22 October 2009

On Practising Being A Walking Question Mark!

I often finish speeches and seminars with the encouragement: ‘Enjoy being a walking question mark – looking constantly for better ways to do things.’ And of course it’s not just about finding better ways; it’s also for the sheer joy of learning, of stimulating our thinking, of being life-long learners with minds active and alert until the day we die.

The last few days have produced an abundance of new experiences and learning opportunities.

Some of the grandkid's at Joel's Bombay School Calf Club Day.

Some of the grandkids at Joel’s Bombay School Calf Club Day.

On the family front I loved watching previously city-based extended family members experience their first Calf Club Day. (If you don’t know what a Calf Club Day is, 6 year old Joel’s school can help you: www.bombay.school.nz/documents/CalfClubDay-InformationBooklet.pdf ) I’ve spent many years involved with such events but last week was a great reminder not to take my rural upbringing for granted: we can all learn so much from working with animals and pets. (For example, try calling a chicken when it’s not hungry. Hannah’s chicken decided the shop next door might be more interesting than performing a trick. We’re not sure who was most surprised – the chicken or the shopper on the other side of the solid 6 foot high wooden fence.) On the other hand, Callum’s otherwise very headstrong bird did its trick perfectly – but we won’t mention the chook pooh on the kid’s sweatshirt!

Callum and Tuffy -a moment before Tuffy performed her trick!

Callum and Tuffy -a moment before Tuffy performed her trick!

My new experiences involved putting some hours over the week into learning how to use Mind Map software. I’m busting to get back to the rest of the lessons this coming weekend. It is so cool!

This is how it came about. The week before I’d interviewed UK-based mind mapping expert Michael Tipper for our October Getting A Grip Inner Circle member interview. I’ve been using and recommending hand-drawn mind maps for years – it’s an invaluable way to quickly grab ideas and create a really simple framework for any topic or project. But Michael’s teaching has taken my abilities to a much higher level of usefulness.

The problem everyone has is how to keep track of multiple tasks, action items, projects and commitments (either to us or by us). This software, once we know how to use it properly, helps us swiftly keep a track of everything we’re working on – all in one central place. It helps us manage all the open loops (alias incomplete actions) and know that things won’t be lost or forgotten. It also helps us stay focused on the highest-value tasks. Any document in your computer or any url you want to quickly reference can be linked and accessed by one or two clicks of your mouse – once it’s set up properly.

And what I really love about Michael’s work is that he’s created a really really useful online training programme to support a couple of the best software products available – one free, one commercial. (He’s not selling the products, only the training.)  He’s not just saying ‘this is how you use it’. He’s also linked the teaching to core time management concepts (which of course impresses me!) There are some hours of training videos, comprehensive manuals and even bonus features to download. You’ll find more at links.gettingagrip.com/mindmapping (It is a long introduction but I can vouch for the usefulness and value of the information once you get into the programme. I think he’s priced it too cheaply, actually!)

Have fun being a question mark!


1 thought on “On Practising Being A Walking Question Mark!”

  1. Ariel says:

    Very efficiently written article. It will be useful.

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