Feeling Listless: Using Mind Maps to Plan Your Travels (And Everything Else)

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Opinion

mind map

That eureka moment: using mind maps to plan travel

Are you a list queen like me? Or, I guess, king.

But I don’t really believe most men make lists compulsively like women do. 

Well in 2017 I started planning my travels (as well as a whole heap of other stuff) with a mind map instead of a list  – and I am a total convert.

Here’s why I think everyone should consider mapping out their future travels instead of listing them…

I have millions of lists and notes, tasks and to-do’s on the go at any one time. Standard, I know.

Among these shopping, work, financial, household and other (mainly yawn inducing) chore-related lists there’s the really fun one: The always expanding, never-ending travel wish list.

The ‘bucket list’ has become as big a cliche as exists in travel, especially in blogging.

“Adding it to the list’ we all say when we hear of yet another hotel, destination, restaurant or experience we would like to try.

But where is this list? And how the hell can anyone be expected to keep track of all the travel inspiration we are confronted with in magazines and newspapers, on TV?

Not to mention the amazing trips we hear about from friends and family, and of course travel bloggers  – or come across on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

As part of my project to make this blog more useful in 2017 I decided to share with you something that I consider to have revolutionised my life this year: discovering – well actually just like you I already knew about them, so I should say using – mind maps.

Why I Started Drawing My Own Mind Map

mind map

Not my real travel mind map, because if I showed that to you, I would have to kill you

Maybe I’m late to the party but for me it started in December last year when I clicked on this link about mind maps being used at Google.

I was in that end of year frame of mind – you know the one: wrapping up presents and wrapping up the previous year and asking yourself where the time went and how come you still haven’t done half the things you wanted to.

I had a lot of really big tasks on my plate at the end of December and now (it is mid-February) I have accomplished quite a lot of those really big chunky ones, the kind that loom over you for years but you never quite get around to tackling. It feels really liberating.

I have to credit this result – finally taking tasks off my plate which have been languishing on there for years in list form – with putting those tasks onto a mind map.

Since December I have accomplished a record number of those boring tasks – the ones that you never do because they can’t be done in a single hit, with one phone call, or in a one stage process. I have digitalised my CD collection, got a new accountant, migrated my Microsoft 365 email, and fixed any number of other technical niggles.

Somehow once I mind mapped how all these tasks where interlinked it became really clear which needed to be done first, and it all rolled on easily from there.

The fact that I then hung my mind map above my desk front and centre where I could see it, so there was no hiding, helped enormously.

How I Am Using My Mind Map To Prioritise Travel & Trips

mind map

One place I know I want to get back to this year is Copenhagen

I bet you have so many travel plans and ideas swimming around in your head right now.

I certainly did as I started my first year living back in the UK after being in Canada for ages – but I imagined flashing forward to the end of 2017 not having done the key trips that I really wanted to and I could see that if I wasn’t strict with myself it could easily happen, because I am easily distracted.

I decided to be even dorkier than I usually am, and draw a mind map of the travels I was really yearning for, to stay focused on the things that actually mattered to me and to make them happen.

For example I really wanted to make time to see friends and family scattered around the world this year, and I knew there were a handful of specific destinations that I either miss visiting or couldn’t put off any longer  – so instead of just saying ‘oh but I’m just so busy at the moment’ to my family and thinking ‘I’ll go there one day’ I decided to visualise all the must do trips using the mind map – and so far I am loving the sense of focus and organisation it is giving me.

Do you have ways of planning your travels that involve lists or mind maps? Everyone seems to have their own system for staying organised, I’d love to hear yours in case I can steal it  be inspired by it.

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