I’ve been feeling a little restless in my downtime as I try to wind down my sabbatical. Since 2017 has only just begun, I thought it would be good to create a mind map as a brainstorming tool. A mind map is a visual representation of an idea — in my case, the activities I want to engage in this year — that can help the brainstorming process. I hope preparing a mind map will help me set some goals for 2017.
In How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, Ernie Zelinski proposes a similar idea (that he calls a Get-a-Life Tree) to help retirees get a handle on how to spend their free time.
Components of My Mind Map
In an ideal world, the activities I pursue would fall in the top or middle of this Venn diagram:
In the last few years, I’ve been stuck towards the bottom, mostly in the Rich But Bored category. I don’t even know what category I exist in today — some form of limbo, I suppose…
The mind map should help provide specifics to the What You Love and What You’re Good At categories. Later, I can make an assessment of whether it pays well (which frankly should not be important given our supposed financial independence).
The main hubs of my mind map includes the following categories:
- Professional skills
- Personal development
- Staying healthy
- Giving back
I’ve filled it out after thinking about it for about 30 minutes. In doing so, I made sure to only include those I’m actually likely to pursue and adding some goals for myself. The mind map will likely morph in the future. In particular, I may discover new worthy pursuits or find that achieving a goal opens the door to another pursuit. For example, if I re-learn how to code, I may discover that I want to work on a software project.
However, some of these activities are purely aspirational, such as re-learning how to code, riding my bike more often, and performing volunteer work. Hopefully by writing them down, I’ll be more likely to pursue them.