hear. I am a huge fan of the bullet journal for taking notes. It is a great place to keep all of my thoughts and projects in one location. Everyone takes notes differently, just do it.
  • Where’s the trash can?
    I know this seems trivial, but how many times do you need to throw something away, but the receptacle is 4-5 feet away. Now you have to get up and throw the item away. Guess what? Now you are distracted. I like having my trash can well within reach, that way it’s a quick action and I am back to the important stuff.

Bonus tip: Cable management will make you smile.
Have you ever sat at your desk and you have a cabling nightmare on the floor or under your desk? Go pick up a few cable management supplies. This will allow you to have a clean and safe workspace while allowing you to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

For every hour spent organizing, an hour is earned

– Benjamin Franklin

You might ask if all of this is truly necessary and the answer is yes. An organized workspace creates a good impression on visitors and more importantly your team. It has been proven that an unorganized workspace leads to distraction and impedes your ability to stay on course.

Photo by Ken Tomita on Pexels.com

The bottom line is this. A cluttered workspace leads to stress and a lack of productivity. However, a clean and organized working area will motivate and help drive your level of productivity. It will also inspire confidence inside you and your team. This boosts morale and will lead to a better working environment.

What have you got to lose? If you have a disorganized workspace, and you feel frustrated with losing documents or always looking for things, then give operation Clean Desk a try. It could make your life a lot easier.

I would love to hear in the comments how this works out for you and your teams. Send me some before and after pictures of your workspace. Take a moment to join our private Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2222563531245524 it is a great space to get support and to offer others tips & tricks on what works for you. Let’s share all of these great ideas with each other.

Until next time everyone, be safe and be kind.

More tools & Resources

The Swiss Cheese Method

Think Cheese to defeat ProcrastinationThe best way to overcome procrastination is to break down larger projects into smaller tasks or time chunks.
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Stop feeling overwhelmed when a big project presents itself. Think CHEESE, Swiss cheese that is. Tackle those large projects with confidence, learn how to overcome frustration and loss of focus with this simple technique. So let’s jump in and get started!

We all have felt that overwhelmed feeling when trying to figure out how to get started on a large project. There are so many things that need to be done, but you just don’t know where to get started. I am sure we all have experienced this from time to time. Think CHEESE the next time that this happens, I am sure it will help you get started!

Alan Lakein the author of “How to get control of your time & your life” thought if a task was overwhelming you and you did not know how to get started, you should poke holes in it like Swiss Cheese.

Think of the holes as small parts of the project that take up small amounts of time. If you keep making more holes, the overall project seems less intimidating and more manageable.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

—Mark Twain

You will be very surprised how much can be accomplished in small chunks of time. With just 10 minutes, you can gain some confidence and momentum that will help carry you to the end of the project. The goal is to make that first hole.

4 quick and easy steps to learn the Swiss Cheese Method

  • Identify the task at hand
  • Create a shortlist of small actions that can help you complete the task. Think of it as a road map to help you get to the finish line.
  • Prioritize this small list and batch them in bite-sized actions
  • Don’t delay and start on the first action NOW! Just a quick 10-15 minutes to put things in motion.

As you do these steps you will gain more confidence and feel better about yourself and where you are with the project.

If you have 10-15 minutes, don’t allow the thought process of not having enough time to get anything accomplished to come into play. Instead, ask yourself these questions,

  • What can I get done in 10-15 minutes?
  • How can I utilize this time to take a bite out of the cheese?

If you keep small taking bites and making more holes in the cheese, you will be amazed at how far you have come in completing the entire project. Take advantage of the few minutes you can spare, to keep moving forward with the project.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

Remember that the only cure for procrastination is ACTION!

So the next time, you are having an issue getting started with that project that just seems too large, remember to think cheese and try the Swiss Cheese method.

Misc Links:
How to get control of your time and your life by Alan Lakein
Website Managethemayhem.blog
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2222563531245524
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/managethemayhem/

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4 ways to maximize retail staff productivity

Many factors come into play for helping maximize staff productivity. These 4 tips will go a long way in making your organization successful.

Productivity is a metric that every store leader wants to increase. The end goal is to maximize productivity, which will ultimately lead to increased sales and overall store success. In this post, we will give you 4 tips for making your team more productive.

This entire post will focus on the most important aspect of retail management and that is the front-line customer-facing team. These are the folks that are in front of customers daily, driving the customer’s experience as well as driving sales.

During the past two years, the retail environment has been in chaos. Retailers did not know how to run a business in the middle of a pandemic. (This is not a dig, as NO ONE could have seen that coming.) Some pivoted and did the best they could, whereas others did not, causing employees to be uninspired and unmotivated. Not a good combination for success. Each store leader should ask themselves this question when less than desirable staff performance is happening.

  • Do you have the right people in place? Speaking from experience, of managing during the pandemic. Leaders and employees saw the true character of the folks they were working alongside with. There were a lot of people who took advantage of the situation. This allowed some employees to take advantage of their peers and leadership. It also allowed for leadership to take advantage of front-line associates. It was a huge learning experience. Looking at your team, do you have the right people in place?
  • Are you investing enough in them? Trust me. $13 an hour is not inspiring any employee to go above and beyond. Having a pizza party is one thing, but how is that really motivating your team? Investing in your team, utilizing the 4 tips listed below will get a positive response. Let’s take a closer look.

Why is productivity important in retail?

For retailers, in-store productivity is one of the most important metrics. It determines customer service levels, how fast tasks are completed, how many transactions take place, and how many products are sold. However, unlike other industries, there are a lot more factors that influence productivity and efficiency in the retail environment.

Training – Having employees understand products and services is good, but in today’s retail environment more is needed to be successful. The ultimate training focus should be on driving a great customer experience, not looking at each customer in terms of money spent, but engaging with the customer. Leaders and front-end teams need the training to become better listeners and problem solvers. I used to tell my managers, anyone can know the widgets (products), our job is to ensure that our employees are armed with the knowledge to make the customers experience a great one! Spend your time developing great customer service behaviors among your front-line team. The results will be amazing!

Prioritize – As we all know, retail is a chaotic, ever-changing work environment. All leaders and front line associates have walked in the door with a plan for the day, only for that to go out the window 5 minutes after hitting the floor. Being able to prioritize the most important tasks for the day will allow you and your team to stay focused while driving sales and that world-class customer service experience. I used to challenge my leaders with this. If you are doing a task or working with an employee and you get interrupted to help a customer or to take care of another situation, how quickly do you get back to the task that you were doing before that happened? Interruptions will happen, it’s how you get back to the original task that will show results. Having your task prioritized will help with this.

Systems – Understanding that routines and creating behaviors are essential to increase staff productivity. A quick example would be single-tasking. During certain times of the day (stores busiest hours) employees are focused on one thing, driving a great customer service experience. The objective of single-tasking is to limit distractions by focusing on one thing only. There are many systems that will help your team stay productive. Utilize roles and routines to help define these systems.

Feedback – I think this is an area that all retail leaders can improve. During the past couple of years of managing employees during the pandemic, I feel like we have lost our way in giving productive feedback. This has played a major role in retailers losing the confidence of their employees. Let’s take a quick look at some feedback opportunities.

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com
  • Positive feedback is a lost art. I know that I have struggled with it from time to time. Why is that you might ask? Too many managers will offer great feedback and then follow that up with a but statement. You know, the great job on completing that report, however, next time can you do it in a different format as this was hard to read. If you are offering positive feedback the goal should be that the employee or manager leaves feeling like they did something well. I had a district leader who was great with a great job, but communication style. It defeats the purpose of the “positive” feedback. It does not inspire confidence. or motivate.
  • Constructive feedback is key to growing and becoming a better leader or employee. This feedback should be thought out with the following in mind. You want to give feedback in a non-negative way that will help the employee grow and learn from the experience. It should be more of a coaching discussion.
  • Performance management discussions are essential. Many leaders are not comfortable giving this type of feedback, however, I feel that you are doing a disservice to your employees and your team if you don’t address this type of feedback. The quickest way to lose the confidence of your team is to not address performance feedback. This type of feedback needs to be timely and with the goal of improving the employee’s performance. This takes place when the leaders define the employee’s role, help the employee optimize their performance by utilizing SMART goals. Develop the employee’s skills needed to be successful and to maximize strengths. Schedule follow-up feedback to praise or course correct when needed.

There is no one size fits all productivity solution in today’s retail environment. Your store ultimately needs to run as efficiently and smoothly as possible in order to meet sales goals and deliver a great working environment for your team, while providing the best customer service possible. If you put the 4 tips discussed in place, then you and your staff will maximize productivity while more importantly being happier in the workplace.

Thank you for stopping by. If you found some value in this post and would like to be contacted when we write more articles, then please join our community by subscribing below.
We also have a great community in our facebook group located here. Come join us.


Higher Standards will upgrade your life.

It comes down to the personal standards you set for yourself and for your life.

I think we have all done this from time to time. You know, not holding your ground or giving in, when deep down you know it is not the right thing to do. I am not talking about anything unethical or unlawful, I am speaking about how you adjust “YOUR” standards to please other people.

Your personal standards are set by the way you treat people and by the way that you let them treat you. Personal standards are guided by a number of factors, including your self-esteem. The only way to raise your self-esteem to to raise your personal standards. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Get honest with people about who you are.
  • Tell people what you want.
  • Insist on people treating you the way that you deserve to be treated.

Once you are honest with people and they see that you are not going to alter your course, they will make the change… or they won’t. If they do not treat you better and live up to your personal standards then they are not meant to be in your life. Its as simple as that.

Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.

– Anthony Robbins

Take a moment today, to reflect on your personal standards. Are you happy with them? Are you satisfied with the way your friends and peers treat you? If the answer is yes, then GOOD for you! However if you are not happy, then look in the mirror and create a plan to improve your standards. Follow the three steps listed above to get started. You deserve better!

Have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us here at Manage The Mayhem. We also have a private Facebook group. Please think about joining our community.


How reflection can increase your productivity.

Instead of rushing to end your day, take a moment to reflect on the day! It will help you increase your productivity and it will make you feel better as well.

Before we jump right in, we have some great news!

We are now listed on Apple podcast as well as all of the other major podcast directories. So please pass this podcast along to your family and friends.

Without further delay – Let’s get started!

The key to this is to not over-think the process. The day is done and what has happened can not be changed, so the best that we can hope for is to learn from it and set it free.
This process should not take more than 10-15 minutes

1- Ask yourself what went well today
Think of 2-3 things that were a positive from your day. It is very important to celebrate the wins form the day.
2- Look for situations where you could do better going forward
I am sure that at the end of the workday, we all could look back and remember moments in our day where we could have done better. The goal is to take ownership of it and learn from it.
3- What will be the first task you complete tomorrow?
We know that your workday is chaotic, the best way to seize the day and start it off on your terms is to know the first task that you have to do when you start the next day. There is a great feeling, in knowing that you were in charge at the start of your day. Now after that.. only time will tell.
4- What do I need to let go of?
After you have taken inventory of the day, analyzed what was great and what could use some work, we need to reflect on the things that we can let go of. Freeing up that space in your mind is essential to your personal well-being.
5- Express Gratitude
Practicing gratitude helps us to view life through a more positive lens, prioritizing optimistic thoughts over pessimistic ones and focusing on solutions rather than problems.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing!
It makes what is EXCELLENT in others belong to us as well

– Voltarie

After you have looked back on your day and completed these 5 things, then allow yourself to relax and look forward to the rest of your day. Allow yourself to be present, with family, friends, or just yourself.

Take care of yourself and that will allow you to be happier and more productive tomorrow.

Reflection Resources
10 Reflection Questions To End Your Day
Take a Load Off: The Missing Key to Productivity Is Reflection
What is Productive Reflection?
End Your Workday With These 4 Questions

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The Basics of Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a creative exercise used to explore ideas
Generated quickly using Milanote

I remember the first time I saw it at a project meeting. The whiteboard started off with the project being written in the middle and then each of us as department heads would add ideas and thoughts on how we would help with the process. The collaboration in that meeting was unbelievable. It was in a word.. mind-blowing. It has changed the way I think of project development ever since.

What do you need to mind map?
One thing to remember, there is not right or wrong way to mind map. This is a creative process and we do not want to slow it down by making a ton of rules.

The great thing about this process is all that you need is a piece of paper, a white board or anything else that you can use as a canvas. If I am the only one mind mapping, then I utilize the my Bullet Journal. this has been my productivity partner of choice for the past 4 years. I tend to remember and focus on things that I write down.

The 3 core concepts to get you started.

#1 – Place the central project, theme, or idea in the middle of your canvas.

#2 – Now start to think of related ideas needed for the project or theme. Brainstorm, add these ideas to your canvas. Place the ideas around the main theme. Do not hesitate or overthink. In most cases, your first thoughts were good and makes the most sense. Do not hesitate to throw anything out there, even if you decide not to use it. Utilize annotations to help with taking action.

#3 – Utilize lines, symbols or colors to connect and create relationships between the ideas

Leave space for more ideas, thoughts, or notes. This is a living document. Develop your own style of mind mapping. The idea is to create an environment of creative thinking, feedback, and idea-sharing.

here is an example – building a dog house -square around the main theme, circle for the sub themes and then number or highlight other important items.

If you have a team, then one of the digital mind mapping tools outlined next can help with collaboration. In today’s working environment, mind mapping software is crucial as many people are still working from home.

There are a plethora of digital software tools available. MindMup, Smartdraw, and Scapple just to name a few.

I use Milanote to organize my thoughts and ideas. Take some time and find out which tool would benefit you. Some of these options have a free option, so you can try them before you buy.

The Mind Mapping Software Blog, did a survey and came up with some interesting data. The report will be available in the show notes as well.

  • Busy executives (ever met an executive who wasn’t busy?) claimed mind mapping software helped them be 20-30% more productive in their work. That result hasn’t changed in the surveys over an eight-year period, so it’s probably safe to accept it as solid data.
  • A large percentage of survey respondents claimed mind mapping increases their creativity by 30%. When they asked a related question about divergent thinking, 46.5% said that mind mapping helped them “to a large extent” to think divergently.
  • Expert users said mind mapping software saved them an average of seven hours a week. Not sure how they determined expertise, but unless you’re using mind mapping software pretty extensively, I think you may see less time savings. Saving time is the main benefit I’m trying to highlight in this article.
  • And 78% of the survey respondents said that mind mapping software helped them present their ideas with greater impact.
This is my adaptation of one of our corporate walks at the store.

Why does Mind Mapping work?
Basically, the reason that mind mapping is so effective is most of us are visually stimulated. We tend to take in visual data and information quicker and remember it longer.

Mind maps help stimulate collaborative thinking and that helps to generate new ideas.

Mind Mapping lends itself to provide a global overview when the project or theme are complex. This process does not allow for ideas or thoughts to get lost

What is the benefit of using the mind map technique?
The bottom line is improved productivity and it helps spark creativity. In my experience people who utilize the mind mapping process seem to significantly improve their ability to communicate ideas or solutions. allowing for collaboration and meaningful engagement from all participants.

The process of mind mapping has increased my creativity and productivity. It allows for me and my team to generate ideas and solutions while connecting different metrics, data, and information.

As you can see, utilizing mind mapping is a simple and easy process. The next time you or your team have a project to discuss, try it. Don’t overthink the process just jump in and do it. If you would like to watch a short video explaining the process more in depth then click on the link in the show notes. My Secret for mind mapping.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about mind mapping or other productivity tips & tricks, leave a comment at managethemayhem.blog and we will try to answer as quickly as possible.

How to hit the ground running in 2022!

2022 is here and you want to start writing a new chapter in your life. Here are 5 steps that will set you on the correct path.

I love the start of a new year! It allows for us to reflect on the past, celebrate the wins, evaluate the failures, and put in motion a plan to leverage those wins and learn from the failures. Here are 5 tips that will keep you focused on creating the best year ever.

1- Find an accountability partner
You are more likely to achieve your goals if you have an accountability partner or group. No one likes going at things by themselves. Putting your goals or resolution out there for all to see can be a scary situation. However if you find a good accountability partner/ group (be selective when choosing this partner) they will supply the  positive motivation when needed, as well as help you course correct if you get off track. This is especially helpful if you find it hard to stay the course on your own.

Finding the right accountability partner is key. This person or group should be comfortable in giving you constructive and productive feedback when needed. There will be times when your accountability partner must communicate feedback that you might not agree with. This partnership will only be successful if this person has your best interest at heart and is comfortable in providing the type of feedback that is needed. Your accountability partner or group should be your #1 cheerleader and motivator. Your success is their success. However they can’t be afraid to have a hard conversation with you, and you have to be able to look in the mirror and listen to the feedback. Your success is their success. So choose this partner or group wisely. We all need support from time to time, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for this partnership.

2- Get ready for tomorrow the night before
Several people struggle in the morning trying to find the right outfit to wear, they spend lots of lost time looking for their wallet and keys. This just starts the day off badly. Take control of tomorrow the night before. Pick out the clothes you want to wear, get all of your important items located and easily accessible. Take a moment to mentally prepare for the next day. What is on the agenda? What’s the weather look like? These little things will put you in the right frame of mind to tackle the next day. Less stress equals a good start to the day.

3- Re-evaluate your inbox
Believe it or not, you DO NOT have to address every email as soon as it arrives. The ability to look at emails and evaluate if you can answer them in 1-2 minutes. If yes, then take care of it. If not then flag it, delete it or delegate it. Spend your time creating results instead of wasting time responding to an email that can be taken care of at a later date or time. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of this new year, to look at your inbox. Do you need to react, delegate or delete? Take action and take control of your inbox.

4- Set attainable and specific goals
The quickest path to failure is setting goals or resolutions that are not attainable. A good example is to say that you are going to exercise everyday of the week. Is this really something that you can accomplish? How about setting a plan in place to exercise 3 days a week? Much easier to do and it will help you create a routine of exercising. Too many people bite off more than they can chew. If the goal is out of reach, then you are wasting your time. Be specific, set a timeline, then hold yourself accountable. Find an accountability partner that will help guide and motivate you.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

5- Stop repeating the same failures
Evaluate why you failed, then formulate a different plan of action. repeating the same steps and expecting a different result is wasting your time. Instead, look for a new solution and ask for help. Understand the impact that the previous failure created and formulate a different plan to achieve the desired results. Visualize what a successful resolution will look like. Give yourself a break! Failure is not a reflection of who you are. Failure happens several times each day, for many reasons, sometimes for reasons not in one’s control. Failure means you took a shot and it did not work out. Learn from it and move along! The key is to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

The new year is a time of reflection. Take a moment to see if one or some of the above tips would help you be more productive, then give it a try. What do you have to lose?