Mind Map Your Way to Productivity

Many of us set goals to help determine the direction of our lives for the foreseeable future. But here’s my problem: setting goals can be completely and utterly boring…and limiting…and demoralizing…and exhausting…and…I just don’t wanna do it! So that’s my dirty little secret. Setting goals is hard.


With varying degrees of success over the years, I’ve tried several different methods to set, track, and achieve my goals. By far, my favorite goal setting methodology is mind mapping.


What is a mind map?


A mind map is a picture that diagrams information, relationships between ideas, and logical pathways of thought. It kinda looks like a spider wearing roller skates. Below is a picture of a nice lady drawing a mind map on a white board.

See how happy she looks? That could be you.

See how happy she looks? That could be you.


Although the picture above shows only two levels, most mind maps extend far beyond that. Take a look at this example:


The center circle is the main idea, topic, or in the case of an annual goal-setting exercise, the year. Above, there are six circles surrounding the spider’s body that represent areas of work and life that this goal setter wants to impact. For each of these priority areas, there are some things that s/he wants to improve, change, or develop. Finally, this goal setter has outlined specific actions (with dates) to impact the desired areas. Don’t get overwhelmed by the picture above as most people don’t have this many goals – it’s for illustrative purposes only, people.


Mind maps are flexible to the user. You can draw whatever lines and circles you want. You can insert emojis, links, funky fonts, video clips, song lyrics, etc. You can make a mind map on the back of a napkin or construct one with my favorite tool, Mindmeister*.


Is there an app for that? Yes.


Are there tools other than Mindmeister? Yes.


Are there other cool ways to set goals using mind maps?  Yes.


Your Next Steps


If you haven’t set specific, challenging, and shared goals for yourself personally and professionally, there’s no time like now. If you are looking for a new goal setting approach, try mind maps. And, if your mind map looks anything like the one below, I’m only an email away.



* Signing up for Mindmeister using this link gives me a free mind map. If you’d rather not give me a free mind map, I won’t hold it against you.


Set Goals eBook

Are you ready to finally achieve what you set out to do?

Read my eBook Set Goals…even if you’re not convinced you’ll achieve them.

Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


  1. Shawn

    Mind mapping is a great idea to set goals. I love it. And I agree that when you say that goal setting can be boring, this is why people are looking for all kinds of templates to help them in doing this. Thank you for this interesting idea. Cheers. 🙂

    • Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.

      Thanks for commenting, Shawn. I just read (well, listened to) the book Finish by Jon Acuff. A great way to take the “boring” out of goal achievement. I laughed all the way through…and learned some good skills.

  2. Life Simile

    Its good to know that the user has a lot of control over mind maps. You are free to create as many lines and circles as you wish. Emojis, links, crazy typefaces, video clips, song lyrics, and other items may be added. A mind map can be made on the back of a napkin or built from scratch.

  3. Janet Barclay

    I’m a linear thinker who has never really wrapped my head around mind maps. Thanks for explaining it so clearly and especially for the examples.


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