Fishing some new slices of life…

Work and stuff

Lacking ideas?

Hi serious and desperate readers!

Ideas are this world’s main driving force (along with data and demagogy, but I guess this will be for another post). However, it’s never good to run out of these in this world… What to do when you are out of ideas?

Well, I’ve been thinking of this lately, and I “analyzed” (well, this is purely subjective, but it could still be interesting) what were the conditions that had to be met so that I could get ideas fast. Here’s the result of this analysis.

  • Be happy. Otherwise your mind will just keep bumping into your trouble, and you won’t be able to think of anything else.
  • If you’re too tired, take a break. If you don’t, you will just keep thinking about your main idea, and won’t discover anything.
  • Don’t focus and let your mind wander. That’s the best way to have totally unexpected ideas and to think out-of-the-box.
  • Try focusing on something else while trying to find. Preferably something that you think is incredibly boring. If you do so, your mind will wander by itself, and ideas will appear.
  • Explore all the possibilities, including the weirdest ones.
  • Don’t sleep enough. Sleeping enough makes you think too rationally, and therefore limits your flow of ideas. Also, it makes you focus, and therefore make you lose the whole randomness of them. I get a lot of ideas with around 5~6 hours of sleep, at times when I’m tired (either from 2 to 4 pm, or after 1:30 am).
  • Coffee, or at least Caffeine (Coca Cola light/zero or strong tea are efficient too). Otherwise you’ll just fall asleep.
  • Explain what you’re working on to non-knowing people. If you do so, it’ll naturally become organized in your mind, and you might uncover some immediate/logical stuff you’ve overlooked first.

I hope it’ll be useful for you, and that I’ll have some feedback/suggestions to improve the list !

NB : If you still haven’t found anything… expect some great help from me in the incoming months (I think you have no idea how big this help will be).

PS : I put a lot of anime pictures in this post, because I liked them while surfing randomly.

Think wise, use Mindmapping.

Hello dear readers!

First, I wanted to apologize for my current lack of posts… Between real life, current projects and private life, I can barely find any time to post here… But I should have much more time after feb. 22nd, so I’ll keep trying my best fishing for you random life catches, so be patient, since this is the main quality of fishermen..

So… you have a complicated project, but you wanna organize and clarify your thoughts? Then mindmapping is made for you!

What is mindmapping? Basically, it’s a way to organize your thoughts into hierarchical nodes. You have a root node in which you put the main idea/purpose of your thinking session, and then you can attach several children nodes to it, each one containing a sub-idea/sub-section of your main topic. Each node can have as many children as you want, and there can be as many hierarchical sub-levels as necessary as well.

Here’s an example of an internship project, managed with a mindmap.

Of course, mindmaps are amazing tools for things such as reunions or brainstorming, where everyone has to have a clear idea of what’s going on, and where you have to be able to add ideas fast and efficiently to your project. I’m not sure it’d be that good for a presentation though, since it could be a bit complex to understand for the audience (unless you actually take time to explain the whole mindmap, but I’m not sure this is the best way to proceed in a presentation). But otherwise, you really should use them without moderation!

So, enough for the theoretical part! My favourite tool for mindmaps is called Freemind. It’s a GNU Java cross-platform application with a nice interface, and there is a portable flavour of it, so you can take your favourite mindmapping software everywhere with your USB key! It is very simple to use : [Insert] to add a children node, [Enter] to add one at the same level, [Alt + Enter] to open a multiline node editor. That’s all you need to know for it!

I hope this has convinced you to use this wonderful tool! On my side, I use it almost everytime I need to plan a big project, whether it is for work or for personnal reasons, and trust me, it does help not getting lost in thoughts and knowing what’s left to be done.