Drawing your plans: the story so far
So far we’ve looked at why drawing your plans and task lists will boost your productivity and your creative thinking. I’ve also suggested what kinds of visual representations you might like to create, and how to go about creating them. This third and final blog post is about next steps – what else could you do with your drawings and visual representations now you’ve got into the flow?
As your drawings as they develop
Often I find that drawing the rough version is enough, because I mainly use my sketches and charts etc. as an aid to thinking, rather than an end in themselves, but you may want to add the following to your drawings as they develop:
- sketched images,
This is particularly useful when you are trying to work out what to prioritise or when you want to make ideas stand out or stick in your head. You can also use colour and images as short cuts – so that when your brain sees green on your garden plan it will read ‘grass’ for instance. Create a key if you want to be belt and braces about it.
A couple more steps?
Remember that there’s something about making an imperfect and messy chart or timeline (etc.) that helps you to focus on the planning process rather than thinking about the finished product. However, there are some occasions when you might want to add a couple more steps to the creation of your plan. I would do this for two reasons:
- If you want to share it with someone else, especially if you’re not going to be there to talk them through it
- If you want to display the visual representation in your work space so you remember to do something, or to use during a project.
Beautifying your project
- Take your rough version and think about how you can use colour to aid the structure and so that you feel good about looking at it (all the days of the week in blue or purple, for instance, would work well for me as I love those colours).
- Measure the paper with a ruler, where necessary, so that you’ve got the right amount of space for each section.
- Use non-smudge pens and make the most important parts stand out. You’re going for ease of reading here, so try not to make it crowded, or so artistically-rendered (!) that it’s hard to understand.
- Choose the right size of paper for the job. Where is it going to go and who is going to use it? A timetable may be better on A3 or A2 paper, for example, if you need to refer to it regularly.
- Depending on the task, you could make a hybrid digital / hand-drawn plan. First make a template on the computer and print it. I do this with weekly timetables – you’re welcome to use my template – you can find it here: week beginning template colour. Next, enhance with your own drawings, colours, and lists.
- Once finished, you can scan your work to make it possible to email it, if that’s relevant.
Review the process
At some point in the planning process stop and think about why you’re drawing your plan. Are you doing it to generate and capture ideas? Are you trying to get your head round a problem? Do you need to see the whole picture in one visual representation? Is this the kind of planning that lends itself to sketching (for instance when I planned how to tidy up our spare room / study space)? Do you need to refer to this diagram regularly? Will others need to see it or use it? You don’t need to do a beautified version for the sake of it – it depends on how you will use the diagram and whether you want to be able to refer to it after the planning process is over.
Let me know how you get on. In the meantime, please check out my free ebook Time to Do the Stuff You Really Love.
Happy planning. xx Louise
Top Ten Tips for Increasing Your Productivity
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