Integrate Your Work in Dashboards for Optimal Performance

Filed Under Mindjet

Michael Deutch

by
May 7, 2009

What were you doing before you clicked the link? Did you get distracted from some other task at hand? If so, you’re not alone!

With trillions of emails, voicemails, texts, instant and social media messages flying around, it’s amazing anyone gets anything done! The cost of information overload and overwhelm is rising, now reported costing over $900 billion annually.

So, how can we achieve peak performance?

There are tons of productivity tricks to help you overcome overwhelm. Turning off email notifications, shutting down instant messenger, and sending calls directly to voicemail are simple tricks that can be implemented immediately. Blogs like Lifehacker, zen habits, and 43 folders have sky-rocketed in popularity because they’ve developed their niche providing guidance to the millions who are drowning in information and constant interruptions. One thing these blogs all agree upon: they’ve written about mind mapping and how it increases your productivity!

Eliminate Distractions with Dashboard Mind Maps

Mind maps are often thought of as a visual method to map out thoughts and ideas. Going beyond the ‘traditional’ definition, another powerful use is to create a dashboard for a project, process, your day, week, or even your life.

Maps provide holistic views of everything related to the subject, including thoughts and links to files, websites, emails, etc… With dashboard mind maps, you’ll spend less time looking for information avoiding potential distractions and more time focused on making a positive impact at work and in life!

Dashboard mind maps come in a variety of flavors; the most common are process, project, and personal dashboards.

 

Process Dashboard Maps

Process dashboard maps are created to guide the execution of a multi-step process. For instance, I’ve created a map to support my writing of the Mindjet blog. It contains links that I use to research and write blog posts. After publishing posts, I filter the map based on the post’s theme to display the relevant links where I will promote the post.

 

Project Dashboard Maps

Project dashboard maps provide quick and easy access to the project’s important information including your goals & objectives, plans, status, deliverables, etc… They can be used by individual project managers or team members or collaboratively updated (with Mindjet Connect).

 

 

Personal Dashboard Maps

Personal dashboard maps tie together everything in your life, providing you with the big picture and all the important details that matter most to you.

 

Here are three additional resources to help you create a dashboard map:

 

Tips for Creating Dashboard Mind Maps

Add Links with File Explorer
You may already know that dragging files from your desktop right onto your map creates topics with hyperlinks to the file. But there’s an even faster way to add files to your dashboard maps using the file explorer. With just a few clicks, you can link all your relevant files and folders into your dashboard providing instant access. Updates within your linked folders will appear automatically in your map when the map is refreshed with the F5 key.

Video: How to Add Links with the File Explorer

 

Access Links with the Embedded Browser
Linking to content provides the ability to organize everything visually. Take it to the next level by using MindManager 8’s embedded browser to do your work without ever losing context or perspective.

Use the embedded browser to access and work with web applications and Microsoft Office files directly inside MindManager. I recently asked the MindManager Enthusiast’s group on LinkedIn how MindManager has impacted their productivity. Here are a couple of the responses:

    “Hello Michael: I use the embedded browser functionality everyday for my projects. I have all my major deliverables for the year in one map. The topics of the map contain the various deliverables. Each deliverable has project information, links to websites, links to Excel, PowerPoint, and Word documents. I review all those documents and websites "in the map" using the embedded browser functionality. Truly a time saver!” 

—Chance Brown, Learning & Development Specialist and Visual Mapping Consultant

 

    “Hi Michael. I always have dozens of projects going in mind maps, and most of them require extensive research (writing projects, workshop/webinar development, presentations, blog posts, client proposals, etc.) Any content I find related to or in support of one of my projects goes directly into the corresponding map. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I first discovered the "Send to MindManager" button in my web browser several versions ago. I totally did away with the "Add to Favorites" browser process and now organize all of my web info in mind maps. But to have web and document content display right in the map interface now is such a productivity boost! Just being able to clip and paste notes from research sources directly into maps from within the same window is such an awesome time saver. Well done!” 

—Jocelyn Coverdale, Productivity Expert and Office Organizing Specialist, National Speaker and Trainer — Ballantrae Solutions

 

Integrate with Microsoft Outlook or gmail
If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, send items directly from Outlook into your dashboard maps. In the Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, and Tasks sections, click either of the two MindManager icons to send a selected item or a folder to your map.

Video: Add Microsoft Outlook Items and Folders

Another alternative is linking to emails in your gmail or Google docs which is explained in the Mindjet blog post: Integrate Gmail & Google Docs with MindManager.
 

Focus on Content with Tags and Filters
Finally, the last tip to get your dashboards up to speed is the use of map markers and power filters. Adding text and icon markers onto map topics not only adds meaning and context, but also lets you filter the map to display only the information you need at any given moment.

Why bother? Here are a few general examples of how I’ve filtered maps:

  • Show items that are assigned to ‘me’
  • Hide tasks that have been completed
  • Show topics related to an area of interest
  • Display topics with hyperlinks or attachments

Other ways to focus include using shortcut keys like F3 (focus on topic) and F4 (show /hide branch). Give them a try next time you’re navigating around your dashboard map.

 

So, now a question for our readers….What’s In Your Dashboard Map?

  

Downloadable Examples:

  

Related Resources:

 

  

About the Author: Michael Deutch is Mindjet’s Chief Evangelist, content contributor for the Mindjet Blog and the Mindjet Connections newsletter. Get more from Michael on Twitter

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