Life Recipes – Your Life Is About To Become A Lot Easier, And More Efficient!

Filed Under Mindjet


May 19, 2010


I’d like you to think about some of the many things you do in life with relative ease.

Need some inspiration? Well, here are several examples of things you probably do without much thought:

Getting ready and going to work every day
Driving a car
Taking your dog for a walk

While it’s easy to see of each of these activities simply as ‘something you do’, if you stopped to think about it, to accomplish each one requires you to follow a series of steps, usually in a specific order, time and time again.

For example, just to get ready and go to work every day consists of the following steps:

  • Know when you need to be at work
  • Set your alarm at least an hour before you need to be there
  • Wake up on time
  • Get coffee started
  • Take a shower
  • Brush your teeth
  • Figure out what clothes to wear
  • Put on clothes
  • Drink coffee
  • Prepare and eat breakfast
  • Read news
  • Grab umbrella, briefcase, and computer
  • Get into, and start your car
  • Drive to work

Now, despite there being a lot of things to do in this process (more than I probably listed here), what’s your average success rate for getting to work?

I would imagine its pretty close to 100% (except for those days when it’s raining outside, you’re warm and comfy in bed, and you really want to just stay home).

How is it possible you can do something so complex, day-in/day-out, with relative ease, and have close to a 100% rate of success?

Whether you realize it or not, it’s because you’ve developed a system for getting ready and going to work, and you follow it every single day you need to use it, and because you do, it consistently provides you with the result you’re after with the least amount of struggle and stress.

It’s really no different than following a specific recipe anytime you want to bake the perfect chocolate cake – follow the tried-and-true recipe exactly, and the result is a delicious, mind-numbing, chocolaty experience every single time (yes, I love chocolate cake).

With those kinds of stellar results, would you be interested in learning how to put this kind of approach to work in all areas of your life – from paying your taxes to planning your next vacation?

Would you like to learn how to create what I call, Life Recipes, for getting consistent results for all the multi-step, complex things you do in your life and business?

Well, it’s easy to do, and the ‘recipe box’ you’ll keep them in is a Mindjet MindManager mind map.

First, let’s look at the necessary elements for creating an effective Life Recipe.

How To Create An Life Recipe

Creating an Life Recipe isn’t really any different than creating a food recipe.

To begin, you simply need to define the following:

  • The Outcome/Result You Want – After you’ve used an Life Recipe, what clear result should you have? Is it to have the perfect vacation for the entire family? Is it to get the pictures you’ve taken on your digital camera onto your blog? Or is it to have your computer running at top performance? The outcome defines the name of the Life Recipe.
  • The Tools/Resources You’ll Need – What tools and/or resources do you need to make the result you’re after possible?
  • The Steps, From Start To Finish – What are the steps you need to follow, and in what sequence, in order to achieve the result you want?

Let’s look at an example:

The Result: Maintain My Computer For Optimal Performance
The Tools/Resources: Antivirus software (Microsoft Security Essentials and MalwareBytes), disk defragmenter/computer optimization software (IObit Advanced System Care)
The Steps (these are the actual steps I use):

  1. Run a thorough antivirus/malware check using Microsoft Security Essentials and MalwareBytes
  2. Open IObit Advanced System Care, go to Utilities, and run various tools in this section
  3. Make sure IObit Advanced System Care is scheduled to run regularly
  4. Uninstall unused programs
  5. Check for updates/upgrades to programs
  6. Check for updates to drivers
  7. Remove unused icons from Desktop
  8. Check backup
  9. Clean exterior of computer and mouse

Now, anytime I need to achieve this result (which for me is once a month), I just use this Life Recipe. There’s no thinking about it, spending time trying to figure out all the things I need to do, and a bunch of other inefficient nonsense – I effortlessly and easily just follow this recipe!

Imagine that kind of efficiency in your life for all the things you need to do.

In order to initially define the steps necessary to complete an Life Recipe, it’s usually best to go through the process as you think it should be done, and document the steps you take. But remember, there will be some trial and error involved as you begin using the Life Recipe and seeing how it can be improved (which WILL happen). So expect to update and improve it from time to time.

Organizing Your Life Recipes In MindManager

Due to it’s ability to organize information in a clear, visual way, there’s no better place to capture and organize your Life Recipes than MindManager.

After all, an important part of actually USING this approach is the need for your recipes to be readily available.

Organizing all your Life Recipes in a single mind map, and placing a link to the map on your desktop makes it super-simple to create, update, and use them as needed.

To begin, start a new map and name it Life Recipes.mmap, and enter Life Recipes as the core subject of the map.

Next, add main branches to the map that represent the ‘categories’ of your life or business, such as Home & CarTravelComputerBusinessHealth, and so on:


Now, whenever you have a new Life Recipe to add to your map, start a new sub-branch off main branch category, name it, and use the Notes section of that branch to list the steps that make up that recipe.


Include links and images in your steps, if they add to you ability to use the recipe effectively.

That’s all there is to it!

Life Recipe Ideas

You should consider creating an Life Recipe for anything in your life that requires multiple steps, that you anticipate doing more than once. That could be any number of things, but here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Planning a vacation
  • Creating a presentation
  • Organizing your office
  • Your kids’ back to school needs
  • Writing an article
  • Cleaning your car
  • Spring maintenance on your house

How Life Recipes Will Transform Your Ability To Get Things Done

If you still need convinced that creating and using these powerful little systems can have a dramatic impact on your life and business, consider these benefits:

  • There’s no time wasted trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ – Instead of beginning a complex task with no idea of how to complete it, and wasting a ton of time trying to figure it out, you now have a simple blueprint you can follow that will guide you through the entire process, quickly and easily.
  • You free up your brain power for other things – The more you get processes like these out of your head and onto paper (even digital paper), the more brain power it frees up for to think of new ideas, and solutions to challenges you may have to deal with.
  • You eliminate some stress – With a simple process to follow, you’ll no longer have to sweat about whether you’re forgetting something, or not doing it correctly. Just relax, follow the recipe, and see great results.
  • You get the absolute best results every time – As you use a recipe, you’ll likely discover better tools to help you accomplish it, or ways to tweak and improve it from time to time. Over time, this will help you get better and better results, usually with less effort.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to begin:

  • Print this article
  • Get a copy of MindManager
  • Comment below
  • Start creating your own collection

I must say, that’s one of my best Life Recipe’s yet! :)

Derek Franklin is a best-selling author, copywriter, consultant, and all-around creative thinker. In addition to using MindManager, Derek has discovered a simple, but effective system for getting things done. Visit the Action Machine page, were he reveals the 3-step process you can begin using immediately to start taking massive action every single day.

34 Responses to “Life Recipes – Your Life Is About To Become A Lot Easier, And More Efficient!”

  1. ghd hair straighteners

    I’m aware of MM 8 for Mac coming up. If I purchase MM 7 for Mac, what upgrade cost (if any) am I looking at to move to MM8 for Mac please? What is brand new license cost for MM8 looking like as well please?nThanks.

  2. Matt

    I recently came up with the concept of organizing my life and work in a recipe. Then I came across your post, giving me extra support that what I was working on was in fact useful. It’s like a coincidence… It’s just further proof that there really is no need to re-invent the wheel, but rather find the combination of wheels that works best for you.nnThanks for the post.

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  5. Connie Zimmermann

    Love your Life Recipes system! Thanks for putting that together. I am new to Mind Mapping, but am starting to get the swing of it. Your post puts the whole Project Management concept into great perspective. It seems much more do-able now.

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  7. Inkandpearls

    Thanks for the post Derek! I'm new to MindManager, so it's great to see “life” applications in addition to how I'll be using this for work tasks.

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  12. Jocelyn

    Derek, Nice post. FYI, I recommended the Action Machine to a colleague and she also received the security warning and was concerned about going further with a purchase. (I'm not getting the error in Google Chrome, and my AV is AVG.)

  13. Roy Grubb

    Same SiteAdvisor warning for the other link: “ may cause a breach of browser security.”

  14. Derek Franklin

    Thank you, everyone!

    I use MindManager for some pretty complex organization, but these simple ideas and strategies play a part in making life so much easier – something dear to my heart. :)

    @ajwilcox – Great ideas. I used to do it this way, but changed for some reason, and I can't, for the life of me, remember why…

    @diane – I hope that recipe helps you. It helps me keep my computers running VERY well for years.

    @sd – Thanks for the recommendation. I'm a big believer that, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' As a result, I'm rarely motivated to try something new unless 2 conditions are met:

    1. What I'm using now no longer provides the results I'm after
    2. A new thing provides a revolutionary way of achieving the results I'm after.

    In other words, MindManager has been my tool of choice for nearly 10 years and has ALWAYS delivered more than I expected. XMind doesn't look revolutionary (it's not 3D with built in artificial intelligence), just different.

    For me, MindManager works beautifully for me every day – why mess with a perfect recipe?

  15. ajwilcox

    Derek, great blog about this common sense process which MindManager makes it easy to document.
    I have a couple of personal preferences to what you describe:

    1. I have the Notes as Sub Topics. Easier to move around, add relationships, images and links.

    2. I use the Right Click > Send to New Map function to link subject (main topic) areas to an index map. This puts Business for instance, at centre of the map.

  16. sd

    Great post Derek. I am a great fan of your work and I also bought couple of your products in the past. That aside, and no offence to MindJet but try out XMind,, it is really good. I know we have had this conversation in the past too :), but if you haven't still given it a try – please give it a try. Anyhow, did not mean to dilute the main focus of your post which is really about getting thisngs organized in life!! Great post as always!

  17. Diane Eble

    Great post! I use mind mapping for coming up with ideas quickly, then write up checklists.

    Your example also really helped me. I've been having computer issues for months, may check out some of the tools you mentioned. Maybe it'll fix the problem.

  18. Diane Eble

    I love this concept! I use mind mapping to brainstorm, then make up checklists.

    Also, been having some computer issues so your example was timely–I'll look up those resources. (An issue that's been plaguing me for months with no answer.)



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