As we move into the official summer months of 2020, our normal anticipation is drastically changed. Things that we typically spend time doing, whether for adults or children, may be cancelled or modified – or still have unknown status. Plans we had made or things we anticipated doing are questionable or changed. Some things that are available may not feel safe yet. And things could revert back to more restrictions if the infection rates rise too much with re-opening. It’s very hard to plan right now.
This has at times paralyzed me – I don’t know how to look forward, even to the next 3 months. So I often go from day to day feeling numb. Have you had that experience? What can we do?
Creativity in this situation is important and needed. Yet we may feel as though we have used up a lot of our creative potential just getting through the past 3 months. Managing just the maintenance of daily life – especially if there are children in the household – has required lots of innovation.
How can we re-activate our creative juices as we edge into the summer months with few of the normal anchors and expectations?
I suggest mind mapping as a tool that can release creativity and engage the entire household. Mind mapping is a two-dimensional technique that uses imagery, drawings and color to help us tap into both sides of our brains. It is an alternative to the outline and list making techniques we often use. This powerful tool helps us visualize tasks or ideas, come up with new possibilities as we brainstorm, and organize our thoughts.
Basics of Mind Maps
Here are the steps to do simple, hand-drawn mind maps.
- Gather plain paper, colored pencils, markers, or crayons.
- Choose a topic you want to explore.
- Draw a circle in the center of the paper and write in your topic in a word or phrase.
- Draw lines out from the center where you write a few words, a symbol or drawing for each idea you have, and add sub-topics or related ideas in lines off these main points.
Include all the ideas no matter how absurd they may seem. Here’s where a new perspective or angle may reveal itself.
Make additional maps as off-shoots or expansions of your first map. You can expand, modify or discard ideas from the first map on the topic.
An Example of a Summer Mind Map
Start with the main topic of “Summer 2020” and think of several categories of things you want to be part of the season, like:
Accomplish 1 Big Goal, Have Fun/Recreation, Help Others, Explore, Read, Start a New Hobby
These are the spokes that come out from your main topic. Then add specific things that you want to do under each. For example, under Help Others, you might list Deliver flowers or a treat to a neighbor, Call an isolated relative weekly, etc.
Then start a new mind map for each subtopic, add the ideas as subtopics and think of how, when and who would be involved in each one. Here’s where you may weed out things you don’t want to do, and you can always add additional things that come to mind.
Mind maps become a planning tool that are good reminders of the larger picture and help keep track of details. Keeping your mind maps in a folder or binder is helpful.
This summer is going to be unusual and unique in so many ways. Your household can thrive in the midst of it with creativity and innovation. As things change, regroup with new mind maps. Flexibility and creativity are the keys to having an enjoyable season in the midst of the continual changes.
If you’d like to read more about mind-mapping, I have some previous blog posts here:
If you really want to learn about mind mapping from the originator of the technique, Tony Buzan published this just a couple of years ago. It’s a distillation of global research that has happened in the 5 decades since he first created this technique.