Live a More Effective Life Mapping Your Most Important Decisions

Filed Under Mindjet

Michael Deutch

July 7, 2009

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Every day we’re confronted with many decisions. Some big, some small. How do you approach which software package to implement? Or, more importantly, how do you approach which life path should you take? Should you start your own business? Take that job you were just offered? The choices we make in the moment could have long and important repercussions.

John Hammond, author of Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions, stresses the importance of a consistent approach to decision making… 

"Despite the importance of decision making to our lives, few of us ever receive any training in it. So we are left to learn from experience. But experience is a costly, inefficient teacher that teaches us bad habits along with good ones. Because decision situations vary so markedly, the experience of making one important decision often seems of little use when facing the next."

Last Thursday, I posted a link to Luciano Passuello’s review of the Hammond’s book, The Essential Guide to Effective Decision Making. While reading the post, I realized that this approach to decision making is perfect for MindManager.


Live a more effective life…

The following map example can be applied to both work and life. It can be updated individually or as a team. The latter can help develop better choices, improve communication, and create alignment.

Basically, you have to clearly define your problem statement. Then, an often overlooked step is to identify your true objectives. After you’ve identified the problem and understand your objectives, brainstorm your list of alternatives. For each alternative, there can be consequences and tradeoffs.

Understand all of these and you’ve created the ‘big picture’ from which you can truly evaluate and select the best option for moving forward. The map template has notes from Luciano’s post and links to more resources. As Luciano states, "this process may seem like a lot of work to go through. However, after you use it a couple of times, you’ll realize that, if you walk through the steps in order, you’ll seldom need to go through them all."

Download Map Now

Question for our readers: What important decisions have you made with the help of mind mapping?  


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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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5 Responses to “Live a More Effective Life Mapping Your Most Important Decisions”

  1. Michael Rose

    Thanks Michael… I must remember that I’ve got all these tools when I’m right in the middle of my degree and I’m wondering where all that focus went :)

  2. Michael Deutch

    Wow, Michael. Congrats! Sounds like your life has really transformed as a result of your efforts and from the clarity you’ve gained throughout the process. Very inspirational.

  3. Michael Rose

    At the end of ’08 I read David Allen’s ‘Making it all work’. I had a whole 5 days at the beginning of the year and spent a whole day on each of the 5 steps. At the end of the process my mind was so clear of the ‘runway’ and ‘project level’ stuff I was able to think long and hard about the higher levels of focus.

    I’d also happened to catch Marissa Mayer (Google VP) in a talk about making big decisions and she mentioned what I’ve come to call the ‘Mayer Method’. She basically said that before moving to Google she created a list of all the good decisions she’d ever made in life and what motivations and values they all had in common (i.e. working with people, wanting more creative freedom, moving East, stretching herself, etc.)

    I applied this method to my GTD perspectives process and used MindManager to get everything down on paper. I just got everything down on paper and then made sense of it the following day.

    The result? Me dropping 5 or 6 largish projects that no longer worked for me, I decided to quit my job and go freelance and I’ve just applied to do the MA I’d been wanting to do for almost 10 years!

    GTD + Mayer + MindMap = major life changes and making sense of the motivations behind them = never been happier :)


  1.  The Essential Guide to Effective Decision Making | Sumo Mouse
  2.  The Essential Guide to Effective Decision Making